Tag Archives: Scandinavian Film course

Statement of Accomplishment for Scandinavian Film and Television course

Statement of Accomplishment for  Scandinavian Film and Television courseThe course I finished couple of weeks ago and I still hope to blog through it. Meanwhile today I got my “Statement of Accomplishment“, which I earned with distinction. In theory on need to reach more than 90% on the course to get the distinction. Guess what % I did? 139?! *(click picture on side for larger size as proof) I knew I can be a bit of an overachiever, but this was a bit too much, I suspect something was wrong with the calculation method. Nevertheless they cannot take my certificate away. Here is the PDF version and a screenshot of it below:

Statement of Accomplishment for  Scandinavian Film and Television course

Scandinavian Film course #4: Main trends lecture notes

Here are the notes/summary from the lectures of the first segment of the course titled “Contemporary Scandinavian Film and Television Culture: Main Trends”. This was Professor Ib Bondebjerg’s lecture

Scandinavian cinema and the welfare state

  • All Scandinavian countries have a quite strong and diverse production of film and television genres.
  • And national audiences tend to like the film and television they get.
  • Sweden has 9.5 million inhabitants, Denmark 5.6 million, Finland 5.4 million and Norway 4.9 million.
  • Europe is fragmented, USA is a unified and very firmly organized market with a strong tradition for international distribution. Smaller nations, such as the Scandinavian, cannot produce films on the budget American films can.
  • All Scandinavian countries also produce proper main stream genres. But only the national audiences watch them.
  • We are known for our auteurs, for our contribution to the social and physchological realism, for putting existential and social problems on the agenda.
  • Perhaps some form of Scandinavian design is also visible in the film and television products we export successfully.
  • Scandinavian countries are characterized by being highly developed welfare states. A core value is to secure equal opportunities for all; social solidarity and security.
  • People in the Scandinavian countries pay a relatively high tax, but as a result of that, many things are free. Health service, education and also many cultural offers.
  • The welfare state doesn’t eliminate market forces and free enterprise. But the collaboration between the public and the private sector aims at securing the individual in the best possible way.
  • Public support for cultural production in general and for film and television has a prominent place.
  • As early as 1917, Norway established a municipal public cinema system. And in the 1930’s, some countries established public funded film support.
  • National Film Institutes, in Sweden, in 1963, in Denmark in 1972, and in Norway in 1988.
  • In a small country with between 5 to 10 million people film production companies cannot survive without some public support.
  • We need to make sure that the films made, cover different genres, drama, comedy, historical films, documentary film, children’s films, et cetera.
  • American films clearly dominate in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
  • If we look just at the film history of Scandinavia, it is in fact rather unique, that such small nations have contributed to so much, to the world film history.
  • Before movies began to speak and language barriers became a problem, especially Denmark and Sweden had a strong voice in world film culture.

Scandinavian cinema: trends and international impact

  • American films have become a kind of global, mass culture for all audiences all over the world. Even in America, we find an independent film culture. The global American dominance has been a fact since the 1930s.
  • But in the silent era, Scandinavian film, and especially Danish films were much stronger in the world film culture.
  • Between 1907 and 10, Nordic Film produces no less than 560 films. Films of around five to fifteen minutes each.
  • Asta Nielsen one of the biggest stars.
  • But what really started the Danish international film adventure was the development of the long film, thirty to forty-five minutes. A major breakthrough with especially social and erotic melodramas, like The White Slave Trade, The Abyss, or the Flying Devils.
  • For a short period between 1910 and 1920, Danish and also Swedish silent cinema had a strong world position. Not just with artistic auteur films but with films covering all genres.
  • The First World War and the following years paved the way for the global American era.
  • Around 1970, all Scandinavian countries had developed the system where public support for films supplemented the still very important role of pirate production companies.
  • In Scandinavia very few films since the 1980s have been made without some sort of public support.
  • A number of films can be very popular with a national audience but never shown outside its own country of production. Whereas other films can have a much broader international profile, even without necessarily having a big national audience.
  • Of the 40 Danish films from those 2009-10, two films stand out as having an international strong profile: Susanne Bier’s In a Better World from 2010 and Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, from 2009
  • The number four on this list, My Sister’s Kids In Jutland, is only nationally financed and only has a national audience.
  • The auteur is definitely an important international brand for Scandinavian cinema. World audiences hardly expect to find blockbuster movies from any of these countries. The Millennium Trilogy in 2009 is an exception.
  • The very concept of auteur was coined by the French and the European New Wave film generation of the 1960s: opposition to the American form of filmmaking.
  • This young generation of film makers, for instance, Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut wanted films that were original, based on life, not literature, and where the director was in artistic control.
  • Some of their icons were Scandinavian, like Carl Th .Dreyer and Ingmar Bergman. Directors that redefined the language of cinema.
  • A group of Danish directors launched Dogme 95 in Paris where also the first attack on mainstream cinema took place.
  • Inspired by the new wave generation, Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg called for a new kind of international cinema. To bring cinema back to its artistic roots and engagement with reality.
  • Creating alternatives to the global mainstream cinema: Lukas Moodysson, the harsh global, Swedish, realist; Norwegian European art cinema director Bent Hamer who makes humorous images of life in Norway in Kitchen Stories; Finnish Aki Kaurismäki, with his portrait of Finnish life in, for instance, Drifting Clouds.

