General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Spotlight On Nordic Cinemas: From Silent Stars To Nordic Noir
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Anna Mrozewicz
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 000


Module aim (aims)

Emancipated women, social equality, environmental awareness, the happiest people in the world, hygge, the welfare state, children’s rights, ethnic diversity. These are some phenomena and cultural values widely associated with the Nordic region. How are these social and cultural qualities manifested in one of the Nordic region’s cultural flagships: its cinemas and television cultures? As we shall see, many of these values are not simply expressed in Nordic audio-visual cultures, but are debated and contested in them as well. The lecture series Spotlight on Nordic Cinemas: From Silent Stars to Nordic Noir aims at providing an overview and analyses of the most eminent films, figures, themes and genres in the cinemas of this region, from the era of silent film till today, with a double focus on the aesthetic trends and cultural values expressed in them. The Nordic presence in world cinema and television has grown substantially in recent decades, becoming far more diverse than the artistic auteur cinema associated with the Silent Golden Age and Ingmar Bergman. Owing to such important phenomena as Dogme 95 or Nordic noir, the Nordic ‘small-nation’ cinemas have become centrally positioned on the global cinematic transnational arena. The lecture series will focus on selected ‘spotlights’ from the Nordic region’s cinemas and television cultures, showing thematic and aesthetic continuities and discontinuities between earlier periods in Nordic film history and today, between art cinema and genre productions, and between the Nordic region’s central film producing countries (such as Denmark and Sweden) and its – no less important – younger cinema and television traditions (such as Iceland or Sápmi). The series aims at providing students with a knowledge of both the diversity and regional specificity found in the cinemas and television series of the Nordic countries, as well as illuminating the reasons behind their transnational success.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Good understanding of English.


Week 1: Spotlight on women: Die Asta: Asta Nielsen – the first Nordic international film star.

Week 2: Spotlight on women: Torturing ‘witches’ in Nordic cinemas: Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan (1922)

Week 3: Spotlight on women: Carl T. Dreyer: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).

Week 4: Spotlight on women: The tradition of torturing ‘witches’ continued: Carl T. Dreyer’s The Day of Wrath (1943), Lars von Trier’s Medea (1987).

Week 5: Spotlight on nature: Lars von Trier’s dark ecology: Antichrist (2009).

Week 6: Spotlight on nature: Lars von Trier’s eco-melancholia: Melancholia (2011).

Week 7: Spotlight on nature: The dark ecology of the welfare state: Jordskott (TV-series, Sweden, 2015,

2017) and Border (Ali Abbasi, 2018).

Week 8: Discomfort in the land of hygge: Dogme 95 and challenging the language of cinema: Festen

(Thomas Vinterberg, 1998).

Week 9: Spotlight on children and youth: Excluding otherness in Lukas Moodysson’s Fucking ?m?l (1998) and Lilya 4-ever (2002).

Week 10: The landscapes of Nordic Noir: The Bridge (Sweden, Denmark, 2011–2018).

Week 11: Spotlight on Iceland: The white trap and Arctic noir (Noi Albinoi, 2003; Trapped – TV-series,


Week 12: Spotlight on Iceland: National nature and the transnational gaze: The films of Benedikt

Erlingsson (Of Men and Horses, 2013; Woman at War, 2018).

Week 13: The landscapes of Sápmi: Sami blood (Amanda Kernell, 2016); Midnight Sun (TV-

series, Sweden/France, 2016).

Week 14: Arctic landscapes and male skiers: Deconstructing the nation and white masculinity in

Norwegian horror films (Cold Prey, 2006; Zombie SS, 2009).

Week 15: Evaluation

Reading list

1) Linda Badley, Lars von Trier, U. of Illinois Press 2009.

2) Kim Toft Hansen and Anne Marit Waade, Locating Nordic Noir. From Beck to The Bridge, Palgrave Macmilan 2017.

3) Linda Badley, “Antichrist, misogyny and witch burning: The Nordic cultural contexts”, Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, Volume 3, Issue 1 (2013).

4) Anna Westerstahl Stenport, Lukas Moodysson's Show Me Love (Nordic Film Classics), University of Washington Press 2012.

5) C. Claire Thomson, Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen / The Celebration, Museum Tusculanum Press 2013.

6) Films on Ice. Cinemas of the Arctic, eds. Anna Westerstahl Stenport, Scott MacKenzie, Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 2016.