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Once upon a time How we used to consume ‘reel’ news

Before television, Swiss cinemas showed weekly news reels. The “Schweizer Filmwochenschau” was commissioned by the cabinet in 1940 to counter Nazi propaganda. (SRF/Schweizer Filmwochenschau/swissinfo.ch)

From wolf hunts to military parades and gymnastic events: For 35 years weekly news reels provided the Swiss with moving images of their country and the world. Besides radio and newspapers, the Filmwochenschau was the only source of news. 

Leading Swiss filmmakers of the day produced reports for the reels. Each episode was made in three languages. Production came to an end in 1975, when TV news became ubiquitous.

Around 6,500 archived film reels are now being digitalised in order to be made available online. The project is a joint venture between the National Film Archives, the Swiss Federal Archives and Memoriav.

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