"Art's Promised Land," the second episode in Cinema Europe, covers Scandinavian cinema. The first time I watched Cinema Europe, this was all new to me. All I knew of Scandinavian cinema before Ingmar Bergman was the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer and Witchcraft Through the Ages (directed by Benjamin Christensen). As a result, this entry was fascinating. Now, I am more familiar with silent Scandinavian cinema, so I was not as rabidly enthused on second viewing. It is still very good. I still wrote down a list of must see films (Love's Crucible and Sir Arne's Treasure were the big two), but I also had some disappointment.
I wished there had been more about Dreyer and Christensen. They are major filmmakers from Scandinavia and both get only a little screen time. The issue seems to be one of structure. "Art's Promised Land" primarily focuses on the story of the creation and evolution of one studio (Svensk), and since directors Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller belonged to that studio, they received the lion's share of the focus. I understand the reasoning and certainly have nothing disparaging to write about Sjostrom or Stiller. I just wished the episode had more time for Dreyer and Christensen.
"Art's Promised Land" was a good episode. I was not as wowed by it on this viewing as I was the first, but I was still impressed.
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