Collection Wistrand Family


The Wistrand Family Collection, filmed by Swedish diplomat Tor H. Wistrand and his wife date from the 1930s to the 1950s, charting their travels to the Far East, the United States of America, and Sweden.

Collection ID348Reference codeWS 011113
TitleWistrand Family
Dates1930s - 1950s
ProductionMajor R. M. Maxwell. Theodore Hugo Wistrand, Swedish Legation. Ake Skantze, Swedish Legation [?]
MaterialsFILM 16mm Standard 8mm
Access statusContact Screen Archive South East for details


The Wistrand Family Collection consist of over fifteen films filmed by Swedish diplomat Tor H. Wistrand and his wife. The films, which date from the mid-1930s to the early 1950s, chart the travels of the diplomat and his family during his postings in the Far East, the United States of America, and Sweden. The latter films, which include [The Wistrand Family in the USA; At the Seaside] (1942) are typical home movie compilations which feature family activities, such as outings to the beach. The films shot in the Far East exhibit however a different sensibility which was a highly selective.

Tor H. Wistrand was stationed in Tokyo between 1936 and 1939 as First Secretary to the Swedish Legation in Japan. Whilst there, he documented both his home life, such as in [The Wistrand Family in Japan: Japanese Home; At the Seaside] (1936 - 1938), and his travels around the region. The bulk of the footage records, in colour, the people, buildings, and landscape of the county in the years immediately preceding the Second World War. His films, including [Japanese Scenery II] (1937-1939?), suggest a conscious, perhaps academic, act on his part. He endeavoured to tour the land, and to capture its features on celluloid, knowing that the Second World War would bring about irreversible changes. This is further illustrated in [Visit to China and Korea] (1938?). His diplomatic standing undoubtedly facilitated this trip as it took place during a time of Japanese occupancy. He again recorded the landscape, people and buildings of the Asian countries, providing us with what is believed to be the only pre-war colour footage of Korea.

The collection contains a further historically important film, [A Visit to Java, Bali and Sumatra, Angkor Wat and Bangkok] (1939). In this film Wistrand records, in colour, his journeys around South East Asia. His interest with architecture and indigenous people is again evident, as is a fascination with their cultures. Aside from filming street scenes and a Hindu funeral, he records the Balinese dance culture. The resulting footage of I Ketut Marya performing Kebyar Duduk, and of other dancers performing Barong, Kris and Legong Dances is the only known pre-war colour footage of this performing art. The Wistrand Family Collection is therefore a highly significant one which provides an insight into cultures, lands and tourist trail which were so dramatically effected in the ensuing war years. And the films offer an interesting contrast with the official and formal news items and documentaries from the period.

Films in this collection:

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Showing 1 to 15 of 18 results.