[Mette_Hjort]_Small_Nation,_Global_Cinema_The_New


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Small Nation,
Global Cinema
PUBLIC WORLDS
Series Editors: Dilip Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee
VOLUME 15
Mette Hjort,
Small Nation, Global Cinema: The New Danish Cinema
VOLUME 14
Alev ǚnar,
Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey
Bodies, Places, and Time
VOLUME 13
Richard Harvey Brown, Editor,
The Politics of Selfhood: Bodies and Identities
in Global Capitalism
VOLUME 12
Ato Quayson,
Calibrations: Reading for the Social
VOLUME 11
Daniel Herwitz,
Race and Reconciliation: Essays from the New South Africa
VOLUME 10
Ulf Hedetoft and Mette Hjort, Editors,
The Postnational Self:
Belonging and Identity
VOLUME 9
Claudio Lomnitz,
Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism
VOLUME 8
Greg Urban,
Metaculture: How Culture Moves through the World
VOLUME 7
Patricia Seed,
American Pentimento: The Invention of Indians and the Pursuit
of Riches
VOLUME 6
Radhika Mohanram,
Black Body: Women, Colonialism, and Space
VOLUME 5
May Joseph,
Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship
VOLUME 4
Mayfair Mei- hui Yang,
Spaces of Their Own: Womens Public Sphere
in Transnational China
VOLUME 3
Naoki Sakai,
Translation and Subjectivity: On Japan and Cultural Nationalism
VOLUME 2
Ackbar Abbas,
Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance
VOLUME 1
Arjun Appadurai,
Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Chapter 2 is a revised version of the authors contributions to
Purity and Provocation:
Dogma 95,
edited by Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie (London: British Film Institute,
2003).
Part of chapter 5 appeared in
Transnational Cinema in a Global North: Nordic Cinema in
Transition,
edited by Andrew Nestingen and Trevor Elkington (Detroit: Wayne State
University Press, 2005).
Copyright 2005 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a re-
trieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the
publisher.
Published by the University of Minnesota Press
111 Third Avenue South, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2520
http://www.upress.umn.edu
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hjort, Mette.
Small nation, global cinema : the new Danish cinema / Mette Hjort.
p. cm. (Public worlds ; v. 15)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8166-4648-1 (hc : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8166-4649-X (pb : alk. paper)
1. Motion picturesDenmark. I. Title. II. Series.
PN1993.5.D4H62 2005
791.43'09489dc22
2005002054
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
The University of Minnesota is an equal-opportunity educator and employer.
12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For Siri and Erik
Contents
Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
1 New Danish Cinema: A Small Nations Path to Globalization 1
2 Dogma 95: The Globalization of Denmarks Response
to Hollywood 34
3 Participatory Filmmaking: Experiments across
the Filmmaker/Viewer Divide 66
4 Patriotism and Nationalism: A Common Culture in Film 112
5 Counterglobalization: A Transnational Communicative
Space Emerges in the North 158
ix
Preface
Small Nation, Global Cinema
looks closely at the so-called New Danish Cinema
in order to understand the dynamics of various globalizations within a
privileged small-nation context. The discussion builds on a number of
my earlier analyses of contemporary Danish cinema, some of the argu-
ments and key terms of which warrant brief mention here. In the area of
lm culture, as I have argued elsewhere (Hjort 1996), small-nation status
is typically linked to the production of minor cinema. In cultural stud-
ies, the term
minor
is associated with Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattaris
insightful work on minor literature, a concept anchored in their under-
standing of Franz Kafkas writings and linked to the idea of subverting a
dominant
national
language or culture from within. The term
minor
points,
then, to the existence of regimes of cultural power and to the need for
strategic resourcefulness on the part of those who are unfavorably situated
within the cultural landscape in question, be it a national context or a more
properly global one. Denmark, I argued in
The Danish Directors: Dialogues
on a Contemporary National Cinema,
quali es as a small nation engaged in the
production of minor cinema for the following reasons:
1 The size of its population is too small to sustain a commercially based,
indigenous lm industry.
2 The language spoken by the nation in question, Danish, is understood
primarily by Danes, making it difcult to expand the market for Danish
lm through export and international distribution.
3 A key problem for the indigenous lm industry is the ongoing in ux and
dominant presence of American lms. (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 20)
Prior to the emergence of the New Danish Cinema in the 1990s, recurrent
problems confronted by the relevant minor cinema primarily concerned
a lack of interest in Danish lms within national, European, Nordic, and
transnational communicative spaces. What makes this kind of generalized
neglect problematic is the clear sense that it is ultimately traceable not to
an inherent absence of interest or quality in all or even most cases but to
politics of positionality
on the part of strong or large nations, most notably
the United States. One obvious solution to the problems posed by posi-
tionality is simply to get out of the game of lmmaking, to acknowledge
that lmmaking on purely commercial terms is an impossibility in the
small-nation context of Denmark.
This is not, however, the path taken by the Danish state, widely sup-
ported by its citizens, when it became clear in the mid-1970s that Danish
lm would be incapable of surviving without signi cant forms of state
support. The reasons are clear: Danish lm is part of a national heritage
culture, recognized internationally during the golden years of silent
constitutes a form of harm. In the 1970s and 1980s, state support for
Danish cinema was in many ways a clear case of a small nation engaging in
a politics of recognition, for the aim was to ensure that a national culture
found continued expression in lm and that the value of that culture regis-
tered to the greatest extent possible both within and beyond the relevant
national borders (Hjort 1996).
In the course of the 1990s, however, and
in the new millennium, Danish lmmakers and policymakers began to
gravitate toward a series of initiatives that have effectively combined to
de-
nationalize,
to
hybridize,
but also to
globalize
the relevant minor cinema.
Small
Nation, Global Cinema
attempts to pinpoint key strategic changes from the
late 1980s onward, shifts that have allowed for the emergence of a minor
cinema capable of recon guring unfavorable patterns of global circulation
contexts characterized by strong commitments to democratic ideals and
concepts of national speci city as well as by radical changes in terms of
ethnic composition. In chapter 5, Counterglobalization: A Transnational
Communicative Space Emerges in the North, the aim is to understand
what happens when the heritage strategy is brought to bear on national
and transnational cultures simultaneously, showing that a shift in empha-
sis from deep culture (or heritage) to circulation makes possible a far
more effective consolidated response to Global Hollywood on the part of
a number of small lmmaking nations. Chapter 6, International Heritage:
xiii
Acknowledgments
I began working on
Small Nation, Global Cinema
more than a decade ago,
prompted by a screening of Lars von Triers
Element of Crime
in Montreals
Cinma Parallle. The McGill English department generously supported
my excursions onto terrain that could easily have been construed as
peripheral to its efforts. Charles Taylor and John Hall, both McGill col-
leagues, immersed me in debates about recognition, small nations, and
nationalism and provided me with many a useful map. Ben Lee, director
of the Center for Transcultural Studies in Chicago, has played the role
of friendly sparring partner over the years as I sought to understand the
of SPIRT and AMID at Aalborg University, debated all the key issues
with me at one point or another and helped me to see how the book might
be able to address many different audiences at once. The University of
Hong Kong awarded me a generous Research Initiation Grant, for which
I am grateful.
I have had the welcome opportunity to present parts of
Small Nation,
Global Cinema
to a number of quite different audiences, who invariably
helped me to clarify my thoughts. I am especially grateful to the follow-
ing scholars for giving me the opportunity, at conferences or in visiting
speakers series, to speak about the minor cinema that I know best:
Tobin Siebers (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), David Bordwell and
Patrick Rumble (University of WisconsinMadison), Meaghan Morris
and Stephen Chan (Lingnan University), Natasa Durovicova, Kathleen
Newman, Corey Creekmur, and Paul Greenough (University of Iowa),
Andy Nestingen and Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (University of Washington,
Seattle), Kathleen Woodward (Simpson Center, University of Washington,
Seattle), Virpi Zuck (University of Oregon, Eugene), Wlodek Rabinowicz
years earlier had it not been for Erik and Siri, who slowed me down in
meaningful ways and thus ended up giving me a chance, however un-
intentionally, to discard early ideas that came to seem wrongheaded as I
learned more about my topic. My greatest debt is to Paisley Livingston,
who believed in me when I myself did not.
Acknowledgments
xv
1
New Danish Cinema: A Small Nations Path
to Globalization
Danish cinema is not what it used to be. In the 1970s and 80s this small
national cinema produced about ten feature lms a year, and every now
and again one of them would register as successful according to some
criterion of success, be it box of ce sales, festival visibility, or favorable
New Danish Cinema
2
the core of Danish lm scholarship, but this eld was to a signi cant extent
a national ghetto, attracting attention only from the rare international
scholar with a vested interest in Scandinavian studies.
Things have changed. The Danish Film Institute (DFI) now funds some
twenty- ve feature lms a year, and these lms are not only widely viewed
within the communicative space of the nation but also intensely debated in
New Danish Cinema
3
Palm Springs International Film Festival
: Sren Kragh- Jacobsens English-
language
Skagerrak
(2003), Lone Scher gs English- language
Wilbur Wants
to Kill Himself
Wilbur begr selvmord,
2002) and Christoffer Boes
Reconstruction
Sundance
: Lars von Triers English- language
Dogville
(2003) and the same
directors collaborative experiment with Jrgen Leth,
The Five Obstructions
De fem benspnd,
2003).
Scandinavian Film Festival
in Los Angeles: Anders Thomas Jensens
The Green
Butchers
De grnne slagtere,
2003) and
Reconstruction
Saratosa Film Fesvital
Skagerrak, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself,
and Jannik Johansens
Rembrandt
(2003).
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
: Lars von Triers
Dogville
as festival
centrepiece. (DFI 2004b)
Among the various directors identi
ed above, Lars von Trier clearly stands
out as the driving force behind the growing interest in the New Danish
Cinema. In 2004 von Triers lms, from his early lm- school days to
Dogville,
toured major U.S. cinematheques during the month of March, when his
controversial lm involving an apparent indictment of U.S. foreign policy
was scheduled for release in the United States. Participating institutions
included the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York, the
American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, the Harvard Film Archive in
Boston, the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, and the Cinematheque
in Cleveland. The American Cinematheque in Los Angeles described von
Trier as follows in its program for the occasion: Acclaimed for his mastery
of unsettling melodramatic tension, raw character- driven emotion, and
bold visual style, von Trier has situated himself as a major force in con-
temporary cinema not only for his own lms, but also for the visionary
Dogme 95 manifesto (DFI 2004c). Von Triers work also gured cen-
trally in Torontos SuperDanish lm program (October 22November 4,
2004). Steve Gravestock, who has been following the New Danish Cinema
since its emergence, introduced this cinema to Canadian audiences in the
SuperDanish program notes: the oddest and most intriguing of beasts:
both avant- garde and traditional, commercially viable, yet artistically chal-
lenging (DFI 2004a).
The success of the New Danish Cinema is closely linked to the emer-
gence of a signi cant number of new stars and, one could argue, to a
newfound interest on the part of producers, distributors, and mediators
at the Danish Film Institute in developing a relatively robust star system
New Danish Cinema
4
with extensions into a transnational (European and Nordic) communica-
tive space. Drawing on the work of Francesco Alberoni, Richard Dyer
New Danish Cinema
5
toward Danish national cinema, won the Prix Technique at Cannes for
an English-
language lm noir entitled
Element of Crime
. As is so frequently
the case in the minor cinema or minor literature of small- nation contexts,
Lars von Triers breakthrough was not merely a personal one but an event
that resonated with signi cance for an entire industry and nation. Four
years later, Gabriel Axel made Danish lm history by winning the Oscar
for Best Foreign Film for
Babettes Feast (Babettes gstebud),
a heritage lm
based on a short story by the Danish writer Karen Blixen. Axel grew up in
France as the son of Danish expatriates, and he was by no means always
a welcome gure in the landscape of Danish lm. Indeed, his long and
highly successful career in France was in many ways occasioned by the
experience of a series of rejections and exclusions in Denmark. However
ambivalent opinion leaders and trendsetters within the Danish lm es-
tablishment might have been toward Axel and
Babettes Feast,
they could
not help but embrace a success that signi cantly enhanced the cultural
capital of Danish lm and thus promised to increase the ow of govern-
ment monies into the industry. In 1989 the Oscar for Best Foreign Film
went to Bille Augusts
Pelle the Conqueror (Pelle Erobreren),
another heritage
New Danish Cinema
6
2003), Christoffer Boe (
Reconstruction,
2003), Paprika Steen (
Aftermath
Lad
de sm born,
2003), Henrik Ruben Genz (
Someone Like Hodder
En som hod-
der,
2003), Lars von Trier (
Dogville,
2003), Charlotte Sachs Bostrup (
Lost
Generation
Familien Gregersen,
2004), Simon Staho (
Day and Night
Dag og nat,
2004), and Lotte Svendsen (
Whats Wrong with This Picture?
Tid til forandring,
2004). The impact of these younger gures, most of whom are in their
thirties or early forties, has been reinforced by the resurgence of veteran
lmmakers such as Sren Kragh- Jacobsen (
Mifune
Mifunes sidste sang,
1999)
and, more recently (as a result of his collaboration with Lars von Trier in
the psychologically and artistically intriguing experiment known as
The
Five Obstructions
), Jrgen Leth. The term
New Danish Cinema
thus denotes
a success that marks a break with earlier, somewhat moribund periods of
cinematic production. There is no one founding document to which the
New Danish Cinema can be traced, unlike the New German Cinema,
which can be traced to the Oberhausen manifesto. But the New Danish
New Danish Cinema
7
posed by lmmaker Henning Carlsen and others, is designed to establish
a public space where cinephiles from all walks of life can debate lm with
a wide range of practitioners, with lmmakers, script writers, distributors,
policymakers, and scholars:
When we established the Film College, I was working under the as-
sumption that its purpose would be to create the basis for a better, more
informed audience for lm. People who attended the College were to
become better lm spectators, and I do think that this is actually one of
the roles that it plays today. The students are made aware of a lot of dif-
ferent things that ordinary spectators simply dont think about. (Henning
Carlsen, in Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 45)
Unlike the longer courses of study at the Film College, the week- long
summer courses on contemporary Danish cinema have become an alter-
native to a more hedonistic, and arguably more vacuous, approach to the
summer vacation.
The sense of legitimacy and promise that surrounds institutions such
as the National Film School or European Film College is, I would argue,
part of what I would like to call a
cinematic turn
in Denmark. The gravi-
tation toward lm is further re ected in the striking reversal of trends
bespeaking an earlier marginalization of certain forms of spectatorship
that have been de nitive of lm culture since its inception. Spontaneous
interest in lm, combined with consolidated efforts at the level of the
DFI and in the private sector, has allowed the modernization and reopen-
ing of local cinemas that were previously forced to close their doors.
While previously defunct cinemas are being revived, new, fully digitalized
cinemas are being constructed in strategic sites throughout the country.
What follows is a revealing excerpt from the latest DFI development plan
(20032006):
The Danish cinema milieu has witnessed a revival in recent years. New
cinemas are being built, and initiatives to stabilize existing local cinemas
have been successful. DFI has increased support for modernization and
renovation by about 400%, approximately 9 million kroner over the past
three years, which in turn has released private and regional investments of
about 90 million kroner. This can only be interpreted as a sign of health
and as an indicator of cinemas signi cance as a cultural factor. The de-
velopment plan continues to prioritize the small cinemas, which are to be
attractive and technologically up- to- date so as to be able to function as
important sites of cultural effervescence. (DFI 2002b)
New Danish Cinema
8
Signi cant state support is being channeled into reviving local cinemas,
and the momentum currently enjoyed by the New Danish Cinema has led
to the assumption that the investment can be justi ed in the long run in
economic as well as cultural terms.
Another clear sign of lm cultures transformation in Denmark is the
proliferation of production companies over the past ten years or so. The
older companies, such as Nordisk Film (established by Ole Olsen in 1906),
Asa Film Production (founded by Lau Lauritzen in 1936), and Per Holst
New Danish Cinema
9
conceptions of globalization or cinematic globalization on a Hollywood
model. In the above I have provided some titles, dates, names, and sug-
gestive indicators of change, all of which serve as a loose cultural map
and temporal framework for the discussion. Before going on to look more
closely at some of the key terms on which my analysis rests terms such
as
small nation
and
globalization
a more systematic outline of some crucial
initiatives is necessary. Some of the relevant developments effectively con-
New Danish Cinema
10
to promote knowledge about, research on, and the communication of
ndings about lm and lm history, and to ensure that the mediation
occurs through targeted audience activities and makes use of the most
up- to- date technologies;
to ensure the preservation and restoration of lms, stills, posters and
other archival material about Danish and international lm history and
lm culture;
to strengthen the Film Institutes and Cinematheques role as sites of
dynamic inspiration in the Danish lm milieu through a comprehensive
set of alternative activities and cinematic experiences, as well as readily
available information aimed at a broad audience;
to contribute to the creation and strengthening of regional initiatives
that will bene t audiences and Danish lm in all parts of the country
in collaboration with governmental authorities and the private sector.
