Searching for a 9,5mm Family - Aspects on the Privacy of Home Movies

  • Salla Tenkanen, MA, Research Fellow University of Turku
Keywords: amateur film, home movies, privacy, ethical questions, copyright


Once upon a time...

...there was a prosperous French family. The father made films of his family, friends, pets and landscape with a 9.5mm Pathe camera. It was the summer of 1931 and the winter of 1931-1932 in the cities of Amiens, Saint Omer and Pornichet in France. Some names, places and dates were written on the reels.

In the year 2003, the films emerge in Germany where they are sold at an internet auction, at They end up in Finland.

This is how my advenrure together with 43 anonymous French home movies began. In 2006, three years after buying the films, I gradually started to wonder what the story behind the films was. Who were the women, men and children in the images?Where did they live? Why did the father film only during one summer and one winter - why didn't he continue with this hobby? And how did the films end up in Finland as it is obvious that the family was French? This is how I started my journey to find the original owners of the films. At the same time, l have been forced to have a close and deep look into their private lives. Hereafter the French family will be referred to as "the 9.5mm family''only because the original family hasn't been discovered yet.

Dec 31, 2006
How to Cite
Tenkanen, S. (2006). Searching for a 9,5mm Family - Aspects on the Privacy of Home Movies. Ethnologia Fennica, 33, 24-31. Retrieved from