The Representation of the Great War on Lithuanian Cinema Screens, 1918–1940

Audrius Dambrauskas


During the Great War, the main conflicting powers established the first public institutions to createand spread propaganda. Governments treated cinema as a powerful medium which might influencemen’s minds. While cinema became a potential weapon to use in propaganda struggles,screens in neutral states were made into battlefields. But the cinema wars did not finish after 1918.After the war, films depicting the Great War were made in various countries, and the films oftencontradicted each other. The article analyses the role that films and stories depicting the Great Warplayed on Lithuanian cinema screens in the interwar period. The first part of the article discussesthe relevance of themes of the Great War in the films and newsreels made in interwar Lithuania.The second part provides an overview of foreign films depicting the Great War that were shown inLithuanian cinemas in the interwar period. Four types of films are distinguished, according to theirfunction. Attempts are made to answer the question whether these films could have contributed toreflections on the Great War in the public sphere in Lithuania at that time.

KEY WORDS: First World War, cinema, film censorship, newsreels, propaganda, pacifism, militarism,memory.

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