Scandinavian television culture

  • Scandinavian television is dominated by pubic service stations, or PSB stations
  • The Danish PSB main station DR started to broadcast in October 1951 and was followed in 1956 by the Swedish SVT, in 1958 by Finnish YLE and in 1960 by Norwegian NRK.
  • Paid by the tax or license fee and not by commercials: independent of commercial interests and of the state and the political system.
  • Obligation to serve all parts of the population and develop programs that cater to all sorts of taste, including minorities.
  • Danish law:
    • 1. to secure a broad variety of programs and services, including news, information, education, art and entertainment.
    • 2. to secure quality, versatility, and diversity.
    • 3. to secure freedom of information and speech and impartiality and objectivity.
    • 4. to secure special obligations towards Danish language and culture.
    • 5. to secure a broad representation of art and culture, reflecting the diversity of cultural interests in the Danish society.
  • In Finland: first commercial channel in Europe: MTV3 in 1957.
  • Dividing its PSB channels into several
  • In the 1980s: a dual system of commercial and PSB television
  • Since 1990 the number of television channels in Scandinavia has exploded.
  • Long tradition for both Scandinavian and European collaboration and co-production of television.
  • NordvisionNordvision was established in 1959, to further co-production and collaboration between the Nordic countries. And in 1990, the Nordic Film and Television Fund grew out of this cooperation between the Nordic countries.
  • A similar development can be seen on a European level, where the European Broadcasting Union, EBU, was formed already in 1954,
  • This year the European Union gathered all its cultural and media programs under the name Creative Europe.
  • Much more than cinema and film, television drama has been important in gathering the nation in front of the screen. E.g. the Danish series in 24 parts, Matador, broadcast for the first time from 1978 to 1981 on DR. An instant success with a huge Danish audience. One episode was seen by 3.6 million in Denmark, out of a population of 5.5 million
  • Historical drama series on television often get very high viewing figures. E.g. In Sweden, for instance, Jan Troell’s series The Emigrants and New Land from 1971 to 2
  • Television can gather the nation, and create a feeling of being together of a national community
  • Strong television; e.g. Ingmar Bergman challenging series Scenes from a Marriage, one to six, from 1973. By showing us the tearing apart of a marriage this series challenged its audience. In 1982 Bergman did it again with Fanny and Alexander.
  • Lars von Trier in 1994 released all his talents onto television, the result was a gorgeous genre mix called The Kingdom, where thriller, ghost story, satire and comedy met the supernatural.
  • Danish television drama, is experiencing an unprecedented international success. But also, Swedish crime series are popular abroad, e.g. Wallander
  • But Danish television drama, since 2000, has received five Emmys: crime series Unit 1, romantic comedy series Nikolaj and Julie, crime series The Eagle, political thriller series The Protectors, historical biopic on Hans Christian Andersen. The Killing furthermore won the BAFTA prize for the best foreign television drama.


* This blog entry is part of my series on the “Scandinavian Film and Television” course I am taking.

