The first film screening in Finland


Juha Kindberg

The first film screening in Finland was organized by an itinerary exhibitor Arthur Grünewald, who used his Lumière rights in the Russian Empire. The screenings were advertised in press daily while the shows took place in Helsinki at Seurahuone Hotel, nowadays City Hall. From the correspondence of eighteen years old Marius Chapuis, a lyonnaise specialist of the Cinématographe of Lumière Brothers, we also know some details of the visit, lasting altogether nine days including the press demonstration.

This article reconstructs the mode of the Finnish reception of the moving pictures from three articles published in three newspapers at the date of the premiere, June the 28th 1896. The concept of the naive spectator still lives in background of the modern audiences, needed as the opposite of their conciousness and progressiveness. The early spectator, defined by unability to distinguish between reality and images has, however, always been in trouble to get located to a specific time and place in history. Whether this primitive creature did once live in Finland, is nevertheless a question worth to pose.