Män i frack och kvinnor i kortärmade finklänningar sitter tillsammans vid ett långbord och skålar med breda leenden
Marie Ekman's commercial film from 1915 encouraged luxury consumption.

Hundred year-old Swedish commercial films screened at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival

Saturday October 5th marks the start of this year’s edition of the world’s leading silent film festival, Le giornate del cinema muto in Pordenone, Italy. Among the numerous films programmed this year will be a series of rarely screened Swedish and Norwegian film commercials.

The series, which has been curated by Magnus Rosborn of the Swedish Film Institute and Tina Anckarman of the Norwegian National Library, includes of 15 genre bending commercials, made in the shape of, or alluding to, other well-known film genres such as fiction film, documentaries, political propaganda or newsreels.

The selection aims to showcase how the style of different types of films were used to sell products in the beginning of commercial film history. One example is a film about the Vasaloppet competition in 1923 where the product placement is far from subtle – chocolate bars of the Swedish brand Marabou are clearly featured throughout the film both during the race and at the goal in Mora. Another example is a Norwegian film from 1932 showing Gösta Ekman visiting Oslo, but the news report takes a sudden turn when the famous Swedish actor unexpectedly needs to tell the audience which toothpaste he prefers (Stomatol).

The oldest film of the series, Maria Ekman’s Kal Napoleon Kalssons bondtur from 1915, which uses the shape of a fiction film to inspire the audience to go luxury shopping in different Stockholm stores, will be presented in a brand new 35mm print made at The Swedish Film Institute’s own photochemical laboratory in Rotebro.

During the festival two prints from the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute will also be screened in other series: a program dedicated to European slapstick includes a Swedish trailer for the Danish comedy duo Pat & Patachon’s film Moster Malins millioner (Højt paa en Kvist, 1929) and in the section “Nasty Women” surviving fragments of Mauritz Stiller’s lost comedy Mannekängen from 1913 will be shown.