Scandinavian Film course #3: main trends film links

Each part of the course* I am taking comes with a number of film links. In this post I review the very first set, accompanying the “Contemporary Scandinavian Film and Television Culture: Main Trends” section.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) – trailer

Creative Europe, presentation of new EU program

  • This is a 2 and half minute summary from 2011 of a new EU program that was set to support EU culture between 2010 and 2020.Cinema and audiovisual sector was given 900 million euros to support 2500 cinemas and the distribution of 1000 films

Urban Gad: The Abyss (1910) – sequence

  • The full, 37 min, movie is here, but the course probably couldn’t link to it legally
  • The film’s wikipedia and IMDB  page
  • The description is from the archive.org, from where you can download the movie too: This is the tale of a young woman who abandons her fiancé, and runs off with a circus performer. Things do not end well. The movie was heavily censored when originally shown in the US due to its erotic content. It is notable for the natural acting style of Asta Nielsen, a method unseen at the time in American cinema.

Poster for In a Better World (2010)Susanne Bier: In a Better World (2010) – official UK-trailer

  • Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards
  • IMDb page and description: The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait.
  • DVD/BluRay or instant watch at Amazon
  • Wikipedia page and official site

Bent Hamer: Kitchen Stories (2003), official trailer

  • I saw and loved this movie
  • IMDB page and description: A scientific observer’s job of observing an old cantakerous single man’s kitchen habits is complicated by his growing friendship with him.
  • DVD/BluRay or instant watch at Amazon

Lukas Moodyson: Mammoth (2009) – official trailer

  • IMDB page and description: While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid’s family struggles to deal with her absence.
  • DVD or instant watch at Amazon

Ingmar Bergman: Scenes from a Marriage (1973), opening sequence

  • IMDB page and description: Ten years of Marianne and Johan’s relationship are presented. We first meet them ten years into their marriage. He is a college professor, she a divorce lawyer. They say that they are happily married – unlike their friends Katarina and Peter who openly fight, especially when under the influence of alcohol – but there is a certain detached aloofness in the way they treat each other. In the next ten years, as they contemplate or embark upon divorce and/or known extramarital affairs, they come to differing understandings at each phase of their relationship of what they truly mean to each other. Regardless of if it’s love or hate – between which there is a fine line – they also come to certain understandings of how they can best relate to each other, whether that be as husband and wife, friends, lovers or none of the above.
  • DVD  at Amazon

Lars von Trier: The Kingdom (1994) – intro

  • IMDB page and description: The Kingdom is the most technologically advanced hospital in Denmark, a gleaming bastion of medical science. A rash of uncanny occurrences, however, begins to weaken the staff’s faith in science–a phantom ambulance pulls in every night, but disappears; voices echo in the elevator shaft; and a pregnant doctor’s fetus seems to be developing much faster than is natural. At the goading of a spiritualist patient, some employees work to let supernatural forces rest.
  • DVD  at Amazon

Interview with Jan Troell (2012)

* This blog entry is part of my series on the “Scandinavian Film and Television” course I am taking.

Scandinavian Film course #2: Readings about contemporary/main trends

The first half of the first week of lectures in the course I am taking was about “Contemporary Scandinavian Film and Television Culture: Main Trends”. The readings for it included five wikipedia pages and three articles (and a number of journal articles and book chapters o which I didn’t have access to.)  Here are some of the more memorable points from them.

Ib Bondebjerg & Eva Novrup Redvall (2011), A Small Region in a Global World.Patterns in Scandinavian Film and Media Culture