(DFI 2002b)
The New Danish Cinema emerges, then, within the context of a
com-
prehensive vision
for lm and lm culture in Denmark, a vision that has been
consistently maintained
over a number of years and implemented to a signi -
cant degree. Judicious selection of key administrators Camre, but also
the rst chairman of the DFI board, the lm scholar Ib Bondebjerg is
no doubt a crucial factor here. The importance of consistency cannot be
overestimated, a lesson that is quickly learned if one works, as I currently
New Danish Cinema
11
hensive lm culture linked to public spaces that are designed to further
inclusive debate, life- long learning, and creativity. The Danish Film In-
stitute is housed in the Film House, which is in one of the choicest areas
of Copenhagen. In this integrated environment, the spaces of work exist
alongside sites dedicated to a meaningful and pleasurable engagement
with lm as text and as medium as well as with various practitioners. With
its bookstore, caf, exhibition hall, cinemas, videotheque, workshops, and
ongoing lecture series involving, for example, policymakers, lmmakers,
and scholars willing to function as public intellectuals, the Film House in
New Danish Cinema
12
deeper signi cance quickly becomes apparent if one reads it alongside
pronouncements by gures such as Mogens Rukov, long- term teacher at
the school and mentor and friend to Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von
Trier, among others. In Jesper Jargils documentary about Vinterberg and
von Triers Dogma project (
The Puri ed
De lutrede,
2002), Rukov condemns
the vacuity of all forms of standardized storytelling and foregrounds
the urgency of creating frameworks and spaces within which alternative
approaches can thrive. Underwriting this condemnation is, of course, a
clear position on the limitations of Hollyood and its globalizing efforts
and effects. The school, in short, provides professional training in the
craft and trade of lm, an institutional culture that fosters philosophically
and politically minded debates about cinema within comparative cultural
perspectives, and an environment resulting in strong social bonds that
are translating into robust national, but also increasingly transnational,
Nordic networks.
Having highlighted the signi cance of two state institutions, their goals,
and their workings, I would like to turn now to some state policies that are
part of the causal history of the New Danish Cinemas emergence.
Denationalizing National Cinema: The Canny State
When Lars von Trier made his rst feature lm, the award winning,
English- language lm noir
Element of Crime,
mentioned above, his lm be-
came the object of heated controversy, initially within the old Danish
Film Institute and subsequently in Parliament. The problem was that the
lm, which was drawing highly desirable attention to Danish lm within a
larger cultural arena, failed to meet the criteria for classi cation as Danish
lm and thus did not qualify for DFI- administered state funding. The
1982 Film Act, which was the operative framework at the time of
Element
of Crime
s production and release, speci ed that the Danish language and
Danish nationals must be used in the production process for a lm to
qualify as Danish. Von Triers willingness to challenge the law and his
ability to defend the rationale motivating this provocative gesture helped
to bring about the articulation of a new lm act in 1989. The result was a
canny new disjunctive de nition of Danish cinema that essentially untied
the hands of those in charge of adjudicating the distribution of state mon-
ies to lm. A lm now counts as Danish if a Danish production company
is primarily responsible for the lms production and if, in addition, the
lm is in Danish
if it is deemed to be innovative and to contribute,
in ways that are in no way spelled out, to lm art and lm culture. The
New Danish Cinema
13
intention behind this disjunctive formulation was clearly to remove an
New Danish Cinema
14
directed by Per Pallesen and produced by Henrik Danstrup in 1993, is a
good example). So great was the skepticism prompted by these rst 50/50
lms that at one point there seemed to be an emerging will to scrap the
policy as an unsuccessful attempt to deal with an important problem. Yet
the policy was retained and effectively helped to carve out a zone of free-
dom where directors who would become key players in the New Danish
Cinema could depart from the convergent practices and conventions of
national lmmaking traditions. A crucial lm in this connection is Ole
Bornedals
Nightwatch,
a highly successful thriller, which he subsequently
remade for Miramax (
Nightwatch,
1998), with Nick Nolte in the role of
psychopathic killer. As Bornedal himself remarks,
Nightwatch
essentially
legitimated the use of Hollywood- derived genre formulas in a Danish or
even a European context: It pursued certain entertainment values almost
shamelessly. I dont think the lm is a great work of art, but it did help
to legitimate the idea that even European lm art can make good use of
generic stories (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 234). Another important
title here is Nicolas Winding Refns breakthrough lm
Pusher,
which, as
we shall see, is another clear instance of glocalization and thus of the
denationalizing of a small nations cinema (to positive effect). Susanne
Biers
The One and Only
Den eneste ene,
1999), which sold over eight hun-
New Danish Cinema
15
clubs nds further expression in lm policy. The past decade has seen
the implementation of a number of initiatives designed to set up what
might be called
zones of limited risk,
the idea behind them being essentially
twofold: young novice lmmakers should be given every opportunity to
prove their promise; and the risk involved in allowing novices to perfect
their skills and re ne their artistic vision constitutes a legitimate gamble
New Danish Cinema
16
Film Culture and National Identity: The Ludic State
Toward the end of the millennium and in the wake of major cinematic
breakthroughs (such as Vinterbergs
The Celebration
), politicians and policy-
makers began to speak of Denmark as a nation of culture
(kulturnation).
The implicit idea seemed to be that nations can seek recognition beyond
New Danish Cinema
17
There is considerable talent to be found in the new generations of lm
people. These people come from both the Film School and the creative
lm milieu more generally, and they are simply boiling over with energy
and with the desire to show just how innovative and visionary Danish c-
tion, be it lm or TV, can be. The initiative is to support and develop the
best of the new, and to carve out a breathing space for people who have
already established themselves in lm, and who have the ambition to ex-
periment with completely new forms of expression. The ambitions have to
be powerful, for the vision here is to continue the positive development
that has given Danish ction . . . such a marked lift in quality in recent
years. (DFI 2003)
The Talent Development Program involves collaboration among the DFI
New Danish Cinema
18
an emphasis on lm as art and cultural expression and others insisting on
New Danish Cinema
19
in Avedre (a suburb of Copenhagen) into a lm town. The Film Town
was inaugurated, in characteristic Zentropa style, with a manifesto- like
statement entitled Project Open Film Town. The bold pronouncements
about lms potential and future direction, coupled with the insistence on
the mediums democratization, bring to mind aspects of Walter Benjamins
much earlier Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction ([1935]
1985). Von Trier speaks of the need to lift the veils of obscurantist talk
that surround lm in an elitist and exclusionary lm culture, of processes
of democratization made possible by recent technological developments,
and of the transformative potential that a widely accessible institutional site
for learning about lm (in the form, for example, of master classes) might
entail. Project Open Film Town is a clear discursive manifestation of von
Triers new self- understanding as a kind of avuncular enabler and instigator
of projects with an especially collectivist dimension. At this point the Film
Town functions as a site of emergent creativity, providing a home to ap-
proximately twenty lm companies (including Zentropa and Nimbus Film).
Somewhat in line with the vision initially outlined in Project Open Film
Town, Zentropa Backstage offers tourists, lm buffs, corporations, and
other institutions various points of entry to the world of lm. Tours, hands-
on simulations (involving acting, stunts, and special effects), and privileged
induction into a particular lm project can all be arranged. Participants in
the Film Towns various activities can be housed in Belgningen, an on- site
youth hostel with various types of accommodations.
The role played by Zentropa and its Film Town in galvanizing the
Danish lm industry has led to yet another Film Town initiative, this one
in the provincial town of rhus in Jutland. Karen Rais- Nordentoft and
Sren Poulsen (2003) describe the goals of this new site as follows: Film
Town rhus is driven by the vision of making rhus into a center for a
focused yet widely differentiated attempt to build up a robust lm pro-
New Danish Cinema
20
especially the town of Odense a magnet for lm- related activities (Ravn
2004a). FilmFyn is a collaborative venture between the regional govern-
ment and the private sector, the idea being to draw production activities
to Funen by promising producers nancial support totaling up to 50 per-
cent of what they invest in the region during the production process.
Here, too, lm presents itself as a potential engine of both economic and
cultural renewal.
Reference was made above (in connection with the Greenhouse Ini-
tiative) to young lm people with a proven ability to work in congenial
teams. This idea of teamwork resonates with the kind of collectivism
that von Trier has put on the agenda by forging sites of synergy (the
Film Town), by ingeniously instigating a now globalized lm movement
(Dogma 95), and by regularly engaging in high- pro le collaborative
projects with a precise experimental intent (e.g.,
The Five Obstructions
). We
shall have the occasion in the next chapter to examine the collectivist
dimensions of the Dogma movement in some detail. Let me at this stage,
then, focus on von Triers most recent collaborative undertaking,
The Five
Obstructions,
in order to tease out some of the deeper cultural implications
of what seems at this point to be a widespread preference for collectivism.
The lm, we might note in passing, is the of cial Danish entry in the cate-
gory of Best Foreign Language Film at the 2005 Academy Awards.
The Five Obstructions
(2003), which was produced by Zentropa Real
(among others), nds its starting point in an e- mail invitation addressed
to Jrgen Leth by the much younger Lars von Trier. Von Triers message
invites his colleague to participate in an experiment that would involve
Leths remaking his ten- minute lm entitled
The Perfect Human
Det perfekte
menneske,
1967) according to dicta obstructive rules laid down by von
Trier.
The Five Obstructions
comprises images from
The Perfect Human,
foot-
age documenting interaction between von Trier and Leth and the making
of the remakes, and shots from the remakes themselves. Four of these are
remakes by Leth following speci cally articulated obstructive rules, and
one is a remake by von Trier, to which Leth is required to lend his name as
well as his voice in a voice-
over commentary composed by von Trier. The
experiment is discursively framed, not only by the initial e- mail invitation
and its acceptance, but by two manifestos written by the lmmakers in
connection with the project. Referred to as a kind of documentary poet-
ics, von Triers manifesto hinges on the idea that lmmakers must learn
to defocus, while Leths turns on concepts of ow and time.
Of the ve Obstruction lms, the second strikes me as the clearest il-
lustration of the point of von Triers challenge to his former teacher and
New Danish Cinema
21
mentor. Having rst sent Leth to Cuba, von Trier ordains that Obstruction
#2 is to be shot in the most miserable place on earth. A further rule, how-
ever, proscribes the explicit representation of this misery. The point, von
New Danish Cinema
22
Von Triers response to Leths Obstruction #2 is to point out that the
use of the transparent screen constitutes a clear violation of one of the
speci ed constraints and to insist that Leth return to Mumbai in order
Filmmaker Jrgen Leth in Obstruction #2, shot in Kamathipura, in Mumbai.
New Danish Cinema
23
dealing with here is a preference not simply for collectivism and its social
New Danish Cinema
24
Key Concepts: Small Nation and Globalization
Small Nation, Global Cinema
is an attempt to understand the nature and dy-
namics of globalization from the perspective of small nations. To suggest
that globalization needs to be understood in relation to speci c contexts
and institutional histories is to begin to disclose one of the central prem-
ises of this study. And this is the conviction that, while at an early stage in
globalization studies it was useful to chart a number of general tendencies
that might be broadly characteristic of globalization, what is needed at
this juncture is a series of case studies that attempt to spell out the work-
ings of globalization in particular contexts. The call for a more particular-
New Danish Cinema
25
ways a good example of the theorizing in question. What we have here
is the compelling beginning of an analysis that can be completed only
through more detailed case studies that show how local conditions resist
New Danish Cinema
26
New Danish Cinema
27
rationalities, and to the priorities and putative entitlements of the United
States itself can become the engine for alternative conceptions while
agents in speci c contexts mobilize the institutional resources of a local
situation and effectively yoke them to some of the salient features of a
globalized world.
Some de nition of small nation is clearly called for at this point,
but before I go on to gloss this key term, let me rst speak to a possible
objection that queries the very gravitation toward the vocabulary of
nationhood. A recurrent claim these days is that the era of the nation-
state has drawn to a close. Citizenship studies, for example, increasingly
emphasize the ways in which the ow of peoples in a globalized world
undermines the hyphenated reality that was the nation- state, as nation
and state become separate rather than largely, or ideally, coincident
phenomena (Soysal 1994; Kastoryano 2001). The theme of the nation-
states decline gures centrally in globalization studies and is a central
premise in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negris analysis of what they call
empire, a
decentered
and
deterritorializing
apparatus of rule that progres-
sively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding
frontiers (2000, xii). The speci city of the current world order, in Hardt
and Negris view, has to do with a radical weakening of nation- states as
vehicles of power and will: No nation- state can today form the center
of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over. No nation will be world
leader in the way modern European nations were (xii). Yet, it is important
to note that many voices are urging a less dramatic perspective on the
nation- state, one that focuses on persistence through mutation rather
than disappearance or decline. John Hall and Charles Lindholms
Is America
Breaking Apart?
(1999) is one among several compelling interventions
along these lines.
The more moderate approach that looks for continuities along with
transformations, for what David Leiwei Li calls the changing nature of
the nation- state (2004, 1), strikes me as more empirically reliable than
any approach that effectively rules out the nation- state as a legitimate
unit of analysis. Nation- states may not have the autonomies or ef cacities
they once had, but the fact remains that many key institutional frame-
works and policy directives nd expression at the nation- state level, even
when they involve an address to transnational, international, or global
realities. Ulf Hedetofts discussion (forthcoming) of the immigration
policies of the right- of- center Danish government led by Prime Minister
Anders Fogh Rasmussen is suggestive in this connection. Hedetoft focuses
on the so- called Government White Paper on Visions and Strategies
New Danish Cinema
28
for Better Integration, a document released in June 2003 that attempts to
make good on claims made during the one- issue 2001 election campaign
New Danish Cinema
29
the boundaries of an initial nation- state framework as the phenomena of
transnational cultural circulation, transnational institution building, and
a related movement of persons in a signi cantly transnationalized space
begin to emerge as the effects of an initial neoliberal globalization and as
indices of its transformation into alternative globalizations.
Having spelled out some basic assumptions related to the use of the
term
globalization
in the present context, let me turn now to the question
of how I intend to use the term
small nation
. A useful starting point in this
connection is Miroslav Hrochs classic work,
The Social Preconditions of
National Revival in Europe,
and the various debates to which this study has
given rise over the years. Hrochs aim, as Ernest Gellner points out in a
useful commentary on the Czech scholars proposals, is to understand
the nature of nationalist sentiments and activities in small nations not
already endowed with, so to speak, their own and distinctive political
roof (Gellner 1996, 135). Whereas, in Hrochs scheme of things, large
nations were ruled in the past by co- nationals belonging to a privileged
class, small nations were at some point subjected to foreign rule. Thus,
says Hroch, We only designate as small nations those which were in sub-
jection to a ruling nation for such a long period that the relation of sub-
jection took on a structural character for both parties (1985, 9). Hroch
quite rightly assumes that the presence or absence of an indigenous ruling
class affects the nature of nationalist endeavors. Inasmuch as nations gov-
erned by co- nationals rebelled against a ruling class, their actions should,
according to Hroch, be considered part of a more general, bourgeois
revolution. The situation is quite different in the case of small nations, for
New Danish Cinema
30
Hrochs decision to use the presence or absence of foreign rule as a
means of classifying nations is not without merit, for in many cases the
relevant forms of domination do indeed acquire a structural character.
While it is crucial to recognize the effects of foreign domination, it is
equally important to acknowledge that at least some of the traits attrib-
uted to small nations may be generated by forms of marginalization in-
volving precisely the numerical senses of large and small that Gellner
evokes in the passage cited above. If we take seriously the
effects
of some
of the numerical factors that Hroch sets aside, then it becomes apparent
that
small
is a term that accurately describes nations other than those with
a history of foreign rule.
The size of a countrys population may be anything but negligible,
particularly if the native language of its people functions almost uniquely
as a mother tongue and only rarely as a second, third, or fourth language
spoken by foreign nationals. The existence, for example, of linguistic
obstacles to a widespread, transnational dissemination of certain cultural
products may well entail invidious forms of marginalization. There is a
link between smallness understood not merely in terms of institution-
alized domination but also in terms of the kinds of numerical factors to
which Gellner points and what I have referred to elsewhere as the pa-
thos of small nationhood (Hjort 1993), a cluster of debilitating and trou-
bling insecurities prompted by a demeaning stance on the part of more
powerful players in the game of culture, by indifference and the sense
of invisibility that it entails. Hroch, in my view, does not take seriously
enough the symbolic or cultural marginalization linked to limited linguis-
tic and geographic reach and modest population size. The effects, for ex-
ample, of cultural marginalization due to dependence on or commitment
to a minor tongue may not be as far-
reaching as those of unambiguous
political domination, but they too can take on a structural character.
Much is to be gained, it seems to me, from a more inclusive concept
of small nationhood that makes room for both the intuitions of Hroch
and the critical comments of Gellner. A signi cantly expanded scope for
the notion has the effect of making it relevant to a much wider range of
countries, which in turn allows for interesting comparative work spanning
postcolonial nations such as Kenya and Australia, postcolonial city states
such as Hong Kong, and the corporatist European States (Sweden,
New Danish Cinema
31
any quick conclusions based on numerical factors, urging instead close
attention to the cultural and psychological effects of power and its asym-
metrical distribution.
