The People in Arms in the People’s Entertainment: Cinema and Political Propaganda in Portugal (1916–1917)

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Title
The People in Arms in the People’s Entertainment: Cinema and Political Propaganda in Portugal (1916–1917)
Contributors
Janeiro, Helena Pinto (author)
Doi
10.26300/g9f5-8719
Date Issued
Winter 2013
Abstract
This article seeks to contribute to the historiographical debate on First World War propaganda in Portugal. The fact that it was precisely during this war that the first official body concerned with film production appeared (the Photographic and Cinematographic Section of the Army, SFCE) is a strong indication that the First Republic kept pace with the most innovatory aspects of this conflict in the various belligerent countries. In fact, it was precisely at this time that official bodies devoted to cinema appeared in countries such as Great Britain, France and Germany. We start by studying the pioneering experiment in film which made the people in arms the protagonists in the people’s entertainment, in the context of a military and propaganda exercise conducted by the Minister of War, Norton de Matos, in the summer of 1916. The success of this first film was so great that the captain who produced it was asked to set up the SFCE, in time to film the embarkation of the first troops for France, in January 1917. As well as clarifying the origins, objectives and more institutional aspects of the SFCE, which previously had remained obscure, the article presents data about the exhibition and the public reception of films produced by this unit.
Este artigo pretende ser um contributo para o debate historiográfico sobre propaganda durante a I Guerra Mundial em Portugal. O facto de ter sido precisamente durante esta guerra que surge o primeiro organismo oficial de produção cinematográfica – a Secção Fotográfica e Cinematográfica do Exército (SFCE) – é um forte indício de que a I República não terá passado ao lado das tendências mais inovadoras que marcaram esse conflito nos vários países beligerantes. Afinal, é precisamente nessa altura que surgem na Grã-Bretanha, em França ou na Alemanha os primeiros órgãos oficiais dedicados ao cinema. Começámos por estudar a experiência pioneira do filme que colocou o povo em armas como protagonista do espectáculo do povo, no âmbito da operação militar e de propaganda promovida pelo ministro da Guerra Norton de Matos no Verão de 1916. O sucesso da fita foi de tal ordem que o capitão que a produziu será chamado para montar a SFCE, mesmo a tempo de filmar o embarque das primeiras tropas para França, em Janeiro de 1917. Para além da clarificação das origens, objectivos e aspectos mais institucionais da SFCE até agora incertos, apresentam-se dados sobre a exibição e recepção pública dos filmes nele produzidos.
Keywords
World War, 1914-1918
Mass media and war
War propaganda
Politics in motion pictures
Nationalism in motion pictures
Extent
pp. 50-73

Citation

Janeiro, Helena Pinto, "The People in Arms in the People’s Entertainment: Cinema and Political Propaganda in Portugal (1916–1917)" (2013). e-Journal of Portuguese History. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.26300/g9f5-8719

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