  • This is a 129 page book, that I didn’t fully read
  • The authors analyzed “the Scandinavian film and television culture focusing on films released between 2002-2006”
  • The following excerpts from the report’s introduction/conclusion shows that the focus oif the report was to encourage greater integration between Scandinavian nations and intention to support their film industries:
  • All three countries have a national share of films on their own market that is above the average of other European countries of a similar size.
    We are looking at the transnational patterns of film distribution inside Scandinavia and to a large degree also in the rest of Europe.
    The non-national Scandinavian market is of least importance, the EU market is almost five times bigger, whereas the national market is the most important.
    We cannot conclude from these data that Scandinavians do not want to watch films from neighbouring countries.
    There is no natural cultural Scandinavian feeling of togetherness
    Why do the co-productions in TV drama function so well
    Nordvision cooperation dates more than fifty years back and the network between people From the Nordic public service stations seems much more firmly established
    The public service stations seem to have established a set of creative formulas that combine international and national genre concepts.
    The number of co-productions inside Scandinavia is moderately impressive, with a total of 124 films between 2002-2006
    The number of co-produced films achieving a significant audience on the non-national Scandinavian market is negligible. Scandinavian film culture that remains too focused on production but with not enough focus on reaching a transnational audience outside the national territory.
    60% of the Nordic citizens feel a special connection to the Nordic region and even supported a federal Nordic union. This fact cannot be seen in patterns of film consumption in Scandinavia.
    The Nordic Film Institutes and the Scandinavian distributors do not seem to have developed any efficient coordinated strategies.
    The film sector appears to be much more fragmented.
    Co-production therefore happens between small or very small companies
    The distribution sector in Scandinavia is much more centralised
    The festival system has grown in importance in all three Scandinavian countries
    The films that manage the transition from the national market to a broader Scandinavian market are almost all dramas, with the occasional comedy exception. This means that other types of films are not exported and do not achieve nearly the same kind of success.
    The data highlights how some of the family comedies that are often extremely popular nationally are not travelling to the rest of Scandinavia to any significant degree.
    Scandinavia seems to be currently losing the fight for the young cinema audience and in the new digital media culture.
    Cinema plays an important role in a film’s life, but the audience for films are now also to be found on many other platforms: television, VOD, DVD on TV and computer, downloads, mobile media etc.
    Between 2002-2006 in Denmark alone, the total figures for cinema admissions were only 16 million whereas television represented 39.9 million.
    Television is by far the largest window for Scandinavian films.
    Cinema is no longer the key element in a film’s life.
    We can no longer lock ourselves in the national cinema box. A global, digital revolution has already taken place.

Peter Schepelern (2011), Danish Film History 1896-2009

  • Here are the headings from the long article for an overviews
  • 1896-1910 The first film screening in Denmark takes place in 1896; the following year, in 1897, Peter Elfelt makes the first Danish produced films. The first movie theatres begin to appear in 1904, and in 1906 Ole Olsen founds the Nordisk Film Company. Beginning in 1910 the Nordisk Film Company gambles on producing full-length feature films. This was the beginning of Danish cinema’s golden age.
  • 1910-1920 The Danish cinemas golden age lasted from 1910 to 1920. The period’s leading director is Benjamin Christensen, and the two Danish actors Asta Nielsen and Valdemar Psilander achieve both national and international fame.
  • 1920-1929 Throughout the 1920’s Nordisk Film’s decline continues. The company receives strong competition from another company, Palladium, which achieves success with the comedy duo Fyrtaarnet og Bivognen. It is in this period of decline that Carl Th. Dreyer debuts as director.
  • 1930-1939 In the 1930s talkies make their way into Denmark and jovial comedies with songs, so- called folk-comedies, became the decade’s dominant genre. Poul Henningsen directs the documentary Danmark, which spurs a new filmic conscience that inspires the new generation of documentary filmmakers.
  • 1940-1949 During the German occupation Danish films switch character and become darker, while also putting more focus on the national. Documentary filmmaking is flowering, and it becomes the norm to show documentaries as short films in the theatres. After the war Danish films zero in on a more realistic manner with focus on everyday drama and social problems.
  • 1950-1959 In the 1950s the melodrama returns with the popular Morten Korch film adaptations and the Father of Four (Far til fire) family films. Another direction pursued in the 50s is problem-oriented films, especially dealing with youth. Outside the trends of the time comes Dreyer’s Ordet (1955).
  • 1960-1969 The fast spread of televisions in Danish homes threatens movie theatre ticket sales. In accepting the necessity of economic support to the needy Danish film branch, the Film Law of 1964 formalizes government support to the art of film. Breakthroughs in the European film scene hits Danish cinema and starts the Danish new wave. In extension of the 1960s general tendencies towards freedom of expression, pornography is released and adult censorship of films is removed.
  • 1970-1979 Along with the Film Law of 1972, the Danish Film Institute is established. Organization of governmental movie support finds its fast footing primarily through the new consultant scheme, whose political independence and integrity come under fire from the very beginning due to the Thorsen scandal. Youth films have their heyday in the 70s and the popular folk comedies return again in the form of heist films about the Olsen Gang. Pornography’s newfound freedom leads to the production of ‘erotic folk comedies’ — the so-called bedside movies and zodiac movies.
  • 1980-1989 In the 1980s two Danish films win the Oscar for best international film. A humanistic realism characterizes the period’s films, which depict every day people anchored in a recognizable Danish reality. Nils Malmros makes a name for himself with his realistic youth films, while Lars von Trier creates an avant-garde breakthrough in Danish cinema. The Film Law is revised again in 1989, and the 50/50-scheme is established to stimulate popular movies.
  • 1990-1999 The effect of the 50/50 ordinance becomes visible with the populist comedies of the 1990s. In the mid-90s Danish cinema experiences a generational shift with a new wave of debuting directors and actors. Lars Von Trier achieves his international breakthrough and Dogme movies garner international attention towards Danish films. Zentropa, the company behind Dogme films, establishes itself together with other smaller companies in Film City. The Film Law of 1997 reorganizes The Danish Film Institute and film censorship is abolished.
  • 2000-2009 After the millennium popular film is composed of sequels, romantic comedies and “male action” movies. Mainstream film achieves success with attempts of classical genres and depictions of the class scheme in Denmark. DFI’s talent development system New Danish Screen is created to enhance the development of film’s formal language and narrative. Particularly noticeable in the documentary genre is a new documentary style that breaks through in the new millennium.

