A Pendulum of Performances: Asta Nielsen on Stage and Screen

Förster, Annette (2013) A Pendulum of Performances: Asta Nielsen on Stage and Screen. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3815. In: Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria ; Tralli, Lucia. Bologna: Dipartimento delle Arti - DAR, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, pp. 303-317. ISBN 9788898010103. In: Women and Screen Cultures, (1). A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria. ISSN 2283-6462.
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Asta Nielsen turned to filmmaking in June 1910 because she was dissatisfied with the minor parts that the Danish theatres were offering her. She aspired big dramatic roles and hoped to convince theatre directors of her talent. Instead, her striking film performance launched her prolific career as a film star who virtually personified screen acting. The focus on Nielsen’s work in the cinema, however, has often obscured the significance of the stage performances for her career. This article explores and contextualizes Nielsen’s actual stage acting as well as references to the theatre within her films. Nielsen’s pantomime performances in the 1910s informed a discussion how variety shows and cinema could benefit from one another; her adaptations of plays in the early 1920s revitalized the debate how to adapt theatre to film; and her star performances in popular plays in the late 1920s, when she toured all over Germany, were an alternative for film parts she deemed inapt for her intense physical and mimic acting style. Asta Nielsen employed the cinema to develop her unsurpassed acting style and to establish her sovereignty as an actress, but the stage ultimately enabled her to maintain her art and position.

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Förster, Annette
Deposit date
28 Sep 2013 15:02
Last modified
13 Mar 2015 14:22

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