Decoration, Discrimination and “the Mysteries of Cinema”: Women and Film Exhibition in Sweden from the Introduction of Film to the Mid-1920s

Stigsdotter, Ingrid

This essay investigates the role of women in Swedish film exhibition from the early days of ambulating film exhibitors, through the formation of a cinema culture with permanent venues, and all the way up to the coming of sound. Although membership and leadership of professional organizations, such as Sveriges Biografägareförbund/Sweden’s National Association of Cinema Owners (founded in 1915) or Svenska Film-och biografmannasällskapet/The Swedish Film and Cinema Society (founded in 1917), as well as contemporary articles in the trade press, reveal that cinema-owners and film exhibitors were male-dominated professions, a large number of women were nevertheless involved in running Swedish cinemas in the silent era. The title of the essay refers to the ways in which–as we shall see–women cinema managers have been described as respectable hostesses, turning their cinemas into tasteful, comfortable venues. However, “discrimination” can also refer to practices of unfair treatment, which have circumscribed women’s agency in different circumstances, and limited their presence in film history textbooks.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019