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Painful Neutrality: Screening the Extradition of the Balts from Sweden
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5364-8036
Linneaus University, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Baltic Screen Media Review, ISSN 2346-5492, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 72-92Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article deals with the extradition of Baltic soldiers from Sweden in 1946 as it is represented in P.O. Enquist’s novel The Legionnaires (1968) and in Johan Bergenstråhle’s film A Baltic Tragedy (1970). The theoretical framework is taken from trauma studies and its equivalent within film studies, where trauma is seen as a repeated occurrence of an event in the past. Literature and moving images become in this regard the means to reach the traumatic event, a way to relive it. What separates the extradition of the Baltic soldiers from other traumas, such as the Holocaust, is that it functions as a guilt complex for failing to prevent the tragedy, which is connected to Sweden’s position of neutrality during World War II and the appeasing all of the warring nations. It is argued that it is a collective trauma that is created by Enquist’s novel, which blows it into national proportions. However, Bergenstråhle’s film changes the focus of the trauma by downplaying the Swedish bad conscience. In this way, the film aims at creating new witnesses to the extradition affair. The analysis looks at reception of both novel and film in order to explain the two different approaches to the historical event as well as the two different time periods in which they are produced. The authors argue that the two years that separate the novel and film explain the political mood of the late 1960s swings towards a deflated revolution in the early 1970s when the film reaches national screens. However, in terms of creating witnesses to the traumatic event, the book and film manage to stir public opinion to the extent that the trauma changes from slowly effacing to collectively being ‘lived’ through remembrance. The paradox is that, while the novel remains a vivid reminder of a painful aftermath to Swedish neutrality during World War II, the film is now almost completely forgotten. The film’s mode of attacking the viewers with I-witness account, juxtaposition and misconduct leads to a rejection of the narrative by Swedish audiences.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sciendo , 2018. Vol. 6, no 1, p. 72-92
Keywords [en]
Extradition of Baltic soldiers, Trauma, Creative Non-Fiction, Screen Adaptation, The Legionnaires (Enquist, 1968), A Baltic Tragedy (Bergenstråhle, 1970)
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16690DOI: 10.2478/bsmr-2018-0005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16690DiVA, id: diva2:1295231
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2019-07-10Bibliographically approved

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Kristensen, Lars

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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