Investigating Asta & The Joyless Street: Star Image and Danish Film Culture in a Cross-media Perspective

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This is a case study of film star Asta Nielsen’s performance in the melodrama The Joyless Street (1925) by G.W. Pabst and of her star image as part of the contemporary cultural context in the Danish public sphere. My analysis is concerned with her star image (Dyer 1979) as it is represented aesthetically (along with newcomer Greta Garbo) in the film as well as how the film, the genre and her performance were addressed in the contemporary critical reception in Denmark. This way the case study-approach (Yin 2017) is integrating a combination of Cultural Studies inspired cross-media analysis (Dyer 1979 + Fiske 1987) and analysis of historical critical reception (Staiger 1991). Additionally I include a discussion of how this film with Danish, Swedish and Austrian nationals appearing in a German film in a Danish context can be regarded as an example of cosmopolitanism and a case of ‘histoire croiseé’ (Hagener 2014). Recent research on Asta Nielsen and her place in Danish cultural context has so far focussed on her early films 1910-1914 (Tybjerg + Allen in Loiperdinger & Jung 2013) or when studying The Joyless Street the interest has been on Weimar Germany with analysis of representation and film culture (Petro 1989) or on fashion and film (Ganeva 2008). In contrast I want to study Asta Nielsen and The Joyless Street in a Danish cultural context contributing with new insights into how Asta Nielsens international star image was presented and perceived as part of the Danish film culture in this period. I propose that this case study can benefit from a mixed method approach including cross-media analysis of historical archival material (reviews, programmes, posters etc) and film analysis, cultural analysis and critical reception analysis in the Danish film culture. Key references: Dyer, Richard (1979): Stars. London: BFI Publishing. Fiske, John (1987). Television Culture. London: Routledge. Ganeva, Mila (2008): Women in Weimar Fashion: Discourses and Displays in German Culture, 1918-1933. Rochester: Camden House. Hagener, Malte (2014): "Introduction: Emergence of Film Culture." In The Emergence of Film Culture: Knowledge Production, Institution Building, and the Fate of the Avant-Garde in Europe, 1919-1945, Malte Hagener (ed), 1-18. New York: Berghahn Books. Loiperdinger, Martin & Jung, Uli (eds) (2013): Inporting Asta Nielsen: The international Film Star in the Making, 1910-1914. New Barnet: John Libbey Publishing. Petro, Patrice (1989). Joyless Streets. Women and Melodrmaatic Representation in Weimar Germany. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Staiger, Janet (1991) Perverse Spectators. The Practices of Film Reception. New York: New York University Press. Yin, Rober K., (2017): Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods Sixth Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
StatusUdgivet - 2019

ID: 229373188