Wikipedia, Facts about Norwegian Film History

  • As of 2011, there had been nearly 900 films produced in Norway, with a third of these being made in the last 15 years.[6]
  • The Norwegian equivalent of the Academy Awards is the Amanda award, which is presented during the annual Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund. The prize was created in 1985.
  • Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature at the 24th Academy Awards in 1951.
  • In 2006 the Norwegian/Canadian animated short film The Danish Poet, directed by Norwegian Torill Kove and narrated by Norwegian screen legend Liv Ullman, won an Academy Award for Animated Short Film
  • As of 2013, five films from Norway have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: Nine Lives (1957), The Pathfinder (1987), The Other Side of Sunday (1996), Elling (2001) and Kon-Tiki (2012).

Tom McSorley (1999), A short history of Swedish story

  • “Swedish cinema” evokes words like silence, solitude, angst, despair and dread.
  • Swedish cinema has actually been vibrant and wide-ranging
  • A healthy indigenous filmmaking industry backed by an enviable combination of private investment and state support
  • Swedish filmmakers have been actively examining the social function of cinema,
  • Sweden has evolved from a largely agrarian, late-19th century society into an industrial and technological powerhouse.
  • Sweden has moved from a culturally and racially homogenous nation to a multi-cultural, multi-racial society.
  • The first public projection was in the southern city of Malmö, on June 28, 1896.
  • In February, 1907, the AB Svensk Biografteatern was founded and launched the golden age of Swedish cinema.
  • Two characteristics that have come to dominate Swedish film: the constant appearance of the Swedish landscape and the mastering of cinematic techniques.
  • Stiller developed a distinctive brand of ironic comedy, which was later to inspire Ernst Lubitsch.
  • Swedish actors and directors such as Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman, Max von Sydow, Bo Widerberg and most recently, Stellan Skarsgård, move to Hollywood.
  • Swedes began producing their own images of and for themselves, without relying on Americans or Europeans.
  • The Swedes produced, distributed and exhibited their own films, developing an audience at the same time [during WWI].
  • The golden age lasted into the twenties when the arrival of sound movies proved problematic.
  • While the domestic Swedish market was satisfied in this first decade of talking films, Sweden’s international reputation dropped precipitously
  • The 1940s: the flow of foreign films was cut off. Swedish films were watched more often and filmmakers such as Alf Sjöberg returned
  • Literary movement “Writers of the Forties.” rejected outright the romanticized, idealized images of the Swedish landscape and character
  • Victor Sjöström as artistic director of Svensk Filmindustri believed that creative talent should be treated with patience and be allowed to make mistakes in order to improve
  • Ingmar Bergman is a cinema unto himself
  • Exploring themes of isolation and alienation, and emphasizing individual psychology and its tangles of social and sexual expressions, Bergman mapped the region between desire, memory and action, often merging dream and reality
  • Achievements by filmmakers Arne Mattsson (One Summer of Happiness, 1951) and Hasse Ekman (Girl with Hyacinths, 1950)
  • Swedish film industry workers organized a demonstration on May 1, 1962, much as their predecessors had done in 1936.
  • Mandated to support the production of Swedish films of “high merit” and to promote Swedish film internationally, the Institute was funded by a 10 percent box office levy. The levy is still in place
  • During the sixties Bo Widerberg (Elvira Madigan, 1967, All Things Fair, 1996)
  • This new group called for dramas or documentaries that examined the social and political realities of contemporary Sweden
  • After making Fanny and Alexander, Bergman retired from filmmaking in 1982, causing Swedish cinema to redefine itself yet again.
  • Following the directorial footsteps of acclaimed actresses Mai Zetterling (Night Games, 1968) and Gunnel Lindblom (Paradise Place, 1976), have come talented, challenging directors such as Suzanne Osten, Agneta Fagerström-Olsson, Susanne Bier, Marie-Louise Ekman and Christina Olofson.
  • Sweden produces films that are seen by 20 percent of its population. Swedes still want to see themselves on screens.
  • Consequently, their cinema appears to be vigorous and healthy, if not a little beleaguered.
  • The new generation of directors has even come to terms with the Bergman legacy. Instead of resenting him the new filmmakers recognize and appreciate his contribution.

