Videos in English

These are films that we believe are of interest for our visitors. Unless otherwise indicated, the films are produced by the museum's staff and published on the museum's YouTube channel.

Edvard Munch's own film recordings

The Painter with a Movie Camera

It was quite a surprise when a moving picture camera was brought to the Munch Museum several years ago. It was a so-called Pathé-Baby with a 9,5 mm. film cassette and a projector in a specially made traveller's case. The advanced traveller's camera was said to have belonged to Edvard Munch, a fact confirmed by a viewing of the four accompanying films, which had originally been developed at Nerlien's in Oslo.

In connection with Munch's exhibition of Honour at the National Gallery in Berlin in the spring of 1927 he went on an extended trip to the Continent, during which he also visited Dresden before returning to Oslo in May. One of the cassette films were taken in Dresden, the other three in Oslo and Aker. All the shots seem to be from that summer.

The film from Dresden can be identified through the shots from the Schlossplatz overlooking the river Elbe and of the equestrian statue of the Saxon King Albert. This is obviously Munch's first experiment in cinema; and the film consists mainly of brief sequences from the centre of the city. Munch seems to have been fascinated by the street life. The camera has captured tramways, cars and horsedrawn carriages running in all directions, dwelling on the crowd of people passing in the street, and focussing on a man and woman laboriously shifting a cart. It is characteristic of the reel that most people have their backs turned, suggesting that they were unaware of being filmed; Munch probably sought out places from where he could film in secret.

The next film was mainly taken in the garden of Ekely, where Munch's old terrier is lying in the sunshine. Munch thought, according to Christian Gierløff, that 'the soul of an old wise man had taken place in the dog'. The film sweeps over the landscape anc captures a building in the neighbourhood.

The next scene is of Dronningparken, and then from in front of the Palace, but most of the film was taken at and around Karl Johan Street, where he stood outside Kirkeristen filming the busy street life. Munch filmed people rushing about and cars passing by, panning through 180 degrees. He seems to have wanted to capture the pulse of life by moving the camera. He also created contrasting scenes: He stops at a menu-card at the entrance of a restaurant, just as he stops at an oil and colour shop to film the display through the window.

The fourth film shows, in sweeping movements, parts of Solveien at Nordstrand, where his aunt and his sister lived. Inger's statuesque figure is seen and in a brief moment the head of his aunt fills out the whole picture. A longer close-up sequence of a fence rail is taken with an “Impressionist” approach.

The last part of the film is of Munch himself at the foot of the stairs at Ekely. Munch enters from the right, approaches the lens, bends down and gazes directly into the lens. After this he gets up and walks slowly out of the picture. Parts of his body – for instance, a longer shot of his jacket with his handkerchief in the pocket – fill out the picture, giving the scene the sense of a radical experiment.

Such short close-ups had been discussed by Fernand Léger the previous year in his article 'A New Realism – The Object: Its Plastic and Cinematic Value'. However, the closest source of inspiration is probably experimental film, which Munch must have been exposed to during his many travels abroad in the years 1925–1927.

The Russian film artist Dziga Vertov was very much in vogue in this period, having already, in a manifesto in 1922, launched a new kind of documentary film: instead of fusing a plot the artist should convey impressions of reality through a new kind of rythm like that of a musical composer. One of Vertovs bestknown works, The Man with the Movie Camera, was built up through street scenes, deliberate blurring through movement, double-exposure effects, such as shots through windows, and stopping at, for instance, a poster to give the effect of a still life.

Munch seems to have tried out exactly the same kind of effects, and his camera was especially good for such sequences. Vertov was the first film artist introduced in Das Kunstblatt (May 1929), perhaps his style was viewed in unison with the programme of The New Objectivity.