Small
points at least as much to the dynamics of rec-
ognition, indifference, and participation, nationally and transnationally,
as it does to various forms of
mathesis
or quanti cation. What the concept
of small nation acknowledges is that the game of culture, be it lm culture
or some other form of cultural articulation, is more accessible to some
groups than others, more hospitable to some aspirations than others, and,
in the long run a process involving winners and losers.
Disciplines such as political science, sociology, and international re-
lations have produced a signi cant body of work on small nations and
states, and the discussion continues to evolve in fruitful ways in light of
the changing dynamics of globalization (see Hedetoft, forthcoming). In
lm studies, which provide the disciplinary context of the present study,
the literature in question and the intuitions on which it draws have not
had the impact that more vibrant cross- disciplinary exchanges would
likely have produced. There are a few noteworthy exceptions, and I am
thinking here of some of the important research that has been done in
the area of Australian lm and media studies and Australian cultural stud-
ies, especially that of Tom ORegan (1996) and Meaghan Morris (1988).
ORegans spectrum of national cinemas clearly references both com-
parative quantitative data and asymmetries of recognition, access, and
visibility:
I consider Australian cinema as a type of national cinema. Its cinema mar-
ket closely resembles that of Canada, the UK and the USA in its English
language mainstream, and its foreign language (art house) and ethnic
cinemas in the minor stream. Like the Dutch and Swedish cinemas, it is a
medium- sized cinema. Like the English- Canadian cinema, it is a medium-
sized English- language cinema. And, like all small to medium- sized nation-
al cinemas, it is an antipodal cinema marked by unequal cultural exchange
due to the pre- eminent role played by imports. (56)
ORegan usefully emphasizes the ways in which Australian cinema negoti-
ates political and cultural weakness, foregrounding the role of cultural
transfers in what is to a signi cant extent an import culture (7). ORegans
appropriation of key concepts proposed by Yuri Lotman, especially the
Russian semioticians idea of ve stages of cultural transfer, marks a new
direction for the understanding of national cinema centered on concepts
of cultural circulation and
ow. It is not necessary here to outline Lotmans
ve stages in any detail or their speci c relevance, as demonstrated by
New Danish Cinema
32
ORegan, for the Australian case. Suf ce it to note that the stages range
from moments when cinematic imports are perceived as both Other and
superior to a nal stage when the receiving culture . . . changes into a
transmitting culture and issues forth a ood of texts directed to other,
peripheral areas of the semiosphere (Lotman 1990, 146, cited in ORegan
1996, 222). In many ways ORegans important study demonstrates, in de-
tail and in relation to lm culture, what Katzenstein earlier referred to as
the traditional paradox in international relations concerning the strength
of the weak (1985, 21).
To focus on small nationhood in relation to lm culture is, at some level,
to be concerned with issues of distributive justice in the sphere of culture.
In lm studies, scholars interested in political or ethical issues have con-
centrated intensely on postcolonial cinemas, in which critical intervention
has an urgency and political rationale that it cannot possibly have in the
context of the smaller European cinemas. The latters in evitable links to
New Danish Cinema
33
Brazil we never make the lms we dream of making; we make the lms we
make. We dont make the ideal lms; we make the
possible
lms. Its a
kind of style. (cited in Hjort and MacKenzie 2003, 22)
The constraints of the Dogma 95 manifesto are viewed here as self-
imposed in a Danish context and as structurally imposed in a Brazilian
context. Yet, as we shall see, a closer look at the Danish case reveals that
the ten rules of Dogma lmmaking are, in fact, a response to inequities
faced by most small lmmaking nations, including Brazil and Denmark.
What is interesting is that similar problems or constraints may prompt
quite different strategic deliberations about solutions. For in the Brazilian
instance, the choice is to make the
possible
lms, whereas in the Danish
case the decision is to legitimate such lms through a manifesto that is
designed to promote global visibility and circulation. What is more, even
in those cases where similarities of response can be noted, the results may
diverge radically. Austria, as Markus Reisenleitner remarks,
provides
34
Dogma 95: The Globalization of Denmarks
Response to Hollywood
Dogma 95
35
behalf of the Dogma lm collective, which also included Sren Kragh-
Jacobsen and Kristian Levring.
The rst Dogma lm,
The Celebration (Festen),
was released in 1998 and
attributed to the direction of Thomas Vinterberg. Since then von Trier,
Kragh- Jacobsen, and Levring have been identi ed, though not of cially
credited in any paratextual apparatus,
as the respective directors of
Dogma 2:
The Idiots
Idioterne,
1998), Dogma 3:
Mifune
Mifunes sidste sang,
1999), and Dogma 4:
The King Is Alive
(2000).
At this point, the term
Dogma
refers not only to the Danish collective and to the lms just mentioned
but also to a signi cant number of cinematic works by Danish and non-
Dogma 95
36
number of its contributors, most notably lm professors Torben Grodal
and Mark LeFanu. Yet, even those who prefer to nd cynicism in the
The doubting priest (Ann Eleonora Jrgensen, on the left) with the inmate with
spiritual gifts (Trine Dyrholm), in Annette K. Olesens Dogma lm and prison
drama,
In Your Hands (Forbrydelser).
Photograph by Per Arnesen.
Dogma 95
37
Dogma 95
38
In Elsters re ned account, the original fourth category of self-
imposed constraints divides into constraints that are
invented
by the artist
and those that are
chosen
by the artist from among existing constraints.
The history of art abounds with examples of artists setting limits on their
own activities. In the 1992 discussion of self- imposed constraints, Elster,
not surprisingly, refers to Georges Perecs well- known decision to write
La disparition (A Void)
without once using the letter
but he also points to
certain genre conventions to the 4- 4- 3- 3 rhyming scheme, for example,
Dogma 95
39
music. Von Trier, on the other hand, decided to rule out the elaborate
lighting arrangements and camera movements in which he had invested
so heavily in earlier lms. The constraints, then, we can conclude, are at
once self- imposed and invented but by no means arbitrary, for the rules
re ect the lmmakers conception of what, in their minds, had been the
very basis, or mainstay, of their prior lmmaking practices. More impor-
tant, the practices that the lmmakers rule out have a dual aspect, for
they are not merely personally favored approaches to lmmaking but pre-
cisely the techniques that a certain increasingly dominant, cost- intensive
conception of lm narrative and lm aesthetics requires. In the case of
Dogma, the invented self- imposed constraints are indeed meant to stimu-
late creativity, but they are also intended to rede ne lm aesthetics in
such a way as to level the playing eld somehow. The point, more speci -
cally, is to create the conditions that enable citizens from small nations to
participate, or continue to participate, in the game of cinematic cultural
production. The rules of Dogma 95, it turns out, are
multiply motivated,
rather than arbitrary, choices.
In an exchange with the Swedish lmmaker and critic Stig Bjrkman,
Lars von Trier clearly suggests that Dogma 95 should be thought of as a
polemical response to the phenomenon of Hollywood globalization:
STIG BJRKMAN
So Dogma 95 didnt emerge as a protest against Danish
lm and lm production?
VON TRIER
No, I stopped protesting against Danish lm a long time
ago. If you want to articulate a protest, it has to be directed against some-
thing that has a certain kind of authority. And if you feel that something
lacks authority, then theres really no point in protesting against it. If
theres anything in the world of lm that has authority, its American lm,
because of the money it has at its disposal and its phenomenal dominance
on the world market. (Bjrkman 1998)
Dogma 95s alleged rescue action, which involves a somewhat cryptic
and hyperbolic critique of illusionism in favor of truth, makes sense in
the context of an increasingly globalized American lm industry. For the
point is not simply to reject mainstream lmmaking in an American vein
but to mount a genuine alternative to the ever- narrowing conception
of what constitutes viable or legitimate lmmaking in contexts where
Dogma 95
40
Dogma 95
41
amateurs; the re of the 1960s avant- garde is tempered by an earnest
practicality. (cited in MacKenzie 2000, 164)
Dogma 95
42
becomes a symbol in this instance for de ning features of the Danish na-
tion, for various forms of smallness.
Inasmuch as Dogma 95 is informed by a concept of small nations, it
presents itself as a national moment in the logic of globalism/localism
that globalization unleashes.
At the same time, Dogma 95 is anything
but a narrowly national or nationalist undertaking. Indeed, the manifesto
clearly situates Dogma 95 within an international art cinema tradition in
Dogma 95
43
itself been globalized since 1995, when the blueprint was rst made pub-
lic, Vinterbergs success at Cannes in 1998 having done much to imbue
the concept with a kind of accelerative force. Indeed, one might go so far
as to claim that Dogma 95 represents a promising alternative to the kinds
of globalization that neoliberal conceptions favor. Relevant in this respect
is Arjun Appadurais contrast between pernicious forms of globalization
and what he calls grassroots globalization:
A series of social forms has emerged to contest, interrogate, and reverse
these developments and to create forms of knowledge transfer and social
mobilization that proceed independently of the actions of corporate
capital and the nation- state system (and its international af liates and
guarantors). These social forms rely on strategies, visions, and horizons
for globalization on behalf of the poor that can be characterized as grass-
roots globalization or, put in a slightly different way, as globalization
from below. (2001, 3)
Dogma 95 emerges in the context of a small nation, is motivated by prob-
lems of access, and has been appropriated by agents with limited nancial
resources. It is worth noting, for example, that Shu Keis essay Save
Those Bad Movies (1999) and Ou Nings In the Name of the Indies
(1999) both foreground the potentially inclusionary implications of
Dogma 95s legitimation of digital video technology for aspiring lmmak-
ers in mainland China, where nancial constraints are severe. Inasmuch as
Dogma 95s global reach has been driven by opposition to runaway capi-
tal as well as by commitments to equality and inclusion, it is by no means
far- fetched to think of it in terms of Appadurais notion of grassroots glo-
balization. It is precisely to the role played by the imagination in social
life that we must look, claims Appaduari, if our aim is to nd evidence of
an emancipatory politics of globalization (2001, 6). Inasmuch as Dogma
95 represents an attempt both to stimulate creativity through constraint
and to re ect on some of the social and political implications of dominant
institutional arrangements in the world of cinema, the movement emerges
as centrally concerned with fueling a cinematic imagination as a goal in
and of itself but also as a means of generalizing access and of replacing in-
difference with recognition, a form of muted expression with something
resembling a genuine voice. What we have here are various elements al-
lowing Dogma 95 to qualify as a form of positive globalization with a
potentially emancipatory thrust.
To claim that the signi cance of the Dogma 95 phenomenon has to do
in part with the movements successful globalization is to invite questions
Dogma 95
44
about how the notion of success is to be understood in this case. Ulrich
Becks general proposal is suggestive in this regard: The
extent
of suc-
cessful globalization as well as of its
limits
may be posed anew in relation
Dogma 95
45
include: Warsaw Nordic Film Week (1998), New York Danish Wave (1999),
St. Petersburg EU Film Festival (2000), Singapore Danish Film Festival
(2001), Paris Danish Film Week (2002), Algiers EU Film Festival (2000),
Bucharest EU Film Festival (2000), Bangkok EU Film Festival (2000),
Harare EU Film Festival (2000), Manila EU Film Festival (2000), and
Beirut EU Film Festival (2000). Finally Dogma #1 featured in the pro-
gram for the Benin Constitution Day Celebration in 2000, an example of
inclusion in commemorative events that can, but need not, involve lm.
The festival circuit, we know, constitutes a privileged source of inspi-
of imitation. Evidence suggests that Dogmas festival presence in the fu-
ture will be a matter of informal appropriations of the Dogma concept as
well as certi ed works involving a full- blown adherence to the initial pro-
gram articulated in 1995. A brief discussion of the production history of
Leaving in Sorrow,
the rst feature lm by the Hong Kong independent lm-
maker Vincent Chui (a founding member of the Ying E Chi organization,
which aims to promote independent Hong Kong lm), helps to highlight
the role played by lm festivals in mediating cinematic concepts as well
as the emergence of Dogma as a vision permitting informal appropriation
and no doubt adaptation to local circumstances. On June 6, 2002, during
a Summer Institute panel devoted to Hong Kong cinema and the Dogma
movement at the University of Hong Kong, Vincent Chui described his
relationship to Dogma as having evolved through stages of skepticism,
conversion, trepidation, and nally con rmed conviction. Chui indicated
that his skepticism had to do primarily with the contempt that he, as a
lm school graduate, initially had for the use of digital video, an attitude
that the independent lmmaker Shu Kei regards as widespread in Hong
Kong lm milieus: A lot of people still have a prejudice against DV or
Dogma 95
46
turning point in the process, he remarked, came with the shooting of the
Starbucks caf scene in Beijing. With only two hours to shoot the scene,
Chui was left with little or no time for preparation, and the result, he ar-
gued, was an exhilarating sense of capturing what was happening rather
than making a lm, a point that echoes a theme developed by the Danish
Film School teacher and Dogma doctor Mogens Rukov, in Jargils docu-
mentary
The Puri ed
Chui, it turns out, never had any intention of seeking Dogma certi-
cation for
Leaving in Sorrow,
being content to associate his lm loosely
with the movement. Here we have an informal and even selective ap-
propriation of the Dogma framework, an approach that the established
Hong Kong lmmaker Ann Hui (
The Secret,
1979;
Boat People,
1982;
Song of
the Exile,
1990;
Summer Snow,
1995) identi ed as appealing during the panel
discussion evoked above. While Hui claimed to be deeply moved by the
democratic and egalitarian vision of Dogma 95, she indicated that in
her case an informal appropriation of insight was much to be preferred
over the rituals of vow taking, confessions, and certi cation. The spirit of
Dogma, it would appear, is increasingly seen as separable from the vow
that de nes the movements identity, at least in its early phases.
Dogma and Metaculture
Dogma 95, it would appear, is both a response to and an instance of glo-
balization. Indeed, we may remember Dogma 95 in the future not only
in connection with a handful of remarkable lms but also on account of
the particularly effective dynamics of ow and circulation that the basic
concept encourages. An important part of the genius of Dogma 95 has
to do with the way in which the manifesto helps to generate, in what is a
characteristically performative manner, the very publics toward which it
gestures in anticipation of a cumulative effect that somehow warrants the
designation movement.
Each and every Dogma lm is at once an in-
stantiation of the program and an interpretation of its vision and speci c
Dogma 95
47
rationale for production, the result being that these works provide their
own initial framework of interpretation and assessment. Inscribed, then,
within these cinematic works is an invitation to audiences to adopt a
Dogma 95
48
of lm focuses on the need to develop cinematic narratives that re ect (at
the level of story content, iconography, or setting) viewers prior cultural
Dogma 95
49
Dogma 95
50
THE PARODIES
The year in which Dogma 95 was rst announced, 1995, witnessed the
publication of a number of parodic countermanifestos, a genre that was
revived in 1999, following the release and success of the rst two Dogma
lms in 1998. The initial emphasis on parody is a clear re ection of the
general skepticism that surrounded the Dogma project in 1995. Images of
the panels response to von Trier in Paris (see Jargils
The Puri ed
) provide
clear evidence of boredom, irritation, mild hostility certainly nothing
resembling enthusiasm or conviction. While then- minister Jytte Hilden
and her Ministry of Culture may have been persuaded by the Dogma pro-
posal, the tendency in many quarters, both nationally and inter nationally,
was to think of it as a self- promoting hoax, one that was likely to back re
and become a bit of a joke. An example of the parodic discourse that
emerged around Dogma during the early phases of its reception is the
manifesto published in March 1995 by the three set designers Henning
Dogma 95
51
4 We want to receive telephone calls from sexy producers and directors
who understand us.
5 We want research money so that we can work in peace and quiet in
Latin America.
6 We want to hand in only one draft.
7 We want cigarettes and whiskey ad libido.
8 We want to be persuaded to tell our stories.
9 We want extra pay for happy endings.
10 We want raw sex anytime, anywhere. (Dovne 98 1998)
INTERARTISTIC EXTENSIONS
Once Dogma 95 began to attract positive attention prizes and distinc-
tions, funding and praise attempts were made to extend the concept to
Dogma 95
52
and expectations associated with the Royal Danish Theater, just as it fore-
grounded the need on the part of touring productions to work creatively
with the conditions available in provincial theaters (Grove 1998). Much
as in the original conception, simplicity and restraint are here part of an
oppositional discourse that aims to unsettle hierarchical relations between
center and periphery, between cultural regimes marked as prestigious and
forceful and those marked as insigni cant and impotent. In addition, it is
a matter of destabilizing sedimented hierarchies that favor cosmopolitan
outlooks and subjectivities over their provincial counterparts.
Whereas the parodic elaboration of Dogma 95 was con ned for the
most part to Denmark, many of the interartistic extensions of the concept
involve a transnational dimension that points to discursive circulations
within an international avant- garde art world. The Dogma Dance move-
ment, for example, was initiated in October 2000 by Litza Bixler, Deveril,
and Katrina McPherson, three British dance lmmakers who see rules as a
means of counteracting certain undesirable tendencies within the increas-
ingly commercial world of dance lm production. In conversation with
the American philosopher Nol Carroll, the founders of the movement
construed their manifestos rules as a response to the following problem:
Perhaps in an attempt to be taken seriously in the world of television
and lm, dance lms are losing the connection to dance. We see many
dance lms in which the focus is the design, the lighting or the telling of
a story through the conventions of narrative lm, with the dance content
becoming an afterthought (Banes and Carroll 2003, 176). The aim, in
short, is to foster the conditions under which dance lms can emerge as
a genuinely hybrid art form as opposed to a speci c mode- and content-
based genre of lmmaking. What is envisaged is a new genre that prop-
erly combines both disciplines by, for example, making the camera part
of the choreography (Banes and Carroll 2003, 180). The Dogma Dance
Dogma 95
53
equipment should not impede the dancers movement. What is more, this
rule becomes the basis for an entirely different criterion for certi cation,
Dogma 95
54
Finally, I acknowledge that innovative gameplay is not merely a desirable
attribute but a moral imperative. All other considerations are secondary.