Wikipedia, Facts about Swedish Film History

  • Swedish filmmaking rose to international prominence when Svenska Biografteatern moved from Kristianstad to Lidingö in 1911.
  • In the mid-twenties both of these directors and Garbo moved to the United States to work for MGM, bringing Swedish influence to Hollywood.
  • During World War II Swedish cinema gained artistically, mainly due to the directors Gustaf Molander and Alf Sjöberg.
  • Cinematographer Sven Nykvist can be said to have had a major impact on the visual aspect of Swedish cinema. Twice the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, for Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander, Nykvist is considered by many to be one of the greatest cinematographers of all time. He also directed The Ox (Oxen) (1991), nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1992.
  • Vilgot Sjöman debuted in 1962 with The Swedish Mistress (Älskarinnan), but attracted far wider attention in Sweden when his film 491 was originally banned by the Swedish censors due to its explicit sexual content.
  • Bo Widerberg. His 1963 film Raven’s End (Kvarteret Korpen) and The Man on the Roof (Mannen på taket) are widely regarded as Swedish film classics.
  • Jan Troell debut with his own film Here’s Your Life (Här har du ditt liv). He went on to direct The Emigrants (Utvandrarna) in 1971 and its sequel The New Land (Nybyggarna) the following year.
  • Hans Alfredsson and Tage Danielsson, in common speech now as Hasseåtage who made a movie called Svenska Bilder. [Their] movies are considered cult in Sweden today.
  • In 1968, Stefan Jarl’s and Jan Lindqvist’s documentary They Call Us Misfits (Dom kallar oss mods) was released.
  • Roy Andersson had a breakthrough with his first feature-length film, A Swedish Love Story in 1969,
  • Lasse Hallström made his feature-length film debut in 1975 with the comedy A Guy and a Gal (En Kille och en tjej)
  • In the comedy genre Lasse Åberg has directed and also starred in some successful films that, although not praised by film critics, were box-office successes
  • Lukas Moodysson‘s first feature-length film, Show Me Love (aka Fucking Åmål) was a huge success in Sweden.
  • Lebanon-born director Josef Fares, with the comedies Jalla! Jalla! (2000) and Kopps (2003), and the refugee drama Zozo (2005), Iranian-born Reza Parsa with the drama Before the Storm (Före stormen) (2000), and Maria Blom, with the comedy Dalecarlians (Masjävlar) (2004).
  • Tomas Alfredson’s (son of Hasse Alfredson) romantic vampire film/drama film Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) (2008) received widespread acclaim
  • The Swedish Film Institute was founded in 1963 to support and develop the Swedish film industry.
  • At a rate of, currently, 20 films a year the Swedish film industry is on par with other comparable North European countries.

