Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Peter Weiss – film-maker, artist, and social critic

Peter Weiss’s life as a film-maker, creating artists, and social critic was marked by deep commitment in various regards.

In a dissertation at the Department of Cinema Studies, Stockholm University, Jan Christer Bengtsson has studied and analyzed Peter Weiss’s short films to find out what meaning films had in the life of Peter Weiss the artist and what role they played.

“Peter Weiss filmed and completed fourteen movies during the years 1952 - 1961, two of them full-length features. His first films were a kind of short surrealistic and imaginative pictorial documents, and he initially found his themes in his own sphere of experience. In his first short films – he called them studies – he therefore posed questions about his own existence as an artist, his relation to women and his parents,” says Jan Christer Bengtsson.

In the first half of the 1950s, he shows aspects of contemporary Swedish society that could clearly be questioned. In some documentary shorts, Peter Weiss explored places on the edge of society such as beer taverns and night camps of hobos. He investigated life at a juvenile prison and drew attention to young people’s penchant for various types of drugs. As one of the radicals of his day, Peter Weiss was highly critical of prison as a form of punishment, and he trained his magnifying glass on various terrifying and destructive behaviors. In his quest for hope and meaning in life he made a short film for SSU (the Social Democratic youth organization) – “What Should We Do Now?” As many as 250 copies of the movie were made, and it was used as a basis for discussion of the substance abuse issue in the wake of the elimination of the individual ration book for alcohol.

One of the feature-length films – The Mirage (Hägringen) – was experimental in nature and was regarded as too inaccessible. The other one – the only major commercial production Peter Weiss was involved in – created quite a sensation when it was shown in Stockholm. In a press release from Frankfurt am Main tog Peter Weiss dissociated himself from having participated in making the movie Swedish Girls in Paris (Svenska flickor i Paris). People long wanted to believe that he had little to do with the film, but both he himself and those close to him maintained for a long time that he had been led astray by malicious individuals with no scruples. In his own notes written ten years after the film was made, Peter Weiss claimed that that was what can happen in the capitalist film industry.

“Actually he had had great hopes when he was given an opportunity to make a movie in Paris. But when he realized he would not have this chance, he wanted to preempt criticism by dissociating himself,” says Jan Christer Bengtsson.

In summary, it can be said that Peter Weiss struggled with personal difficulties to be able to express himself in language – a language consisting of words and signs – as it can in all probability be assumed that he harbored a great yearning to succeed as an author. In order to “conquer words” Peter Weiss practiced by describing different kinds of worlds – both internal and external ones. This can be one explanation for his addressing both surrealistic and psychological topics, and for his finding his way to documentary forms when he made movies.

More recent documentary film-makers, such as Stefan Jarl and PeÅ Holmquist, have acknowledged that they were inspired by Peter Weiss. Stefan Jarl dedicated his A Decent Life (Ett anständigt liv) (1979) to Peter Weiss, and PeÅ Holmquist made use of texts from Peter Weiss’s prose poems “The Vanquished” (De besegrade) (1948) and “The Aesthetics of Resistance” (Motståndets estetik) Part 1 (1976) in the film Where Is My Victory? (Var är min seger?) (2002).

Title of dissertation:
Peter Weiss filmer: från de korta små lekfulla kopparslagen till kommersiell långfilmsdebut: filmer - filmidéer – utkast. (The Films of Peter Weiss: From the Short Playful Little Vignettes to His Commercial Feature Film Debut: Films – Film Concepts – Drafts)
For further information
Jan Christer Bengtsson, Department of Cinema Studies, Stockholm University,
Pressofficer: Jonas Åblad; +46-8 16 21 72

Jonas Åblad | idw
Further information:

Further reports about: Bengtsson Cinema Stockholmer Water Prize 2009

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>