Thus I make my solemn vow. Now I realize that, as with Hollywood and
Dogme 95, nobody at EA or Sony or Blizzard is going to pay the slightest
attention to Dogma 2001. This isnt a formula for commercial success, its
a challenge to think outside the box in our case, the standardized boxes
that are on the store shelves right now. But the rules are actually far less
draconian than the Dogme 95 rules for lm- makers, and it wouldnt be
that hard to follow them. I think it could do both us, and our customers, a
lot of good.
Although the precise sense in which this term
good
is being used here has
to be largely inferred from the rules, the manifestos opening sentence
does provide certain pointers: As a game designer I promise for the good
of my game, my industry, and my own creative soul to design according
to the following Dogma 2001 rules (207). The aim, it would appear, is to
Dogma 95
55
arguably provides. Indeed, in Jargils
The Puri ed,
Dogma 95
56
(3) Politicians should be honest. The concern, however, is not ultimately
with speci c rules but rather with a more general humanistic vision
centered on notions of authenticity and truth. Such are the workings of
public discourse that Lars von Trier, the very lmmaker who pointedly
vili ed humanistic lmmakers in earlier manifestos, becomes the spokes-
Dogma 95
57
Sllerd (where von Trier grew up and now lives). When queried about
the initial motivation for his lm, von Trier remarked that his mother, a
civil servant, had been responsible for setting up institutions for the dis-
abled and that Sllerd had categorically refused to cooperate.
The Idiots
then, allegedly nds its starting point in a very speci c set of prejudices
against disability.
The intensity of the psychological drama, however,
is generated not only by the discomfort that the characters spassing
provokes among the able- bodied and mostly af uent citizens with whom
they come into contact but also by the power dynamics within the group.
Stoffer, who is driven by a desire for control, gradually instigates a kind of
runaway process of one- upmanship requiring, for example, the characters
to spass in contexts where the personal risks to them are the greatest.
Although those who initially supported the idea of nding an inner au-
thenticity through spassing gradually become disaffected with Stoffers
vision, the value of the project is con rmed in the concluding moments
of the lm by a skeptics conversion to the idiocy project the young
woman in their midst called Karen (Bodil Jrgensen). Karen, who acci-
dentally joined the group when Stoffer grabbed her hand in a restaurant
and refused to let go, returns to her home, where she spasses in front of
horri ed family members. She is accompanied by fellow commune mem-
ber Susanne (Anne Louise Hassing), who, much like the viewer, learns
that Karen abandoned her family in a traumatized condition following
the death of her infant. Her husbands explosive anger at her spassing
(which takes the form of imitating a disabled persons inability to eat cake
Dogma 95
58
issues having to do with the realities and perceptions of disability, among
other things. In addition to its theatrical release in Britain,
The Idiots
was
shown on Channel 4, where it was explicitly linked to two documentary
programs that were framed as more or less direct commentaries on the
issues raised by the lm.
Forbidden Pleasures,
a Channel 4 documentary nar-
rated by Daniella Nardin and directed by Anne Parisio, focuses on the
sexual needs of individuals so disabled as to need help with every aspect
of their lives. The lm articulates these individuals self- understanding
as sexual beings and highlights the dif culties they face in satisfying
their erotic needs. The point is to show that while their disabilities may
represent obstacles to sexual ful llment, the real problem lies with the
various forms of institutionalized assistance they receive, all of which are
predicated on assumptions about disabled persons as nonsexual beings.
Programming comments connect von Triers ctional lm with a docu-
mentary that precisely aims to publicize issues that have been shrouded
in the veils of privacy to the point of virtual nonexistence, if existence is
held to involve a certain public acknowledgment, a certain degree of mu-
tual belief or shared awareness. The lm, then, is construed, or at the very
Dogma 95
59
from Downs syndrome. The main intent behind
Playing the Fool,
however,
is to capture responses of both the able and the disabled to von Triers
most systematic treatment of disability,
The Idiots
. The inter viewer records
a series of negative and positive reactions, with both kinds of responses
being articulated by interviewees with disabilities and by those without.
The journalist Penny Bould is shown to object to
The Idiots
on the grounds
that it provides fuel for misconceptions about the disabled. More speci -
cally, the lm allegedly suggests that there is a direct connection between
disability and socially obnoxious behavior. The lm critic Paul Darke, who
is shown seated in a wheelchair, adopts a rather different position. The
viewer hears some of Darkes introductory remarks about the lm, which
was screened at the Leamington Spa Film Festival in an attempt to gener-
ate public debate not only about disability but also about cultural diver-
sity and the pressure on outsiders or newcomers to conform to dominant
norms. Judith Stevenson, a key gure in the Council of Disabled People,
is shown to be supportive of von Triers provocative work. The lm, she
points out, is very good in spite of the bad taste it involves in many ways.
Dogma 95
60
means of collective puri cation, and a path toward inner authenticity.
Dogma 95
61
whatever issue a given group might wish to debate be it disability per
se or disability as a metaphor for outsider status is signi cantly easier to
generate.
The point is not simply to note that people are likely to have heard of
the Dogma concept and movement generally speaking. Their familiarity
with Dogma will take different forms and will be linked to quite different
instances of creative appropriation. Some will have heard about Dogma
via Dogma Dance, while others may have encountered the concept in
connection with a spin- off manifesto for computer game design. Dogmas
diffusion throughout various spaces of critical engagement thus creates a
Dogma 95
62
the particular nature of the
rules themselves
seems genuinely to support the
exploration of issues that are both current and at some level political. The
rules, it has been argued (Livingston 2003), target Hollywoods global-
izing practices but also its insistence on fantasy. Not surprisingly, then,
Dogma lmmakers typically understand themselves to be somehow re-
af rming a commitment to what Vincent Chui unabashedly calls reality
and real life. My aim is not to discuss the documentary style of Dogma 95
or the Dogma visions putative debts to earlier cinematic movements such
as cinma vrit. Instead I would like to focus on just one of the rules the
one specifying that sound and image must be recorded simultaneously in
an effort to show how this particular injunction allows Chui to transform
stories from real life into a form of public criticism.
Leaving in Sorrow
(2001) explores the vexed issue of Hong Kong
identities around the time of the June 4, 1997, commemoration of the
Tiananmen Square massacre (a month before the Handover) and approxi-
mately a year later, when Hong Kong people found themselves facing
the effects of the post- 1997 Asian economic slump (Kraicer 2001, 3).
The lm takes its title from a Saint Matthewbased sermon delivered by
Reverend Alex Lai (Tony Ho), whose point is that Hong Kong people
must learn to understand that the loss of material wealth need not, indeed
should not, inspire sadness.
Leaving in Sorrow
weaves together three nar-
rative strands centered on Pastor Lai and his materialistic wife, Ivy (Ivy
Ho), who envisages a future in New York; on the Hong Kong magazine
editor Chris (Crystal Lui) and her gradual acceptance of a younger
colleagues infatuation with her; and on Ray, a successful and seductive
young Hong Kong person who lives in San Francisco and arrives at new
insights into his identity and roots during a visit to his familys village
of origin on the mainland. The past as a source of self- knowledge is a
key theme, especially in the case of Chris, who, in powerful scenes shot
on location in Beijing, is shown coming to grips with her memories of
Tiananmen, which are inextricably intertwined with those of the lover
she lost when she, as a young journalism student, ed back to Hong Kong
the day after the massacre.
The centrality of history, memory, and identity is underscored by
Chuis interesting interpretation of the sound- image rule. The target of
this particular rule is wall- to- wall music, Hollywood style, as well as sub-
tler manipulations of viewers emotions through background music that
lacks a motivated source in the lms story world. Yet, music in lm is a
potent means of meaning- making, allowing lmmakers to de ne the emo-
tional tenor of a given situation or simply to give the narrative another
The journalist Chris (Crystal Lui, wearing glasses) and her admirer, Hong
(Shawn Yu Man-lok), in Vincent Chuis Dogma-inspired lm,
Leaving in Sorrow.
Dogma 95
64
dimension. In this case the interdiction on nondiegetic music does indeed
lead to genuine inventiveness, for Chui essentially constructs a quite dif-
ferent kind of score, one composed of the background noise generated
by radio and television news. Comprising excerpts from protest rallies,
denunciations of government of cials, [and] democratic speeches, this
noise is, in fact, a kind of mediatized record of HKs history of demo-
cratic resistance to 1997, that is, to the Handover (Kraicer 2001, 23).
Chui thus provides a powerful documentary reminder of the traumatic
events that led to the thematization of the issue of a Hong Kong identity,
the point being to incite further re ection on Hong Kongs direction
at a time when the government of the SAR (the Special Administrative
Region of the Peoples Republic of China) and especially its leader, Chief
Executive Tung Chee- Hwa, seem to be short on answers. Within a still-
Dogma 95
65
a global reach. In Dogma 95s existence as a globalized movement, we
nd clear evidence of an appealing alternative to neo liberal globaliza-
tion driven by market forces. This alternative globalization is fueled by
the dynamics of various kinds of counterpublicity, and its effect is a series
66
Participatory Filmmaking: Experiments across
the Filmmaker/Viewer Divide
Metaculture takes many forms, ranging from relatively banal phenomena
such as journalistic lm reviews to the kind of prescriptive document that
underwrites the Dogma movement. The account of Dogmas globaliza-
tion in the previous chapter rests on the assumption that metaculture
accelerates the circulation of the cultural elements to which it refers and
thus has a world- making dimension. As Greg Urban puts it: Social space
is recon gured, however incrementally or radically, by the motion associ-
ated with speci c . . . cultural objects (2001, 24). One such recon gura-
tion concerns the phenomenon of publics, for the result of Dogma 95s
Participatory Filmmaking
67
Winding Refn. The aim here is to explore the anticipated ef cacities of
Participatory Filmmaking
68
in some of its possible actualizations, on the presence of a mysterious
in a bank managers day planner, a
that is taken by this mans wife to
Participatory Filmmaking
69
TVDanmark 2 viewers could observe the directors at work in the central
control room. Viewers were intended to edit their own lm by cutting
from one character to another, that is, by zapping, or sur ng, among the
TV stations. In Denmark,
D- Day
was seen by 1,433,000 viewers a con-
siderable percentage of the adult population in a country where the total
number of inhabitants is under 6,000,000.
BBC Millennium also broad-
cast ve minutes of
D- Day
at 6:43 a.m. GMT.
D- Day
was originally sup-
posed to have been released theatrically shortly after the initial experiment
and following editing by Valdis Oskarsdottr, the much- praised editor of
Vinterbergs
The Celebration
(Dogma #1) and of Harmony Korines
Julien
Donkey- Boy
(Dogma #6). This nal stage of the project was signi cantly
delayed, however, apparently as a result of the Dogma directors sense that
their ambitious experiment had been a failure, an interesting failure, it is
Participatory Filmmaking
70
take Vinterbergs suggestion seriously and to see
D- Day
as a continued
exploration of the kinds of issues that Dogma 95 initially put on the agenda
for discussion.
Instructions to the Viewer
A key difference between
D- Day
and the kinds of lms that we are ac-
customed to seeing on our TV or local movie screens is that the formers
completion as a lm depended on active viewer participation.
D- Day
s
use of clear and explicit instructions to the viewer is thus anything but
surprising. Indeed,
D- Day
was introduced on each of the relevant chan-
nels by a uniform set of instructions and information about the basic plot.
A rst voice- over focused on the basic setup:
It is about four people, who meet at the turn of the century in order to
execute a common scheme. [Image: each actor/character in turn.] And
this is where you come into the picture. For if you have a remote control
you can edit your own lm. This is what you do. You can follow each of
these characters on their own channel: TV2, DR, TVDK, and TV3. That
is, you can follow one character on each channel. On 3+ you can see all
four images simultaneously, like this. [Image: four- way split.] On DR2
and TVDK2 you can follow the four directors. [Image: control room.]
Everything is broadcast simultaneously so that you can decide what you
wish to see and when. [Image: map.] One thing is certain: Nobody will
see the same lm. [Title.]
A second voice- over speci es what the nature of the common scheme is
and reveals a key principle of characterization:
D- Day
tracks four Danes who meet on the eve of the year 2000 in order
to commit a bank robbery. Each has a speci c motive for committing the
crime, and each speci c preparations to undertake. Using your remote
control, choose whom you wish to follow. Welcome to
D- Day
In addition, the following descriptions of the four main characters and a
key supporting character were available on the
D- Day
Web site and on
Text TV (DR, TV2, TVDanmark, and TV3):
Lise
is 35 years old and seems as if she has come straight out of a Pinter play.
Well-
off but an improbable partner in a big scheme on New Years Eve.
Niels- Henning
is a man. He is an explosives expert and an engineer. He has
a problem. He loses sight when he gets nervous.
Participatory Filmmaking
71
Boris
is always extremely well dressed and his hair is always impeccable.
Boris is a perfectionist and he hates incompetence. Boris works with com-
puters, and he is a bit too lavish. He always needs money.
Jrgen
Participatory Filmmaking
72
SYNOPSIS 2
Niels- Henning
walks swiftly toward a hotel where, it turns out, he is to ren-
dezvous with a contact who will provide him with a small bomb. En route,
he receives a call from his mother on his mobile phone and responds emo-
tionally when she informs him that he has forgotten to take the pills that
prevent him from experiencing sight problems when nervous. Once in
the bank, he manages to detonate the bomb after some hesitation about
Participatory Filmmaking
73
The Original Idea and Its Reception
Not surprisingly,
D- Day
generated considerable media attention when it
was rst announced at a press conference toward the end of August 1999.
While reporters and lm critics were attuned to the projects artistically
innovative dimensions, many of their remarks focused on sociological
and institutional issues. For example,
Berlingske Tidende
s lm critic, Ebbe
Iversen, provided a ne semiotic reading of the mise- en- scne of the
Participatory Filmmaking
74
characters actual actions and motivations would ultimately constitute at
most secondary themes, the primary or deeper theme being the nation-
state of Denmark at a particular moment in history at the turn of the
millennium. Robertss remarks on the documentary qualities of
D- Day
are
helpful in this connection:
D- Dag
was clearly intended to serve as a documentary record of events
in the national capital at the turn of the new millennium. Going further
than other Dogme lms in its application of the seventh rule of the Vow
of Chastity,
D- Dag
s ctional narrative takes place literally in the here and
now, not only in the real public spaces of central Copenhagen but also the
real time of its actual recording. . . . As the actors move through the citys
public spaces, for example, they do so among real people, who often
pause to stare quizzically at them and the camera operators. (2003, 163)
What is envisaged is not what I (Hjort 2000), following Billig (1995),
have called banal nationalism the use, without particular emphasis, of
Danish settings and the Danish language but rather the foregrounding
of elements that are constitutive of national identity in a work that strad-
dles the boundary between ction and non ction. In the case of
D- Day
there is a certain duality to the phenomenon of cinematic aboutness. As
a staged ction,
D- Day
is about a bank robbery that is executed, for di-
verging reasons, by an unlikely team of robbers. As a database of images
documenting downtown Copenhagen at the turn of the century,
D- Day
is about the very setting and worlds that location shooting captures.
D- Day
was further identi ed as an initiative capable of assuaging the
pathos of small nationhood. Niels Jrgen Langkilde, TV2s public rela-
tions of cer, compared
D- Day
to the stories of that icon of Danishness
Hans Christian Andersen, a gure evoked by the journalist for his ability
to produce narratives that successfully cross national borders and contrib-
ute to Denmarks fame abroad. Langkilde also linked
D- Day
to a concep-
tion of nationhood as involving common culture: We need shared stories
in a new millennium. Im rmly convinced well get a story that well all
be able to talk about. Since the brethren made much of the idea that no
two viewers would actually see the
same
lm, this sharing could not be a
matter of a large number of citizens focusing on a story in the sense of a
de nitively established plot line. What could be shared, of course, was
experience
of participating in this media event. What Langkildes utter-
ances show is the extent to which somewhat inchoate notions of national
Participatory Filmmaking
75
Participatory Filmmaking
76
gure centrally in a future shaped by new technologies. Interactivity
is now widely identi ed as the central aesthetic force of the new media
(Gigliotti 1997, 12324). Indeed, interactivity will in all likelihood be
a de ning feature of various emerging multichannel TV environments
shaped by multimedia services that signi cantly blur the boundaries
between lm, television, and computing (Roberts 2003, 166). Framed as
it was by explicit rules or instructions,
D- Day
foregrounded for viewers
the novelty of a certain kind of mass- media interactivity in which roles
normally kept separate begin to merge those of viewer and editor, for
example. Viewers were also focally aware of the likelihood of hundreds
of thousands of fellow citizens being similarly involved in expanding their
communicative repertoires. By virtue of its communicative speci cities
its celebration in advance as a project involving Danish directors, mon-
ies, and institutions and its broadcast in Danish on all the major Danish
TV channels
D-Day
was precisely a matter of foregrounding a spe-
ci c moral and linguistic group situated within a clearly de ned territory.
