The Cinematheque
An analogue film projector at the Film House. Photo: Christopher Mair

About The Cinematheque

The Cinematheque (Cinemateket in Swedish) gives you access to all of film history. We show everything from silent movies with live music to films that are so new they have yet to reach Swedish cinemas. We screen films that are not shown anywhere else, on a large screen and in the right format.

We invite filmmakers and film experts along to introduce the films in our programme, and visitors can see previews where Swedish and foreign directors present their latest works. Here you can meet such film figures as David Fincher, Catherine Deneuve and Michael Nyman. We who unique retrospectives, exciting themed series, newly restored classics and our audience’s most requested movies, in close collaboration with Swedish and foreign festivals, film archives, film companies, film distributors and cultural institutions.

The Cinematheque can be found at the Film House and Victoria cinema in Stockholm, at Capitol cinema in Gothenburg, and at Spegeln cinema in Malmö. At each screening you receive a programme sheet showing full production details and memorable quotes from interviews, articles and books about the movie being screened.

 

The Cinematheque – an important assignment

The Swedish Film Institute, and by extension The Cinematheque, have been tasked by the government to bring film history alive for the general public through cinema screenings, primarily films that are not available on the regular cinema schedule.

The Cinematheque works consciously to show film in a context that enables a more in-depth interest in film. The Film House is a meeting-place where people can discuss the films in our programme with filmmakers, film experts and researchers.

The programme aims to contain something for all film enthusiasts, whether they have seen virtually everything or are just discovering the diversity of film history.

Number of screenings:

About 600 a year in Stockholm, with up to 13 screenings a week.

About 150 a year in Gothenburg, with up to 5 screenings a week.

About 120 a year in Malmö, with up to 4 screenings a week.

 

An international matter

The Swedish Film Institute is a member of FIAF, Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film – the International Federation of Film Archives and cinematheques which aims to preserve the global film heritage and make it accessible. When FIAF was founded in 1938 there were four institutional members, whereas today there are more than 150 members from 77 countries. FIAF gives the Swedish Film Institute’s Cinematheque vital access to the world’s most important film collections – and foreign cinematheques too can enjoy our extensive archival film collections.

 

History

The Swedish Film Institute was founded in 1963 and the Cinematheque, or Film Club as it was called at the time, was formed a year later. The very first film screened was The Circus by Charlie Chaplin, requested by Ingmar Bergman.

It all started in 1933, when the Svenska Filmsamfundet, or ‘Swedish Film Society’, was formed. Its purpose was to rescue the legacy of the silent film era and improve Swedish film.

It organised debates and seminars, awarded grants and prizes, and laid the foundation of what is today the Archival Film Collections: a library and archive for scripts, stills, press cuttings and film copies. In 1940 the Society changed its name to Filmhistoriska samlingarna (‘the Historical Film Collections’).

The Swedish Film Institute was founded in 1963 as a result of Harry Schein’s idea that cinema owners would avoid paying entertainment tax if 10% of box office receipts went on production of Swedish film (the Film Agreement).

The Historical Film Collections were donated to the Film Institute. In September 1964 the Film Institute Film Club, now the Cinematheque, started screening films in room Z of the ABF building on Sveavägen in Stockholm, above the Gyllene Cirkeln jazz club. Films were also screened at Moderna Museet, the Museum of Modern Art.

The Film House opened in 1970. One of the first climate-controlled cooling rooms for storing film was built underneath the building to preserve the film collections.

For the opening programme in September 1964, five Swedish directors were asked to choose three films each. In the presentation Nils-Hugo Geber, the then head of the Archival Film Collections, wrote:

“In its entirety, the programme establishes the divergent guidelines according to which the film club will run its screening activities in the future. As a first example of collaboration between the film club and film artists, the opening programme promises a lot. Everyone who feels a need to follow the silver screen’s eye out into the world and see its visions is welcome to the Film Institute film club.”

The very first film screened at the Film Club was Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus on Tuesday 15 September 1964. Other films included Zero for Conduct by Jean Vigo, Erotikon by Mauritz Stiller and Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa.

In Gothenburg, the Cinematheque started in autumn 1967. Once a week, films were shown in one of the lecture rooms at the City Library, and the first one was Norrtullsligan by Gothenburg director Per Lindberg. The first programme focused on Italian Neorealism, Disney, Bulgarian film and politics, among other things.

Not until 1988 did Malmö become a Cinematheque venue. Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire was shown on 31 October at Spegeln cinema, and the Malmö Cinematheque has been based there ever since. Several other Marlon Brando movies were shown that autumn, along with films by Jean Renoir, Michelangelo Antonioni and Victor Sjöström.

Cinemas


Victor and Mauritz

We screen films Tuesday to Sunday in our Film House cinemas. Number of seats in Cinema Victor: 364. Number of seats in Cinema Mauritz: 130.

The Film House is located at Borgvägen 1, at the edge of the Gärdet plain in Stockholm. Bus number72 or 76 to Filmhuset, number 56 to Hakberget, number 1 or 4 to Värtavägen, or number 42 to Karlaplan. Metro station: Karlaplan.

The ticket office at the Film House, where you can buy membership cards and tickets to the Film House screenings, opens an hour before the first screening of the day. Tickets to Victoria cinema are sold at Victoria only.

Victoria cinema

On Mondays at 19:00 we show film at Victoria cinema on Stockholm’s southern island, Södermalm. No. of seats: 155. The easiest way to get there is by Metro to Medborgarplatsen. Address: Götgatan 67. The ticket office at Victoria opens Monday-Friday at 14:30, and Saturday-Sunday at 12:30.  This is where you can buy membership cards and tickets to the Monday screenings. 

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