Documentary filmmaking as colonialist propaganda and cinefeminist intervention: Mai Zettterling's of Seals and Men (1979)

Mariah Larsson, Anna Westerstahl Stenport

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


This essay focuses on UK-based Swedish filmmaker Mai Zetterling's made-for-television documentary Of Seals and Men (1979). Zetterling is known internationally as an art-film auteur, and this examination seeks to broaden her stature in the context of the UK and Europe-based cinefeminsim movements of the 1970s. The authors argue that Of Seals and Men constitutes a significant and overlooked artifact in the history of colonial Greenlandic-Danish relations, as it focuses on the controversy of the Greenlandic seal hunt and was financed as a propaganda vehicle by the Danish government and the Greenland Trade Department. The article draws on extensive archival research and references Zetterling's production notebooks and correspondence as well as official communication by the Royal Greenland Trade Department.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-129
Number of pages24
JournalFilm History: An International Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Arctic
  • Denmark
  • Greenland
  • Mai Zetterling
  • Polar film
  • Wally Herbert
  • Women directors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History

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