D- Day,
I want to suggest, was designed to foster an intense experience of
the social bond, in much the same way that a popular event, such as the
World Cup nal, does. If
D- Day
is a
Danmarks lm,
it is so not by virtue of
its ctional narrative content an unlikely bank robbery but by virtue
Participatory Filmmaking
77
In certain ways,
D- Day
emerges as a kind of radicalization of the
Dogma 95 project. Whereas the Dogma dicta specify that lms should
take place in the here and now and can involve no geographical or tem-
poral alienation,
D- Day
is quite literally a matter of the immediate now.
Similarly, whereas Dogma 95 evokes a collectivity in the form of a move-
ment but retains the classic distinction between lmmakers and viewers,
D- Day
goes one step further by aiming at a social effervescence and col-
lective awareness that blurs the boundaries between those who create and
those who receive. If we accept Charles Taylors (1989) view that, from
the eighteenth century onward, the gure of the artist becomes a vehicle
for some of the moral sources that shape quintessentially modern under-
standings of what it means to lead an authentic and meaningful life, then
D- Day
becomes a tantalizing project indeed. What is being proffered
here, precisely, is the experience of multiple, mutually reinforcing forms
of
active
participation: inclusion in a large- scale collective activity medi-
ated by a medium that normally encourages individual and somewhat
passive appropriations of narrative content; and, more important, partici-
pation, as co-
creator and decision maker, in the expressive world of lm.
The intended seductive appeal of
D- Day
was, I believe, linked in
Participatory Filmmaking
78
In the present context, what is interesting is the other aspect of the Dogma
95 manifesto that has received a good deal of critical attention, namely,
the critique of the French nouvelle vague and of the auteurist doctrines
to which it gave rise. The manifesto, commentators were quick to remark,
squares off against Franois Truffauts polemical piece entitled Une
certaine tendance du cinma franais, which was published in
Cahiers
du Cinma: Revue mensuelle du cinma et du tlcinma
in April 1951. Truffauts
in uential intervention took issue, we know, with a French tradition of
quality lmmaking involving adaptations of literary classics (especially by
Aurenche and Bost) and the rule of literary men whose biases toward the
written word were revealed in their consistent contempt for the potential
of lm. In contrast with this, Truffauts insistence on the audacities of
men of the cinema,
who were attuned somehow to the speci cities of cine-
matic expression ([1954] 1983, 234) would provide an important impetus
for the in uential
politique des auteurs,
for what Andrew Sarris would later
fatefully translate as auteur theory (Caughie 1981, 3567).
Early on in the Dogma manifesto we are told: In 1960 enough was
enough! The movie was dead and called for resurrection. The goal was
correct but the means were not! The new wave proved to be a ripple that
washed ashore and turned to muck. The failings of this anti- bourgeois
cinema are attributed directly to the bourgeois perception of art, on
which its theories were based. The auteur concept is explicitly castigated
as a form of bourgeois romanticism and designated as false from the very
Participatory Filmmaking
79
works result uniquely from the intentional efforts of speci c individuals:
those who occupy the social role of director and who have a distinctive vi-
sion and style of expression. Critics have been quick, however, to wonder
Participatory Filmmaking
80
The critical contrast established here between directors and produc-
ers points to the tension between artistic and product- oriented under-
standings of lm and clearly nds in favor of the former. A similar line
of reasoning is apparent in Thomas Vinterbergs insistence on the need
in a European context to resist an ongoing transformation of lm from
art form to industry product. This resistance, he claims, is a matter of
Europes maintaining the
individualism
and irrationality of its cinema
(Kelly 2000, 24; my emphasis). Von Trier dismisses outright the idea that
Dogma 95 involves a full- blown attack on auteurism. The latter doctrine,
he explains, is called into question only at the level of the formal require-
ment of
uniform
rule- following:
The uniform rules are our only protest against the auteur idea. Theres
something healthy about the idea of not crediting the directors, for its
the work that matters, not the man behind it. Otherwise theres not much
humility in the Dogme project. Specifying all those things that direc-
tors arent allowed to do is in itself a provocation, and the business of not
allowing the directors to be credited was like a punch in the face of all
directors. (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 221)
Here, it would appear, it is the cultural capital, the distinction in Pierre
Participatory Filmmaking
81
increased social and cultural self- consciousness (1995, 41). The level and
Participatory Filmmaking
82
case with the vocabularies of humanistic discourse,
meta ction
has been
used to refer to a wide range of phenomena, with some critics advocating
a more limited extension for the term and others defending the legitimacy
of a more inclusive one. It is, however, possible to extrapolate a very basic
common thread from the many otherwise diverging positions and uses. In
Meta ction,
a volume of more or less classic pieces edited by Mark Currie,
we are told that the contributors systematically converge on the view that
Participatory Filmmaking
83
veloped? or What is
in the (sub- ) code used?, or again How does
function in the (sub- ) code according to which the narrative can be read?
Each one of the commenting elements constitutes a metanarrative sign:
each one is a sign predicated on a narrative unit considered as an element
in the narrative code. (Prince 1995, 59)
Now, if we bring
D- Day
into the above contexts of argumentation,
we note the following:
D- Day
is indeed metacinematic if that term is
understood in a very general sense to involve works that somehow
express statements about their making.
D- Day
is precisely an elaborate
enactment through the use of the control room and the conspicuous
presence in the form of booms and camera operators of the paraphernalia
of lmmaking of the conditions of its own production. This statement
does not, however, become signi cant until viewers begin to engage in
certain interpretive and inferential processes that involve situating
D- Day
within the larger cultural context of especially mainstream lmmaking.
Participatory Filmmaking
84
no, for none of the ctional or documentary images provides the kind of
explicitly focused commentary on a speci c code, or convention, to use
a more contemporary vocabulary, that Prince envisages. The theory of
lmmaking or, as it turns out, of cinematic authorship that
D- Day
sup-
ports arises precisely as an emergent and inferential effect of multiple
images, not in the form of a precise moment of articulation embedded in
any single image or utterance. Part of the interest of the work is precisely
the swerve away from this kind of quasi- didactic and more literal- minded
Participatory Filmmaking
85
the tendency to attribute cinematic works to single authors, especially
directors, merely reveals lm studies continued methodological depen-
dence on inappropriate literary categories. Literary authorship and cine-
matic authorship, Gaut claims, are quite different phenomena and should
not be con ated. A central point made by Gaut is that a lms salient
properties in most cases derive from the contributions of actors, editors,
and cinematographers, who, by virtue of the very nature of their special-
ized skills, tend to enjoy a level of autonomy and control that warrants
attributions of coauthorship. Yet, as Gaut remarks, concepts of individual
cinematic authorship persist in the face of what should, in fact, count as
discon rming counterevidence, and this persistence must be explained
if new conceptions are to make any signi cant inroads into the terrain
of cinematic theory or folk understandings of cinematic authorship. In
Gauts view, signs of artistic collaboration in cinematic contexts are typi-
cally neutralized and trivialized as a result of three recurring strategies.
The restriction strategy (1997, 15556), which he discusses in connec-
tion with Peter Wollen and V. F. Perkins, is predicated on the idea that a
cinematic authors collaborators affect only the works non- artistic fea-
tures, those elements that are left over as mere noise once the lms fun-
damental structure and constitutive relations have been identi ed. Gauts
refutation of this general line of reasoning hinges on his discrediting the
idea that certain cinematic elements are inherently without artistic or
structural signi cance. On the contrary, claims Gaut, all elements are
potentially signi cant in precisely these ways. A rejoinder pointing out
that Wollen and Perkins should be read as emphasizing the elements that
actually
are
artistically or structurally signi cant in a given instance still
has to account for how a rather diverse range of relevant qualities can all
be traced to a single gure.
Anticipating another possible attempt to salvage individual concep-
tions of cinematic authorship, Gaut takes issue with the strategy of
suf cient control, a strategy that brings with it as many problems as it
resolves. Cinematic productions evident involvement of teamwork and
extensive collaboration has been trivialized in debates over cinematic
authorship by arguments to the effect that individual authors ultimately
control, at least to the requisite degree, the contributions made by others.
Gauts persuasive response to this suf cient control strategy is to point
out that the artistic effects of collaboration are much more important
in lm than in the . . . other arts typically referred to, namely, painting
and architecture (1997, 157). He discusses the particular case of acting in
some detail, and what emerges is a compelling case for seeing actors as the
Participatory Filmmaking
86
inevitable co- creators of cinematic works. Gaut admits that certain actors
have established screen personae that may well enter into a directors
decision to cast a given individual in a particular role. At the same time,
claims Gaut, actors are not inanimate objects with a xed meaning, to be
collaged by the director into his lm. They are performers, and the exact
manner in which they perform will escape directorial control (158). The
crumbling edi ce of individualistic models of cinematic authorship can
be salvaged, it appears, but in Gauts view only at the cost of accepting a
highly implausible reduction of skilled professionals with unique, special-
ized talents to mere executors of prior and centrally controlled concep-
tions. The more appealing solution, Gaut suggests, is to allow the collapse
to occur and to search in its wake for more appropriate conceptions that
accept, rather than deny, the fact of extensive and intensive collaboration
as well as the kinds of disagreements that can actually make a difference
in a works artistic qualities or structural features.
Proponents of what Gaut calls the construction strategy accept the
reality of multiple artists collaborating on a given work but assume that
appropriate modes of reception require viewers to postulate the existence
of a single author on the basis of the works features and what they imply
about a certain underlying creative vision. Gaut suggests that the con-
struction strategy has enjoyed a certain credibility because it appears to
repeat an already well- established move in literary studies to look for im-
plied authors. Gaut is no spokesperson for the concept of implied authors
in literary texts, but he does point out that the problems associated with
the idea of postulated gures in the case of literature are far less thorny
than they are in the context of cinema. Postulating a single implied author
for a given cinematic work involves matching skills with cinematic func-
Participatory Filmmaking
87
control, for example, may well need to be reintroduced (pace Gaut) if
coauthorship is to be more than an emergent effect of contributions rang-
ing from the purely trivial to the signi cant. Indeed, distinguishing what
counts as a meaningful contribution seems to require a concept of suf-
cient control.
D- Day
and
Monas World,
I contend, demonstrate each in
its own way why this is so.
D- Day
stages, or prompts us to envisage, three collectivist concep-
tions of cinematic authorship, each of which emphasizes a number of
quite different elements. The
emergentist
model foregrounds the group, the
absence of overarching individual control at the microlevel, and a certain
idea of equality. The
coauthorship
model envisages collaboration not only
in the context of production but also across the lmmaker/viewer divide.
In this case what is foregrounded is the sense of subjective empowerment
and pleasure that ideally accompany an active participatory role. Finally,
restricted collectivism
model that is suggested by the spectacle of the
Participatory Filmmaking
88
instructions and, more speci cally, to execute his vision of how an emo-
tionally charged slap could establish not only the reality but also the pre-
cise identity of the husbands mistress. This slap, which was envisaged by
one of the four directors but not executed by the actor in question, would
also have had the effect of xing the meaning of Lises gesture of return-
ing the day planners unopened. The slap would have made clear that Lise
understands her husband has been unfaithful and with whom, but that
she decides to accept the choice he imposes on her, which involves her
Participatory Filmmaking
89
expected the promise of coauthorship to function as a seductive device
capable of prompting and sustaining widespread public interest in the
project. That viewers in fact were disenchanted by
D- Day
by no means
Participatory Filmmaking
90
you zap to the third channel. If that doesnt seem interesting, you just try the
fourth channel. If the fourth channel turns out uninteresting as well, you can
go back to the rst channel. If you are out of luck and that turns out some-
what boring as well, you can just zap, zap, zap through all the channels. If
that doesnt make it any better, you can give up, turn off the television and go
to the cinema when the millennium project comes to a cinema near you.
Everybody knows how to zap when trying to nd something on your
thirty- something channels that you want to watch. You watch a sitcom
for ve minutes, MTV for three minutes,
Planet Earth
for two minutes, and
then seven minutes of a Danish lm from the sixties, then back to MTV
for a minute during commercials then half a minute of a Swedish drama,
and on to Norwegian television for a split second, before returning to the
Danish lm from the sixties. Nothing happens for a minute, so you zap to
Oprahs for four minutes, where a husband slept with his wifes girlfriend,
his wifes mother, his wifes youngest sister and the husband of the oldest
sister, then on to the weather forecast for the next ve days no hurri-
canes. Then you zap to
Murder She Wrote
just to see who is being killed for
two minutes and then zap zap Danish lm from the sixties zap
sitcom
zap MTV zap Oprahs and while zapping you get to
know who the killer was in
Murder She Wrote
. Its simple.
You will have different experiences all depending on how you
edit
your lm.
Oskarsdottr concludes, we see, by equating zapping with editing, and the
idea is seductive enough. This might be an opportune moment, however,
to note that all published accounts of viewers responses to
D- Day
stress
frustration, panic, discomfort, or simply rapid disinvestment. A few he-
roic lm critics compared the
D- Day
experience to the effects of quickly
consuming several liters of strong coffee, but even they had to admit that
the experiment could be characterized only as an interesting failure. The
negative responses have to do precisely with certain demands that were
Participatory Filmmaking
91
empowered rather than empowered by the
D- Day
experience. That sense
of disempowerment was further intensi ed by the knowledge that a nite
number of images existed and that one would be inclined to combine these
according to considered principles if granted the possibility of some kind
of perspicuous overview and a certain degree of genuine control. Notions
of intrinsically better and worse lms resulting from radically different
intentional editing practices were inevitably part of the viewers implicit
framework, and viewers understood all too well that the reduction of edit-
ing to zapping effectively effaced such distinctions. The random nature of
the process served only to underscore a loss of control, leaving the prom-
ise of coauthorship unful lled.
THE RESTRICTED COLLECTIVISM MODEL
One of the things that is interesting about the
D- Day
experiment is that
the model of cinematic authorship that a given viewer would have been
prompted to infer to a certain extent depends on the nature of the zap-
ping behavior in which that individual engaged. The emergentist view,
for example, would have been picked up on only by those viewers who
zapped back and forth among the different characters and who thus had
the occasion to experience the multiple ways in which the lmmaking
apparatus constantly intruded on the unfolding plot. Viewers who instead
preferred to concentrate on the images from the central control room
would have been likely to engage with a quite different conception of
cinematic authorship, one that is usefully referred to in terms of a restrict-
ed collectivism. Whereas emergentism foregrounds the contributions
of agents occupying a wide range of social roles, restricted collectivism
retains elements of the auteurist position. The images from the control
room, for example, constantly drew viewers attention to hierarchies
of prestige, control, and decision making, to a constant ow of signs
Participatory Filmmaking
92
the kind of authority that is traditionally reserved for a single individual
in auteurist conceptions. The spectacle of a restricted collectivism in
D- Day
Participatory Filmmaking
93
the blind, and hence stressful, game of interactivity by simply following
one of the main characters, the viewers attention is carefully directed
by Oskarsdottr and Ronaldsdottr toward the various characters, each
of whom is given more or less equal screen time on an alternating basis.
A principle of
relevance
further governs the inclusion of the shots, which
means that much of the dead space of the original viewings drops out
of the picture. Viewer participants in the initial experiment spent a con-
siderable amount of time watching shots of characters simply getting
themselves from A to B. Shots of banal locomotive activity of this kind
systematically violated the relatively tight connection between visual
salience and narrative information or emotive effect that most viewers
have been trained to expect. The de nitive text reasserts the notion
of relevance and thereby reafrms the idea of an inherent signi cance,
function, or motivated efcacity of the image. Interestingly, the de ni-
tive work also eliminates the documentary elements that were the meta-
cinematic by- products of shooting in real time. Gone are the images of
booms and cameramen, of earphones, and, most important, of directors
distance-
directing their particular actors. Shots that might somehow
disrupt the ction are carefully eliminated. Viewers of the millennial
broadcast had access, for example, to shots of passersby responding to the
actors and their accompanying crew during lming at the main station
in Copenhagen. Instead of merely blending into the background, these
individuals explicitly commented, in a spirited albeit succinct manner,
on the ongoing process of lming. The de nitive lm eliminates all such
A common thread underlying the various discussions throughout this
book is that the perennial problem of audience interest is particularly
acute in the context of what I have been calling small nations and minor
cinemas.
