Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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Distant Dreams – Flapper movies and Finnish Film Culture
Jaakko Seppälä

Last modified: 2010-05-12


Hollywood flappers Colleen Moore and Clara Bow appeared regularly on the pages of Finnish magazines in the late 1920s. Their films like Ella Cinders, Mantrap and It were bringing the short skirted, bob cut haired, jazz listening new woman to the consciousness of Finnish moviegoers. Soon many associated Hollywood flappers – Clara Bow in particular – with fashion industry, wild parties and unrestrained sexuality. Moore and Bow were new role models for Finnish movie-struck-girls, who admired stars and dreamed of starring in a film. These role models were most inappropriate, many thought. In the 1920s Finland was a rural country were women were raised up to be good mothers and hard workers. In my presentation I will discuss the reception of flapper movies in Finnish film culture. My intention is to explore the ways in which these films were talked about and what themes drew special attention. Moreover, I will explore how these discourses relate to the imported Hollywood movies. My hypothesis is that in the late 1920s flapper movies somewhat distanced Hollywood from what was seen as film art and associated it with entertainment, consumerism and low morals. Methodologically, the presentation combines a survey of intertextual material related to the subject matter to a close textual analysis of the key surviving films.

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