From: Arne Eggum, Munch and Photography (New Haven, Yale university Press, 1989)

Edvard Munch: “The house is burning!” (1927)

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch: “Execution” (1929)

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch – versions and variations

Edvard Munchs inner life

From Jazzmontør on Vimeo: “We made this little movie for an exhibition in Kragerø. When Munch was in Kragerø he wasn´t the anemic, angstridden man we now him as, but a strong, lively man with enormous plans. On the outside. The inside was still a bit dark. To say the least. We got the challenge of illustrating it.”

Edvard Munch: The Death of the Bohemian

Jappe Nilssen, an art critic, author and friend of Hans Jæger visited the writer at his deathbed. Jæger was a leading figure in Kristiania's literary circle of Bohemians in the 1880s. Jappe's niece, Erna Holmboe Bang, recounted some of her uncle's memories of the ageing Bohemian's death in an article in the newspaper Dagbladet in 1933:

“I can still recall my uncle, who was then living with us, getting a telephone summoning him to his deathbed. But it wasn't until many years later that I was told the whole story. It was one of the final days of the month. When my uncle entered the room Mrs. Henrik Lund was sitting with the dying man's head cradled in her hand. He was lying there with his eyes closed. A woman was pacing back and forth in the room, screaming that Jæger owed her 600 kroner, which were in a chest of drawers, and of which she was the rightful owner. If she wasn't given the money straight away she was going to throw herself out the window. She also demanded all his manuscripts and letters. Outside in the hall a drunken painter was wandering restlessly, claiming he believed the dying man was in possession of a half bottle of whisky, or at least a swig or two. He wanted in. But he was turned back at the door time and again. Hans Jæger really wasn't allowed to die in peace. During the throes of death you could hear impatient footsteps outside in the hall. Hans Jæger must have heard them too, because when my uncle entered he opened his eyes and said completely lucidly: 'Fairwell, my dear Jappe, thank you for our friendship!'”

“Soon afterwards Mrs. Lund who had sat faithfully at his bedside said, 'Hans Jæger has just died.' In the resulting confusion, the painter found his chance to rush in and nab the bottle of whisky.”

“[...] When my uncle later told Edvard Munch about this death scenario it made such a powerful impact on him that he painted his marvelous picture The Death of the Bohemian.”

In January 1910, Jappe Nilssen sent a letter to Edvard Munch, in deep despair on his own behalf. In the letter he also tells with blunt realism of the sick and doomed Hans Jæger. When Erna Holmboe Bang edited and published the correspondence between Edvard Munch and Jappe Nilssen in 1946, this letter was left out. Finally, here it is, more than a hundred years later.

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch: “The Murderer” (1910)

Edvard Munch's painting “The Murderer” (1910) is with its suggestive and disturbing scene an unusual picture in Munch's oeuvre. There is no immediate reference to a real killer or a real murder in the painting, but this film sheds light on events that can have inspired the artist.

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch: “Four Girls in Åsgårdstrand” (1902)

A while ago, the Munch Museum received a photographic portrait from around 1900 og five small girls. As this little film shows, the photograph was suddenly part of a larger context.

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

When Richard Strauss visited the University Aula in 1917

In the cold days of March 1917, the leading German composer Richard Strauss (1864–1949), visited Kristiania, as Oslo then was called. Edvard Munch met him personally and describes their meeting in his memoirs. Strauss held a concert in the University Aula, which was newly decorated with Munch's monumental paintings “The Sun”, “The History” and “Alma Mater”.

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch and the Aula decorations in his own words

In this digital story, Edvard Munch himself describes his thoughts, ideas and wishes during years of work with the decoration of the University Hall in Oslo.

A film by Research Librarian Lasse Jacobsen, The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch's Winter Studio today

In 1916, Edvard Munch bought the property at Ekely in Skøyen, west of Kristiania (Oslo). Here he was to settle for the rest of his life. The artist was a quite prosperous man at that time, and he liked to look at himself as a “landowner”. This winter studio was designed by the architect Henrik Bull in 1919, and is the only remaining building from Munch's time.