cover of book

The Visible Wall: Jews and Other Ethnic Outsiders in Swedish Film
by Rochelle Wright
Southern Illinois University Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-8093-2164-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-8222-4
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.J46W75 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.436520392405


Rochelle Wright provides the first historical overview and analysis of the manner in which Jews and other ethnic outsiders have been depicted in Swedish film from 1930 to the present.

Focusing on films produced in Sweden for primarily Swedish audiences, Wright analyzes how the portrayal of the relatively small Jewish minority has evolved over the years. She compares the images of Jews in Swedish film with those of other ethnic subcultures: long-term resident communities such as tattare (‘travelers’, an indigenous pariah group often confused with gypsies), Finns, the Sami, and recent immigrant populations such as Greeks, Italians, Turks, and Yugoslavians.

Wright’s cross-disciplinary approach to interrelated issues of ethnicity and national identity enables her to take advantage of the methodologies of historians and sociologists as well as those of literary and film critics. She bases her study on a detailed analysis of the films, but, by way of comparison, she examines filmscripts and literary sources. She also consults contemporary reviews, interviews with actors and directors, and biographies and memoirs as well as critical discussion among film historians.

Wright confronts important—and exceedingly difficult—social questions. She deals head-on with xenophobia, anti-Semitism, immigration, assimilation, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and the national self-image of Swedes as reflected in their cinema. She also analyzes the manner in which Swedish film represents the persecution of Jews in Nazi-dominated Europe.

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