Filmikirjailijat : elokuvakäsikirjoittaminen Suomessa 1931-1941

Translated title of the contribution: Film authors : screenwriting in Finland 1931-1941

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


This thesis examines the development of screenwriting practice in Finnish cinema between 1931 and 1941. The study looks at the aesthetic and ideological values that influenced the formation of screenwriting as a profession after the advent of sound film. In its analysis of this historical development the study utilizes primarily, but not exclusively, the models proposed by Ian Macdonald and Daniel Gritten in their ground breaking work(s) in the emerging field of screenwriting studies. Screenwriting is seen as a field of cultural practice in which notions like cultural capital, struggle and doxa as introduced by Pierre Bourdieu can be used to define and interpret the field. In 1930s Finland the domestic film industry was growing strongly and the development of the national cinema became the subject of a lively public debate in popular film magazines and other publications. A large part of this discussion was centred on the screenplay. For the contemporaries the eventual solution of the ”screenplay problem” was the key to better films. Four recurrent questions emerged: What would be the best possible subject matter for Finnish cinema? Who should write films? Should the producers prefer original material over adaptations? How to write a good screenplay? These questions and their practical solutions are discussed in the main chapters of the study. Each topic is elaborated further in a case study chapter in which individual films of the time are examined. Screenwriting practice and the aesthetic ideas informing it were built in a production environment that was heavily drawing on the national cultural and literary tradition. At the same time Finnish cinema was influenced by an international film culture – from Europe and Hollywood to Soviet cinema. Conflicting notions of authorship and of the essence of cinema as an art form were discussed as well as the tension between art and commerce. The professional identity of the screenwriter and the practice of screenwriting were shaped in a field defined by many conflicting ideals and goals.
Translated title of the contributionFilm authors : screenwriting in Finland 1931-1941
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Helke, Susanna, Supervising Professor
  • Laine, Kimmo, Thesis Advisor, External person
  • Timonen, Eija, Thesis Advisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6423-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6424-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • films
  • script writing
  • history of literature
  • the thirties
  • Finland


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