D- Day,
I have argued, can be understood as yet another ex-
periment by the Dogma brethren in that laboratory of publicity that
Participatory Filmmaking
94
aims to understand the dynamics of cultural circulation, interest, and
recognition from the perspective of the small- nation lmmaker. The
Participatory Filmmaking
95
of several decades drew public interest toward mainstream Hollywood
products and away from national or even Nordic productions; and devis-
ing ways of facilitating the international circulation of locally produced
lms, of somehow enhancing their travelability by means ranging from
a trans guration of values attached to the properly cinematic qualities of
Participatory Filmmaking
96
explored the integrative capacities of an imagined copresence based on a
bridging of the director/viewer divide and on a presumed multiplication
of identical actions through the adult citizenry. The appropriateness of
making reference here to the kinds of ritual frameworks with which the
famous anthropologist of religious sentiment was concerned becomes
clear once we consider the implications of the unique temporalities that are
a feature of the
D- Day
experiment. In his groundbreaking study entitled
The Imaginary Institution of Society,
the Greek- born French theorist Cornelius
Castoriadis establishes a contrast between two distinct temporalities:
chronological or mathematical time, a temporality of mere duplication
and stasis, and kairotic or signi cant time, the temporality of ritual cele-
bration as well as creativity, invention, and change. It is hard to imagine a
moment more heavily charged with social importance in a largely secular
Western context than the turn of a century.
D- Day,
then, was designed to
emerge on the crest of a wave of social anticipation that had been growing
slowly but steadily throughout 1999. The idea, it seems, was to use a social
imaginary centered around concepts of new beginnings and radical rup-
tures as a leveraging device for a socially imagined togetherness that was
supposed to make salient and con rm the interest of the very medium that
was producing the sense of deep horizontal solidarity:
D- Day
. In a sense
D- Day
phenomenon can be read like a recipe for publicity involving
a carefully balanced mixture of kairotic time, national sentiment, commu-
nicative novelty, metaculture, and democratically charged interactivity.
The number of viewers that
D- Day
drew clearly points to the potential
of this mixture. The disappointment and frustration of these same view-
ers have to do with the quality of one of the most important elements in
the mixture: the interactivity.
D- Day,
I am willing to contend, would have
Participatory Filmmaking
97
a highly tellable communicative novelty, then it is hardly surprising to
note that certain lmmakers are beginning to see interactivity as a po-
tent vehicle for certain publicity effects. Yet, it is important, once again,
Interest in interactivity in connection with lm is growing, not only among
younger Danish lmmakers, but also in the administrative milieu of the
Danish Film Institute. When the DFI submitted a report on its vision for
the years 20032006 to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his
recently elected government, it included a proposal for a new form of state
support for interactive works of visual art as well as for computer games.
Participatory Filmmaking
98
Elmer, are in order. A graduate of the Danish Film School, Jonas Elmer
had directed only the short diploma lm
Debut
(1995) when he became
a household name in Denmark with the feature lm
Lets Get Lost
(1997).
This lm was made under the auspices of New Fiction Film Denmark,
a special funding program that was introduced in 1994 in order to pro-
mote the short ction lm as an independent genre and a springboard
for novices to the world of high- cost and high- risk feature lmmaking.
The program, which is no longer operative, imposed certain temporal
and economic constraints that are consistent with the vision of the short
ction lms role within the larger context of a directors career. The
maximum nancial support for any given lm was three million kro-
ner; and the speci ed length, less than sixty minutes. With its total of
Participatory Filmmaking
99
a story being imagined by Thomas, a frustrated, would- be writer. The
break with realism is further evident in a citation to Busby Berkeleys mu-
sicals in a series of aerial shots of the young soccer enthusiasts performing
a kind of soccer ballet in sync with extradiegetic jazz rhythms.
Lets Get Lost
de ned Elmer as one of the most promising directors of
the New Danish Cinema, it also drew attention once more to the lms
producer, Per Holst, whose visionary ability to spot new talent has been
con rmed time and again, most notably by the successes of Nils Malmros
and Bille August.
Lets Get Lost
is interesting in yet another respect, which
has to do with the dynamics of a relative visibility and anonymity of ac-
tors at various stages in the history of Danish cinema. Danish cinema, as
the lmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn pointed out in conversation with
me, has for years done without anything resembling the kind of star
system that exists elsewhere in the world. Yet, as Refn remarked, this
began to change in the mid- 90s. Films such as Refns
Pusher
(1996) and
Elmers
Lets Get Lost
effectively established Kim Bodnia and Sidse Babett
Knudsen as the stars of a new self- con dent Danish cinema bent on re-
Participatory Filmmaking
100
Babett Knudsen as Mona; Thomas Bo Larsen, Bjarne Henriksen, and
Klaus Bondam (all of Dogma #1 fame) in the respective roles of sympa-
Participatory Filmmaking
101
a number of goals, ranging from communicative novelty to the democra-
tization of the cinematic medium. The performative effect of the pursuit
of these very goals, we imagine, was to have been a collective investment
and broad public interest in the nished work.
Visitors to the Web site encountered a general introduction that ex-
plained the directors intentions behind the experiment and the way in
which it was set up. The basic idea, we were told, was conceived by Jonas
Elmer and the Web designer Mik Thobo- Carlsen during a late- night con-
versation in the Copenhagen Jazzhouse and was in essence about chart-
Mona (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Thorbjrn (Thomas Bo Larsen) converse in
mock Russian in Jonas Elmers
Monas World (Monas verden).
Participatory Filmmaking
102
however peripherally and privately, in the aura of distinction that sur-
rounds the lmmakers role and work. Viewers contributions, we should
note, were to involve no element of public knowledge, for adopted lines
Participatory Filmmaking
103
World
experiment and
D- Day
(understood as an expression of the Dogma
Participatory Filmmaking
104
Elmers choice to frame
Monas World
as a game in which site visitors
are invited to participate, on the other hand, suggests the more direct
in uence of
D- Day
and the general in uence of Dogma.
D- Day,
we
know, was explicitly described as a game, more precisely as an extension
of that game called Dogma 95. At stake in this concept of gaming is not
only the phenomenon of rules and what they may or may not contribute
to the creative process but also the possibility of a genuinely ludic form
of pleasure. In conversation with me, Vinterberg and Kragh- Jacobsen
repeatedly emphasized the idea that Dogma 95 was, to a signi cant
degree, an attempt to rediscover the pleasures, indeed the passions, of
lmmaking. Jesper Jargil captures this same line of reasoning in his docu-
mentary on Dogma 95,
The Puri ed,
in which Kragh- Jacobsen, speaking to
von Trier, says: How can we regain the joy of lmmaking? Those were
your rst words to me. Kragh- Jacobsens draining experiences with the
complicated coproduction entitled
The Island on Bird Street
(1997) made
him particularly receptive to von Triers question, which basically spoke
to the exhausting and, in some minds, exhausted reality of large- scale,
Participatory Filmmaking
105
Participatory Filmmaking
106
Fortunately technological progress is on our side. In the old days you
could hide behind a mountain of expensive equipment, behind insur-
mountable nancial obstacles. In those days you could point out with a
certain amount of accuracy that the medium was such a costly affair that
it was not for the man in the street. Today progress is undermining this
argument. Soon everyone will be able to produce on cheap but fully pro-
fessional equipment.
Film is not something that can be kept locked away, and nor can the
Participatory Filmmaking
107
spective viewers were invited to contribute to
Monas World
in an ongoing
dialogue with the director.
During the various phases of the lms production, site visitors were
given a number of opportunities to provide Elmer and his crew with
input. During the preproduction phase, for example, the Web site is-
sued an invitation to propose interesting locations and to identify family
members and acquaintances who might be suitable as extras. During the
production phase, the focus shifted to the development of the characters
and their lines. The director would post a number of questions, to which
participants in the experimental game could then respond. Examples
are: Thorbjrn has been in prison for three months in connection with
a bad hustle what was it?; Mona has been given a decisive piece of
advice by an old lady what was it?; Mona is in a bar really late at night.
When she gets drunk, she talks a lot about . . . Not only could site visi-
tors make suggestions, they could also track the input provided by other
participants. One of my favorites (selected by Jonas Elmer as a top- ten
response) is the view of Monas conversational tendencies proposed by
someone identi ed as slagger: I think its completely far out. Its just not
sexy when a guy stands around changing diapers or talking about dia-
pers. Havent you noticed that all the guys are talking about diapers these
days? Things have bloody well gone too far. You cant even shop at Ftex
without coming across a bunch of euphoric fathers with four packages
of diapers in their carts. Theyre like zombies.
Internet users, nally,
were also drawn into the postproduction phase via competitions aimed at
developing a striking poster or at devising a memorable tagline or subtitle
for the lm. Elmer repeatedly con rmed that contributions were given
serious consideration, and he did, for example, use a site visitors sugges-
tion as the basis for Monas delightful exchange with Thorbjrn in mock
Russian during the concluding moments of the lm.
The Point of
Monas World
as Digital Database
What, nally, are we to make of Elmers project? How does it compare
Participatory Filmmaking
108
coauthorship has extraordinary seductive appeal. Although any promise
of genuine coauthorship remained as unful lled in the case of
Monas
World
as it did in the millennium project, the effects of the infelicities in
question were by no means similar. The minimal forms of participation
that
Monas World
made possible were meaningful in ways that
D- Day
s far
more radical gesture of inclusion ultimately could not be.
That coauthorship can function only as an asymptotic ideal in
Monas
World
becomes evident once we realize that Net users contributions were
limited to a very speci c subproblem within some larger area of the lms
production to the challenge of nding a particular kind of location, for
example, or the need to determine exactly what a given character might
say in such and such situation. As Gaut makes clear, acknowledging the
coauthored nature of many lms is a matter of recognizing the extent to
which they are the result of considered, carefully planned, and system-
atically executed actions by informed experts with signi cant degrees of
autonomy and control within speci c areas. A Net user who happened to
think of a winning line for a given character, and later had the pleasure
of hearing that very utterance pronounced by a character on the screen,
hardly quali es as a scriptwriter or for identi cation in any of the other
terms that pick out specialized roles within the world of lm. The idea
that Net users might gure as centrally as actors do within Elmers open-
ended, improvisatory approach is clearly unrealistic, for there remains a
signi cant divide here between those who are hired with very speci c
responsibilities over an extended period of time and those who are en-
couraged to provide precise input about discrete issues.
While Elmer may be said to have mobilized the seductive appeal of a
ction of coauthorship in
Monas World,
we must clearly look elsewhere
if we are to identify his more literal intentions with the project.
Monas
World,
it seems to me, involves the pursuit of quite a number of different
goals. The aim here, in conclusion, is by no means to enumerate them all
but to identify some of the more central and signi cant ones.
ENHANCED DIRECTORS KNOWLEDGE
It is widely accepted that successful artistic production often presupposes
the artists ability at a certain point to view her work through the eyes of
a receiver, who might be purely imagined or a real person participating,
for example, in a test screening. Inasmuch as the
Monas World
Web site
allowed for spectator feedback on an ongoing basis, it introduced a new
means of accomplishing a well- established artistic task.
Participatory Filmmaking
109
ENHANCED CREATIVITY
The history of art reveals many different strategies for stimulating crea-
tivity, including, for example, the imposition of constraints, which plays
Participatory Filmmaking
110
Participatory Filmmaking
111
in prestige and mystery, Elmers assumption that this educational project
would register as a form of empowerment and democratization capable of
generating intense publicity effects is by no means unwarranted.
In this chapter we have looked closely at a couple of attempts to intensify
national interest in contemporary Danish lmmaking through experimen-
tations with various
levels
of cultural articulation. It is time now to turn to
a far more traditional way of luring national audiences into cinemas: heri-
tage lm. Whereas our innovative experimentations relied on a concept
of game behavior to provoke a sense of seductive community, heritage
lm rests on the idea of an already shared or common culture. Let us,
112
Patriotism and Nationalism:
A Common Culture in Film
In the Danish context, various emphases on the performativity of certain
cultural forms, especially metaculture, are interpretable as more or less
deliberate attempts to circumvent problems that prevent a widespread
circulation of Danish lms and the crystallization of a national and trans-
national interest in them. The Dogma 95 movements ability to make lm
history clearly establishes just how effective such strategies can be. At
the same time, it is important not to allow the amboyance, compelling
irreverence, and sheer cheek of the Dogma initiative to blind us to the ef-
cacies of some of the more established long- term solutions to the same
problems, solutions that are embedded in the artistic, but also policy-
based, practices of Denmarks minor cinema. Strategies centered on per-
formativity typically present themselves in the guise of artistic innovation
on the part of cinematic auteurs, and not in the form of top- down state
policies. Indeed, just how dif cult it can be for representatives of the state
to grasp the genius of such initiatives is poignantly underscored by the
dif culties encountered by von Trier and Vinterberg in getting the DFI
to provide a basic framework of institutional support for Dogma 95. Yet,
the problems endemic to minor cinema have also been taken up in the
same kinds of policy deliberations that provide the broad institutional pa-
Patriotism and Nationalism
113
decisions inevitably spark controversy and contention, these are clearly
the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, the institutional
framework underwriting the production of contemporary Danish cinema
re ects the overlapping convictions held by agents positioned across a
broad spectrum of social roles, including, for example, lmmaker, pro-
ducer, state- appointed lm consultant, DFI administrator, and minister of
culture. In this context, a concept of shared culture understood as the
basis for identity formation and social cohesion, but also as a potential
reason for international recognition plays an important role. This and
the next chapter explore cinematic phenomena that to a signi cant extent
are generated by a prior commitment to this idea of a
common culture
. The
focus, more speci cally, is on patriotic styles of lmmaking and heritage
lm on a national and transnational scale. A subsequent chapter explores
the question of heritage culture on an international level in order to pin-
Patriotism and Nationalism
114
of the issue of circulation or that patriotic styles of lmmaking or heritage
lm as a genre resonate with traditional anthropological conceptions of
culture as essentially both cumulative and inertial. The relevant theo-
retical divergence is highlighted in Urbans account of what he calls the
onceness of culture:
Culture is necessarily characterized by its onceness. It has been. But
culture is also on its way somewhere whether or not it gets there and,
hence, it is also characterized by its futurity. . . . To leave it at onceness
results in the trope that has dominated anthropology throughout the
twentieth century. Culture recedes into a past, slipping away into ever
murkier origins. Hence, it must be salvaged, dug up, preserved. There
is the romance of discovering the thing in all of its dripping nostalgia.
(Urban 2001, 2)
To be attuned to the onceness of culture is not, of course, to deny the
reality of circulation but to assume rather, as did the European diffusion-
ists (Fritz Graeber, Wilhelm Schmidt, Grafton Eliot Smith, and William
J. Perry), that transmission is essentially a matter of replication, of the re-
duplication of unchanging cultural contents (Urban 2001, 275). The exis-
tence of a close harmony between a conception of culture as inert and an
essentialist nationalism is clearly suggested by Michael Herzfelds critique
of Fredrik Barths in uential collection of essays entitled
Patriotism and Nationalism
115
Patriotism and Nationalism
116
spectrum and E. D. Hirsch the other, then Ernest Gellner can be seen as
staking out a more moderate position between these extremes. Gellners
account of nationalism and national identity, we know, is predicated on
the idea that nation- states require citizens who, by virtue of their com-
mon culture, constitute a highly mobile workforce. In this modernist
account of nation- states, nationalism becomes the means of disseminat-
ing the requisite elements of commonality in a nationwide imposition of
a high culture. Yet, the view of a common culture that is operative here
is thinner than the one that moves Hirsch, for the emphasis is squarely
on skills rather than on what might be called heritage. Citizens of a well-
functioning nation- state, claims Gellner, need to partake of a common
culture de ned in terms of literacy, numeracy, basic work habits and
social skills, [and] familiarity with basic technical and social skills (1983,
28). Such skills, we may assume, can be transmitted and acquired via en-
gagement with a diverse range of cultural texts, which is why Gellners
picture of things seems to involve less of an emphasis on the de nitive
texts of a culture than that envisaged by Hirsch.
National Identity and Minor Cinema
The point of the above discussion of the nature and role of common
culture is to set the stage for an analysis of the extent to which the state-
supported lm industry in Denmark, by virtue of being engaged in the
production of a minor cinema, is committed to ensuring that at least some
of the cinematic works that are funded as Danish re ect, promote, sus-
tain, and ultimately generate recognition for speci cally Danish modes of
cultural expression. Such cinematic works, it would appear, are construed
as drawing on layers of sedimented culture that qualify widely as Danish
within the nation- state because they are perceived by citizens as a form
of
shared
culture. The link between minor cinema and small- nation status
imposes a certain task on the lm industry that of contributing to an
ever- urgent project of national memory and validation aimed at resisting
the various amnesias that a sustained exposure to global English and the
cultures of Hollywood entails. Minor cinema is understood at some level
as appealing to national but also international audiences on account of
the way in which it articulates or rearticulates the core understandings,
experiences, and expressions that are the basis for a deep sense of national
belonging. In the context of small- nation cinema, national identity is nec-
essarily on the agenda, even, or perhaps especially, in an era of globaliza-
Patriotism and Nationalism
117
tion that complicates the once taken- for- granted equivalences of nation
and state.