I also read these three Wikipedia pages and recommend you to do so too.

Extra Readings:

  • Swedish Film. 'An Introduction and Reader.Bondebjerg, Ib (2005). The Danish Way: Danish Film Culture in a European and Global Perspective. In Andrew Nestingen and Trevor G. Elkington. Transnational Cinema in a Global North.
  • Hjort, Mette (2005). ‘From Epiphanic Culture to Circulation: The Dynamics of Globalization in Nordic Cinema.’ In Andrew Nestingen and Trevor G. Elkington. Transnational Cinema in a Global North. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 191-221.
  • Francoise Buquet (1992). ‘Chronology of Scandinavian Cinema (1896-1991). ‘ in Peter Cowie (ed). Scandinavian Cinema. London: Tantivy press, pp. 11-20.
  • Paolo Cherci Usai. ‘The Scandinavian Style’. In The Oxford History of World Cinema, pp. 151-162.
  • Monika Djerf-Pierre & Mats Ekström (eds. 2014). ‘A history of Swedish Broadcasting. Communicative, ethos, genres and institutional change.’ Gothenburg: Nordicom.
  • Mariah Larsson & Anders Marklund (eds. 2010). Swedish Film. ‘An Introduction and Reader.‘ Lund: Nordic Academic Press.
  • John Tucker (eds. 2012). ‘Evaluating the Achievement of One Hundred Years of Scandinavian Cinema.’ New York & Ontario: The Edward Mellen Press.

* This blog entry is part of my series on the “Scandinavian Film and Television” course I am taking.

New course: Scandinavian Film and Television

Evaluating the Achievement of One Hundred Years of Scandinavian CinemaI am starting a new course today on Coursera on Scandinavian Film and Television. Here is the course’s public summary:

In many ways Scandinavian film and television is a global cultural brand, connected with and exporting some of the cultural and social values connected to a liberal and progressive welfare society. This course deals with the social, institutional and cultural background of film and television in Scandinavia and in a broader European and global context.

I was asked to make a video introduction and answer why I am interested in this topic. Here it goes. I shot the video, but didn’t like the footage, so I am only sharing the transcript (with links).

I watch a lot of movies and if I know more about their background and history and be able to put them in historical and geographical context I will get more out enjoy putting them into context. As I enjoyed several Scandinavian movies in the past it is time to learn more about where they came from and how they relate to each other.

I grew up in Hungary with great access to classic European movies, so I watched a lot of old movies, including Ingmar Bergman’s, such as The Seventh Seal and Fanny and Alexander. The only other Scandinavian movies I can recall right now from the 1980’s that I’ve seen are Babette’s Feast and Pelle the Conqueror.

Right around when the dogma films and movement started I moved to the US, where my access to European movies was much more limited then. Nevertheless, my mother, who is a serious film lover too, kept me informed from Hungary and sometimes sent me DVDs too. So I saw The Idiots, a bit later Italian for Beginners and more that elude me this second.

In recent years I saw a number of Scandinavian movies that I deeply appreciated and admired, for example Lars von Trier’s Breaking the WavesDancer in the Dark (I haven’t seen yet his latest Melancholia and Nymphomaniac), but also possibly less famous ones, like Dear Wendy, Kitchen Stories, A Royal Affair, Brothers, Adam’s Apple and Hawaii Oslo and the Swedish version of the Millenium trilogy. I also enjoyed comedies like Buddy or even the older Olsen Gang films.

Besides learning more about the culture these movies came from I hope to discover many more movies worthy to watch. I also own and run two film related websites and hope to include more, relevant Scandinavian movies on them. One of them is filmandreligion.com and I am sure I will be exposed to more Scandinavian films with interesting religious themes. The other site is, jewishfilmfestivals.org, which primarily deals with movies that has something to do with Jews and/or Judaism. the latest movie that overlaps these two worlds I have seen was the excellent Simon and the Oaks.

I left an even more personal note to the end. I am enjoying a current Swedish/American sitcom titled Welcome to Sweden. It contrasts pretty well the differences in the culture of the USA and Sweden. Watching this reminded me that I visited Sweden several times, but last time was 25 years ago. Also, my wife has some Norwegian blood and she visited Norway 5 years ago. So there is some personal connection too.