The repeated suggestion that a Danish national identity is at stake in
cinematic production in contemporary Denmark occurs in the statements
of lm consultants, lmmakers, and ministers of culture. Funding from
the Danish Film Institute can be, and has been, refused on the basis of a
proposed lms putative lack of properly Danish qualities. A case in point
is Jon Bang Carlsens
Time Out
(1988), which was lmed in New Mexico
and California with an almost exclusively non- Danish cast and achieved
state support only as a result of a special dispensation granted by the min-
ister of culture following an initial rejection by the Danish Film Institute
Patriotism and Nationalism
118
Consultants serve a multipurpose gate- keeping function aimed, for
example, at quality control and an equitable distribution of available
funds. Yet, the model here is not the liberal one in which the quality of a
project is determined by the emergent effects of a process involving mul-
tiple assessments. Consultants are appointed as individuals with visions,
with distinct ideas about what they are looking for in Danish lm and the
kinds of projects they intend to solicit, accept, and promote. Thus, for
Table 1. Most popular
lms in Denmark, 19762001
Number of admissions
(in thousands), as of
Title Country December 31, 2001
Titanic
USA 1,363
The Olsen Gang Sees Red
Denmark 1,201
One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest
USA 1,120
The Olsen Gang Strikes Again
Denmark 1,045
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
USA 1,019
Grease
USA 1,006
The Olsen Gang Goes to War
Denmark 1,006
Out of Africa
USA 999
Walter and Carlo
Denmark 954
The Lion King
USA 945
The House of the Spirits
Denmark 941
The Olsen Gang Never Surrenders
Denmark 935
In the Middle of the Night
Denmark 923
The Gyldenkl Family Breaks the Bank
Denmark 905
Convoy
USA 890
Dances with Wolves
USA 884
Pretty Woman
USA 873
Father of Four Goes to Town
Denmark 872
The Crumbs
Denmark 859
The One and Only
Denmark 843
Source
: Adapted from DFI 2002a, 5.
Patriotism and Nationalism
119
different constellation of values. The vision here is to make the local some-
how resonate with compelling signi cance, to recon gure tastes and moral
orientations.
A similar resistance to Hollywood marks the discourse, if not always
the cinematic practice, of Erik Clausen, a gure who, at least in the popu-
lar imagination, quali es as one of the most Danish of Danish lmmakers.
Thus, for example, Clausen contrasts his preferred form of narrative to
dominant American modes in an exchange about
Rami and Juliet
Rami
og Julie,
1988), in many ways a poetic lm in which an appropriation of
Shakespeares canonical text helps to chart some of the key tensions en-
tailed in Denmarks transformation from a culture of ethnic homogeneity
to one of manifest diversity:
In my lms I allow myself the luxury of recounting several stories at once,
a complex narrative mode. We are so used to being led around by the nose
by an effective American narrative technique. (Hellmann 1988)
In an interview with Clausen a few years earlier, Helle Hgsbro (1986) re-
ported on his role as chairman of the newly created Sammenslutningen af
danske lminstruktrer (Association of Danish Film Directors). The goal,
claimed Clausen, is to invigorate Danish lm by reanimating the culture
debate of the 30s and, more speci cally, the issues raised by the writer
Hans Kirk (whose portrait of a small western shing community in
The
Fishers [Fiskerne]
is a classic of modern Danish literature) and by Theodor
Christensen, a canonized documentary lmmaker and the rst director of
the National Film School. Once again, American lm gures negatively
within the project of cinematic renewal:
Were in the process of allowing ourselves to be inundated with Yankee
shit (American blockbusters) that, morally speaking, appeals to the worst
in people and has the same intellectual level as Donald Duck & Co.
(Hgsbro 1986)
The blunt and even hyperbolic nature of the statements about American
lm and its in uence is, for present purposes, irrelevant. What is signi -
Patriotism and Nationalism
120
spectrum of options, including, for example, the transnational lmmaking
in a Nordic and European vein that the various coproduction and co-
nancing agreements of the late 80s and 90s were meant to stimulate.
Yet, Clausens line of reasoning clearly comes from the same kind of moral
and political space that Zeruneith and Winding occupy. What their com-
Patriotism and Nationalism
121
help to situate Danish lm on the international map as a compelling form
of artistic expression in the area of feature lmmaking, but also in short-
and documentary lm production and in new media. National lm policy
must be sure to exploit the international potential for co productions and
enhanced distribution, with special emphasis on the Nordic and European
dimensions. Film constitutes a crucial element in the interpretation of
Denmark as a nation of culture (kulturnation) and can help signi cantly to
enhance the image of Danish culture abroad. (DFI 2002c, 3)
The local and global are intertwined here in ways that are not unchar-
acteristic of a politics of recognition. While the aim of sustaining spe-
ci c cultural forms is clearly considered valuable in and of itself, it also
arises within the context of interactions between small and large nations.
Promoting the local
that which is different emerges quite simply as
an effective strategy for achieving the kind of international recognition
that is ultimately desired, which includes, interestingly, endorsement for
a certain kind of re exive understanding: we Danes belong to a cultured
nation not, implicitly, a nation of warmongers, crass materialists, and
so on. Interestingly, the priority given to a so- called artistic goal under-
scores a politics of recognition that does not simply solicit a politically
correct acknowledgment of difference but rather strives for the ideal of a
genuine identi cation of merit and value based on collectively elaborated
and agreed upon criteria of evaluation. There is a desire here to be taken
seriously for genuine contributions to lm as an art form rather than as a
vehicle for cultural identity. Denmarks recognition as a cultured nation
hinges to a certain extent on the creation of the kinds of conditions that
will foster the creativity of Danish lmmakers, thereby enhancing the
probability of genuine artistic innovation within the context of Danish
lm, as well as within that larger scheme of things, which is, quite simply,
the history of cinematic art.
Contemporary lmmaking in Denmark is regulated by the Film Act of
1997, which, not surprisingly, provides further evidence of the attempt to
balance the pursuit of identity through art with commitments to cinema
as an international art form that has a signi cant degree of autonomy
from the local contexts of production in which speci c contributions
emerge.
The stated goal of the Film Act is to promote lm art and lm
culture in Denmark. The de nition of Danish lm provided in Section 6
of the act, which deals speci cally with coproductions, is as follows:
According to this law a Danish lm is de ned as a lm with a Danish pro-
ducer. In addition, the lm must be produced in Danish
must, through
Patriotism and Nationalism
122
artistic or technical innovation, help to promote lm art and lm culture
in Denmark. (my emphasis)
In her helpful commentary on the implications of the Film Act of 1989
Patriotism and Nationalism
123
These are certainly relevant questions if one is interested in understand-
ing the ways in which lm may be imbricated with phenomena identi ed
in permutations of the word
nation
national culture,national identity,
and
nationalism
. Yet Higsons discussion is not one that ultimately allows us
to classify lms as patriotic or nationalistic in any systematic way, nor
is this necessarily a shortcoming given the speci c focus of his analysis.
Insightful studies devoted to clearly relevant lms and lm cultures, such
as Anton Kaess
From Hitler to Heimat: The Return of History as Film
(1989),
offer little guidance with respect to the kind of conceptual clari cation
that I have in mind, for the tendency is to eschew explicit de nition in
favor of broad cultural analysis. Referring, for example, to
Germany in
Autumn
Deutschland im Herbst,
1977), a collective cinematic work authored
by nine directors associated with the New German Cinema (including
Alexander Kluge), Kaes points to what might at rst blush appear as a
surprising love for Germany. Kaes suggests that a feature of the fund-
ing arrangement speci cally, that no federal monies were involved in
the project allowed the lmmakers to express a patriotism they might
otherwise have been reluctant to afrm. That these lmmakers should
be patriotic at some level ceases to be puzzling, claims Kaes, once we
understand the extent to which the leftist ideologies on which they drew
were hospitable to at least a certain kind of love of country: The leftist
love of
Heimat,
the yearning for a peacefully reunited Germany, was patri-
otic, not nationalist (1989, 127). While the suggestion is that patriotism
is morally and politically acceptable whereas nationalism is not, the exact
nature of the difference between these phenomena is left unde ned, as is
the characteristic manifestation of the relevant sentiments in lm or lm
reception. Mention should also be made of Susan Sontags (1981) and
Patriotism and Nationalism
124
of Greek mythology capable of changing his shape at will, nationalism and
patriotism seem to possess a particular ability to avoid the conceptual tools
that scholars have been tenaciously forging. . . . Like Proteus, patriotism
and nationalism have a lot to tell us about our past, our present, and our
future, but we cannot
Patriotism and Nationalism
125
upon other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily
and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the
desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure
more power and more prestige,
not
for himself but for the nation or other
unit in which he decided to sink individuality. (1968, 411; my emphasis in
rst sentence)
Orwells view is that the intentional objects that prompt the emotional re-
sponses of patriots and nationalists their sense of devotion and love are
ultimately the same, namely, evaluative judgments that their way of life,
as well as the site in which it unfolds, is intrinsically valuable and indeed
superior to other situated ways of imagining the human adventure. What
distinguishes patriots from nationalists is not the emotion they experience
or its cognitive and evaluative basis, but rather the role that the relevant
sentiment plays in motivating action. Whereas patriots are content quite
simply to love and preserve, nationalists are bent on expansion, conver-
sion, elimination, and suppression. Patriots, in this account, emerge as
benign and paci c gures who are content to leave well enough alone;
nationalists exhibit a troubling will to power.
Orwells account is not without problems, for the implicit de nition
of nationalism is at odds with some of the central tenets of classic studies
of nationalism. Nationalism, it is commonly agreed, is by no means a ho-
mogeneous affair; rather, it is a plural phenomenon allowing for variants.
Orwell seems to assume that nationalism is ultimately about blood and
belonging, to use Michael Ignatieffs (1994) term, which means that he ig-
nores a more benign civic nationalism, not to mention what Billig (1995)
calls banal nationalism. Yet, his remarks remain insightful, for what he
cogently grasps is patriotisms orientation toward a thick sense of be-
longing, one rooted precisely in a whole way of life. Patriotism is indeed
a question of deep belonging, which, I take it, is why Orwell gravitates
toward ethnic nationalism as the obvious term of comparison. What is at
issue in patriotism is a whole way of life, understood not as some largely
formal arrangement in the immediate now but as a set of deeply sediment-
ed practices reaching back into the past and expressing the continuities of
value, conviction, and experience that circumscribe a group or a people
and constitute its sense of distinctness. The patriots sense of belonging is
deeper and much thicker, in an ethnic and cultural sense, than that expe-
rienced by a civic nationalist, the good cousin with whom the patriot is
confused in Maurizio Virolis interpretation:
Patriotism and Nationalism
126
The language of patriotism has been used over the centuries to strengthen
or invoke love of the political institutions and the way of life that sustain
the common liberty of a people, that is love of the republic; the language
of nationalism was forged in late eighteenth- century Europe to defend or
reinforce the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic oneness and homogeneity of
a people. (1995, 1)
What Viroli initially describes is what Habermas (1989a) has called con-
stitutional patriotism, otherwise commonly referred to as civic national-
ism. The combination of terms for which Habermas opts draws on the
associations of
patriotism
with virtue while underscoring through the use
of
constitutional
the extent to which he has in mind a commitment not
to culture in some deep or broad sense but rather to the basic framework
Patriotism and Nationalism
127
unfavorable representations of the Other can qualify only as nationalistic.
A work, on the other hand, that produces positive emotions toward the
nation without a rhetoric of scapegoating may well qualify as patriotic,
but if and only if certain external, contextual conditions are satis ed. That
is, what is merely a benign patriotic work in a context of reception where
Patriotism and Nationalism
128
is populated at this point by rather paranoid people who see shadows,
threat, foes and intractable problems everywhere.
Why, one might ask, is it so important to distinguish between patriotism
and nationalism in the context of a study on minor cinema? The quick
answer is that the particular small nation that produces the minor cinema
under discussion repeatedly elected social democratic governments to
power during the years of the emergence and consolidation of a contem-
porary and new Danish cinema. Inasmuch as the self- understandings of
Danish citizens during this period favored liberal, democratic, and egali-
tarian qualities, it seems unlikely indeed that state- supported institutions
would wish to fund nationalistic lms, that lmmakers would wish to be
associated with the production of nationalistic works, or that viewers
would want to engage with story worlds of an essentially nationalistic
nature. Danes may, of course, be self- deceived about the true nature of
their attitudes, as any visitor to Denmark begins to suspect when the om-
nipresence of Danish ags on everything from birthday cakes to packages
of Danish bacon begins to grate. Films allegedly produced with liberal sen-
timents in mind may well require reclassi cation along the lines mentioned
Patriotism and Nationalism
129
Kjrsgaards growing popularity with voters effectively allowed her to
highjack the debate, prompting Liberals and Social Democrats to com-
pete in a game of racist scaremongering. The narrow focus and tenor of
the campaign prompted international concern and the following com-
ment from Amnesty International: To make people in need the decisive
issue of an election is inappropriate. Politicians should not exaggerate
a fear of the foreign, but look at the realities that are the reasons why
Patriotism and Nationalism
130
or emphasized. It is relevant to note that while the Danish lm milieu
expressed Euro- skeptical attitudes consistent with the nativist position of
the Danish Peoples Party in the context of the last referendum (fall 2000)
on Denmarks participation in a common European currency, its stance on
Patriotism and Nationalism
131
Patriotism and Nationalism
132
somehow mutually exclusive. Drawing on his account of what he calls the
Patriotism and Nationalism
133
spaces. At the same time it is important to take seriously Lfgrens use of
terms such as
lived experience
and
trivialities,
for they point to processes that
hinge less on focal awareness than on background knowledge or tacit
understanding. Films may help to construe the nation as home by explicitly
thematizing a national heritage, but they may also simply re ect the kinds
of linguistic realities and material cultures that are the taken- for- granted
basis of everyday interaction in a given nation- state. If lms help to trans-
form the nation into a lived experience, they do so not only through the
kind of focused re
ection on the nation that lies at the heart of patriotism
Patriotism and Nationalism
134
organic, civic and ethnic, primordial and instrumental. No nation, no
nationalism, can be seen as purely the one or the other, even if at certain
moments one or other of these elements predominates in the ensemble of
components of national identity. (2000, 25)
A systematic foregrounding, for instance, of natural landscapes, peasants,
and folkloric elements, be it through a speci c narrative or a visual style,
Patriotism and Nationalism
135
between nation
and national
styles of lmmaking. Whereas a national
style is largely a matter of a systematic gravitation toward a norm within a
given national context of production, a nationalistic style, as we shall see,
involves certain ways of framing and responding to the nation.
While the central goal here is to understand what
nationalistic
and
patriotic
might mean in the context of
Patriotism and Nationalism
136
Leyden): of the style of northern baroque: and, nally, of the baroque
itself as a style. Here we have individual style, school style, historical or
period style, and universal style. (1995, 40)
Wollheim is most interested in individual style, which he considers genera-
tive in the sense that it re
ects the psychological attitudes underlying the
creation of a given work. General style, on the other hand, which includes
school style, historical style, and universal style, is considered purely taxo-
nomic, because it allegedly lacks this generative dimension. Yet, Wollheims
claim that general style lacks reality and explanatory value is puzzling,
for in many cases the development of an individual style will occur through
an ongoing dialogue with the very traditions and received practices that
make up general style. School style, period style, and universal style are
surely part of the generative process, inasmuch as they provide a dialogic
starting point for innovation and creative self- de
nition.
An interesting feature of nationalistic and patriotic styles of lmmaking
is their combination of elements of both individual and general styles. It
is possible to label lmmaking as nationalistic or patriotic in style on the
basis of recurrent and shared features that can be identi ed through criti-
cal analysis of works from diverse national cinemas. A concept of universal
style seems relevant, inasmuch as it would appear to be
generally
true that
unless a lm invites viewers to engage with certain kinds of conceptions
of a particular nation, it cannot be considered patriotic or nationalistic.
Patriotism and Nationalism
137
work resonates with other works by the same lmmaker as a result of
certain especially audio- visual, but possiby also narrative, emphases and
convergences. The point is, we can speak coherently of nationalistic and
patriotic lms both in what Wollheim would call a universal sense and in
connection with speci c national or even authorial tendencies. Patriotic
and nationalistic styles of lmmaking, it would appear, span a spectrum of
distinctions ranging from individual to universal style.
These ideas about style suggest that a comprehensive approach to the
phenomenon of cinematic style would separate form and content visual
style and narrational style
for purely analytic purposes only. The tech-
nical cinematic devices that are the basis of audio- visual style have the
effect of framing the unfolding narrative in such a way as to promote
not only understanding but also speci c attitudes and key emotional
responses. At the same time, it is clear that at least some of the emotional
responses that are criterial for certain styles of lmmaking can be gen-
erated by the mobilization of a
range
of cinematic devices and may well
be the result primarily of certain kinds of story contents. In the case of
nationalistic styles of lmmaking, there is no direct correlation between
particular
audio- visual style and the desired emotional effects. Grasping
the speci city of nationalistic and patriotic styles of lmmaking thus nec-
essarily involves paying close attention to the ways in which narrative and
visual elements combine to target the key de ning emotions.
Nationalist Sentiment
Put bluntly, my claim is that a minimal condition of characterizing a lm as
Patriotism and Nationalism
138
that cinematic narratives tend to be structured by the evaluative frame-
works underwriting the emotions they prompt, emotion being a key factor
in the comprehension of narrative artworks more generally:
For in large measure, what commands and shapes the audiences attention
to the artwork, what enables the audience to follow and to comprehend
the artwork, and what energizes our commitment to seeing the narrative
artwork through to its conclusion is the emotional address of the narrative
artwork. (1997, 191)
If fear and disgust are the characteristic emotional markers of horror,
and pity and fear the markers of tragedy, then what might be the con-
stitutive emotions of the nationalist sentiment that de nes nationalistic
styles of lmmaking? The term
sentiment
serves to highlight that a cluster
of emotions are involved rather than a single emotion or even a couple of
emotions; within this cluster, some emotions may be positive and others
negative, depending on the particular variant of nationalist lmmaking.
Patriotism and Nationalism
139
quately for the nationalistic dimensions of lms produced within social
democratic contexts that, at least of cially, are opposed to scapegoating
and victimization.
While psychoanalytic concepts may help to identify the nature and
deeper causes of the pathologies of nationalism, cognitive theories of
emotion provide the tools needed to grasp the conceptual bases of na-
tionalist sentiment. As is well known, theorizing about emotion has a long
history dating back at least as far as Aristotle. In recent times, theorists
in uenced by Aristotles cognitive view of the emotions have been largely
successful in discrediting the historically in uential, rival accounts that
are traceable to Cartesian or behaviorist conceptions. This is not to sug-
gest that cognitive theories of emotion command some wholly stable
consensus, for they have been the object of critique on the part of social
constructivist thinkers (Harr 1986). As I cannot argue the point here, I
shall simply state that in my view cognitive theories of emotion emerge
largely unscathed from social constructivist critiques and provide the
necessary starting point for any ne-
grained, intentional analysis of affec-
tive states (Hjort and Laver 1997, 319).
A salient feature of what William Lyons (1980) calls the causal-
evaluative theory of emotion is the claim that beliefs, judgments, and
evaluations cause and are components of occurrent emotional states.
Consider the case of the young boy who trembles with fear when in the
presence of men masquerading as demons during the Japanese Setsubun
festivities. His fear is generated by his
evaluation
of the situation as danger-
ous or threatening
to him
. Emotions, then, are caused by an agents beliefs
and by his assessment of a given situation in light of his particular inter-
ests and in relation to the norms of his cultural framework. Inasmuch as
emotions are generated by thoughts about situations or events, they are
intentional states exhibiting a certain aboutness. In an effort to clarify
the nature of the intentional dimensions of emotion, cognitive theorists
draw an important distinction between the formal and particular objects
of emotion. The formal object in the example just mentioned is the gen-
eral evaluative category called danger, whereas the particular object is
composed of people masquerading as demons. The boys emotional re-
sponse is thus caused by what he takes to be a particular instantiation of a
general category.
Cognitive theories of emotion foreground the role played by belief
and evaluation, but not at the expense of bodily or physical dimensions.
Indeed, physiological changes associated with a discharge of the sympa-
Patriotism and Nationalism
140
components of emotional states (Lyons 1980, 210). Strong physiologi-
cal reactions a violently throbbing heart, a sudden outbreak of sweat,
trembling are all typical manifestations of emotion. Although such
physiological states are recurrent signs of emotion, they do not, as has
Patriotism and Nationalism
141
if she rmly believes that her evaluation of her nation is entirely idiosyn-
cratic. Nationalist emotions, then, nd a basis in an assumption of com-
mon knowledge concerning the nature of the nation, which makes them
at least subjectively rational.
The emotions that make up nationalist sentiment may be generated
by particular objects other than the nation. Pride, which I take to be one
of the central emotions of nationalism, may, for example, be prompted
by a positive evaluation of the nation to which one belongs, as well as by
positive assessments of situations that in no way involve a focal aware-
ness of a given nation and its speci cities or of national belonging. It is
worth noting, however, that a nationalist occurrence of an emotion does
differ in important respects from nonnationalist occurrences of the same
emotion, for emotions shaped by nationalist attitutudes and beliefs are
prime examples of what I elsewhere have called social emotion (Hjort
1993, 18395). Unlike Jon Elster (1989), who uses this term to character-
ize emotions that necessarily involve a comparative dimension (such as
envy), I evoke the notion in a Durkheimian sense in an effort to articulate
the affective dimensions of group belonging. In my view an emotion is
social only when it is generated by a strong sense of group inclusion and
belonging, by a vivid contemplation in the minds eye of, or by an actual
engagement with, the group. Social effervescence is a natural corollary
Patriotism and Nationalism
142
of national belonging, it is more than a likely candidate for consideration
Patriotism and Nationalism
143
can, and indeed have, become indices of national achievement, as Takako
Murakami suggests in her preface to
Danish Chairs
: On perusing
Danish
Chairs
we can only marvel at a small nations consistency in producing
cultural artifacts of such exceptional craftsmanship, beauty, and utility
(Oda 1999). The reality is that the re ectionist and abstractive construc-
tions of national heritage are understood by most Danes to be mutually
compatible.
If Clausens lm is to gure centrally in a discussion of patriotic and na-
tionalistic lmmaking, then due attention must be paid to the lmmakers
intentions and self- understandings. The question of authorial intention
arises not only because we have opted to give pride of place to a concept of
prefocus but also because terms such as
patriotic
and
nationalistic
are heavily
charged with social meanings in a way that terms of generic artistic classi -
cation, such as
horror
or
tragedy,
are not. In the case of Clausen, for example,
patriotic
gures positively as a virtue term in key self-
descriptions, whereas
nationalistic
is held to identify a moral failing: Patriotism is ne, but pure
nationalism is a destructive thing (cited in Sayers 1990). For Clausen the
distinction clearly has to do with the difference between negatively medi-
ated and nonmediated forms of af rmation, signaled above. Whereas pa-
triotism focuses on a benign intensi cation of the social bond, nationalism,
at least in his understanding of the phenomenon, promotes integration and
cohesion by constituting certain social groups as alien elements within an
ideally homogeneous national body. Clausens view is that he has managed
to combine patriotic sentiment with a consistent rejection of the kind of
Patriotism and Nationalism
144
will soon in uence our art and music. The politicians problematise the
process, but an exchange of views is already going on. There are music
Patriotism and Nationalism
145
cate that the relevant type of nationalism produces a slavish adherence
to realism within cinematic contexts (Hellmann 1988). The point seems
to be to use that most common of Danish foods, liver pt, as a means of
taking distance from a visual and narrative style that functions as a wholly
naturalized form of expression within the relevant national space, as a
quintessentially Danish way of telling stories.
Ethnic nationalism is not, however, the only type of nationalism to
which Clausen is opposed, for his insistence on class division makes him
intensely aware of the extent to which the creation of a national culture
involves homogenization as well as the imposition or celebration of essen-
tially select cultural forms as deeply shared. What is troubling about such
Patriotism and Nationalism
146
say nothing of the countless characters he has played in lms directed
by other lmmakers (
Me and Charly/Mig og Charly,
directed by Morten
Arnfred and Henning Kristiansen;
In the Middle of the Night/Midt om nat-
ten,
directed by Erik Balling;
The Flying Devils
De yvende djvle,
directed
by Anders Refn; and
The Great Day on the Beach
Den store badedag,
directed
by Stellan Olsson). Clausens irreverent sense of humor, which tends to
Patriotism and Nationalism
147
of the positive emotions that lie at the heart of nationalist sentiment.
Carl,
it turns out, is in many ways a paradigmatic example of a nationalistic style
of lmmaking in a romantic vein, for the emphasis is squarely on deep
belonging, on ethnic continuities and attachments. Although Clausen
Patriotism and Nationalism
148
class belonging. The impoverished young Danish girl, whom Carl discov-
Patriotism and Nationalism
149
he spent the childhood years discussed so vividly in his autobiography.
Fynboer, inhabitants of Funen, speak a regionally in ected Danish, and
a concern for authenticity would have made
fynsk
the language of much
of the lm. The use of
rigsdansk
to evoke the speech of Fynboer may at
rst seem entirely trivial. For institutional reasons pertaining to the train-
ing of actors and the location of the center of the Danish lm industry,
rigsdansk
has long been a standard and, one might argue, unmarked feature
of Danish lm. Whereas many lmmakers and critics view the consistent
gravitation toward
rigsdansk
or a range of sociolects associated with the
capital as nothing more than a convenient convention, other lmmakers,
such as Christian Braad Thomsen, Nils Malmros, and Lotte Svendsen, are
clearly attuned to the deeper political issues involved in the consistent
dissemination of the linguistic cultures of the capital throughout the prov-
inces and regions of the nation- state of Denmark. In an interview, Braad
Thomsen identi ed
rigsdansk
Patriotism and Nationalism
150
stemme,
1999). That most Danes would have to rely on subtitles in order to
understand this Danish lm was, as far as Svendsen was concerned, an ap-
pealing consequence of her regionally inspired politics of recognition:
Id say that a lm like Kusturicas
Underground
was one of the greatest
cinematic experiences Ive had in the last three years, in part because he
makes use of such straightforward symbols. . . . But at the same time I also
sense a certain integrity that had to do with the fact that the lm didnt
cater to me as a member of the audience. The message was: We make the
rules here. Were Yugoslavs, we play noisy bugles, and you can either take
it or leave it. . . . I hope and believe that people will remain curious, even
though the world being shown in some weird way is a very different one.
Thats why its really important to me that all of the actors in
Gone with the
Fish
speak
bornholmsk
. (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 266)
What we have here is a subversion of the subject position that Michael
Silverstein associates with a hegemonic standard in his insightful discus-
sion of Benedict Andersons concept of the nation as an imagined com-
munity sustained in part by speci c linguistic practices:
A language community acquires what we would term a hegemonic stan-
dard relative to which variation is experienced as a pyramidical or conical
space of divergence: standard- register usage is at the top- and- center, and
each coherent cluster of variance is experienced as mere dialect. . . .
The standard that informs the language communitys norm thus becomes
the very emblem of the existence of that community. . . . Those with the
greatest allegiance to this emblem of community- hood tend to imagine
the existence of the perfect standard- using member of the language com-
munity as a democratically and universally available position of inhabit-
ance of the language community to which everyone can, and even should,
aspire. (Silverstein 2000, 122)
To insist on a regionally in ected Danish is, precisely, to challenge the
idea that all Danes feel equally at home speaking a standardized Danish
that nds its origins in the capital of the country, which, unlike many oth-
ers, has only one real center, that center being dominant in the extreme
as a result.
Clausen, who has inhabited the capital since birth, uses
rigsdansk
to
construe Carl Nielsen as an exceptional Dane rather than as a remarkable
person from Funen, which is how the composers mother understood her
hopes for her son. The effacing of all regional differentiation in favor of a
hegemonic linguistic standard helps to evoke the image of a nation united
Patriotism and Nationalism
151
from coast to coast by a common culture. The linguistic dimensions of
the lm contribute to the process of myth making that Gellner considers
so crucial to nationalism, for the regional differentiation of a historical
account aimed at truth and accuracy is replaced by ctions of a common
culture shared not only by contemporary Danes but by all Danes across
time. Clausens lm is governed by a paradoxical logic of retrieval and
effacement, for the very defense of peasant origins in the sphere of music
involves a dissemination of a linguistic high culture that itself obscures
cultural differences in ected by class and place.
Gellners insightful remarks on the role played by mass- media forms
and styles of communication help to shed light on key aspects of Clausens
Carl
. Yet, a purely modernist perspective on this lm cannot account fully
for its nationalist dimensions; thus, it is necessary at this point to part
company with Gellner and, more speci cally, with the idea that the me-
dium is all- important and that what is actually
matters little (Gellner
1983, 127). It should, in my view, be possible to acknowledge the central
role played by a given style and medium without trivializing the signi -
cance of thematic elements associated with concepts of national belong-
ing. In
Carl
such elements are crucial inasmuch as they help to prefocus
the cinematic text in a way that encourages nationalist sentiment with
Patriotism and Nationalism
152
viewers should attribute this kind of music. His claim, in brief, is that
Patriotism and Nationalism
153
Patriotism and Nationalism
154
consistent with the teachings of Sergei Eisenstein and at odds with the
realism advocated by V. F. Perkins and his followers. As Carl leaves for
Copenhagen to commence his studies at the conservatory, he lingers in a
plowed eld, where he imagines all the gures of his childhood gathered
The budding composer Carl Nielsen imagines his family and friends (including
Outsen [Frits Helmuth] at the piano) playing one of his great symphonies.
Patriotism and Nationalism
155
I want to turn now to a series of shots involving the Danish landscape
and mostly source music. The most important sequence shows us Carl,
with his father, his brother, and the family friend called Blind Anders
(played by Clausens long- time collaborator Leif Sylvester), returning
home after a night of music making. As they cross the rolling fertile hills,
the musicians witness a glorious sunrise, which they stop to admire. The
natural light used in the scene and the decision not to use ller lights
produce a series of shots in which the shadowy faces contrast with the
luminosity of the landscape that frames them. The radical departure here
from some of the salient norms of Hollywood lmmaking functions on at
least two levels to foreground national speci city. The willful inclusion
of shots that would be characterized as substandard in another context of
production relativizes dominant norms in a comparative cultural moment
while foregrounding concepts of nature, which are the vehicle of nation-
alist sentiment at this point in the narrative. Carls father, Niels Maler
(Jesper Milsted), points in the direction of the rising sun and says, Look!
That is music (Se! Det er musik). Blind Anders then begins to whistle
a melody, which is presented as the voice of the land, as the direct and
proper translation into music of an expressive nature.
Interestingly, this
same melody returns at another crucial point in the narrative. When Carl
Patriotism and Nationalism
156
objective and authentic expression of his native land. Other examples of
this linking could be provided. I am thinking, in particular, of the scene
between Carl and Anna in which the lovesick youth invites the frivolous
Swede to listen to the sounds of nature as he tries desperately to awaken
in her some genuine love for him and music. With great passion, Carl
exclaims that he longs to put nature into music and to do so in a manner
Patriotism and Nationalism
157
that they note the systematic connections established among plot, audio-
visual salience, and nationalist sentiment but remain immured against the
relevant emotions because of a focal awareness throughout of different
national roots and attachments. A few nonnationals did, however, confess
to having experienced what they described as vicarious nationalist sen-
timent.
Admittedly, the individuals in question were from Skne, the
southern part of Sweden that once was part of Denmark and now is con-
nected to it by the resund bridge, which, as Lfgren (2002) argues, has
served to fuel fantasies of transnational belonging and to revive memories
of earlier historical connections. In most cases, however, interpretive and
emotional responses to patriotic lmmaking are likely to re ect national
boundaries. Whereas nationals responding to the lms particular form of
prefocus experience nationalist sentiment, the emotional engagement of
nonnationals hinges on the dynamics of plot, the mobilization of genre
formulas, and, more interestingly, a growing sense of what matters, at some
deep level, to members of another culture, to citizens of a distant place.
158
Counterglobalization: A Transnational
Communicative Space Emerges in the North
Heritage is an inherently spatial phenomenon that registers differences
of scale: An intrinsic attribute of places is that they exist within a hier-
archy of spatial scales. Places therefore have a heritage at local, regional,
national, continental, and international scales, while, in turn, a particular
Counterglobalization
159
Ashworth, and Tunbridge seem to be overstating their point when they
remark that until recently the word heritage was commonly used only
to describe an inheritance that an individual received in the will of a de-
Counterglobalization
160
were aggravated in the late 80s by Hollywoods explicit decision to adopt
a series of globalizing strategies.
Transnational Cinema
Counterglobalization
161
In 1993, Jrgen Ljungdalh (at that time a consultant for the Danish
Film Institute) made the following insightful, indeed prescient, remark:
In 50 years time people watching the Danish lms being produced today
will no doubt be struck by just how tight the family ties between the
Nordic countries became in the course of the 90s (cited in Andersen
1997, 351). What Ljungdalh had in mind here, was, of course, the preva-
lence of Nordic coproductions since the late 80s. To grasp the speci city
of globalizing tendencies in the North, I contend, is to understand the
motivations for and the impact of especially institutionally codi ed forms
of cinematic collaboration across national borders of the kind that pro-
vide the basis for Ljungdalhs remark. The central goal, then, is to chart
the implications of these tightening bonds for the Danish case, to pin-
point the nature and dynamics of the process of
denationalization
that has
been one of the results of transnationalism, understood both as a response
to and as a means of globalization.
In many ways the Nordic Film and TV Fund provides the institutional
bases for the crucial transformations that need to be identi ed. Indeed,
the distance separating the original vision for the fund from its current
modus operandi provides pointers for understanding the changing face
of Nordic globalization. Denationalization, as we shall see, involves
more than a simple deemphasizing of national elements in favor of the
transnational, for in the present context the relevant process includes a
denationalization of the transnational itself. Whereas in the early 90s
cinematic transnationalism in the North favored the kinds of concepts
of deep epiphanic culture that are consistent with, and indeed support,
many a national conception of communicative space, the mid- to late
90s saw a preference quite simply for cooperation and circulation.
The
performative effect of the shift from an epiphanic culture (that discloses
or reveals the favored or sedimented narratives of certain nations) to a
mere circulation of audiovisual works, people, and monies is becoming
evident at the start of the new millennium. What we are witnessing, more
speci cally, is the emergence of a genuinely transnational communicative
space with a newfound tolerance for cultural hybridity. While it may
indeed be the case, as the authors of
Global Hollywood
insightfully point
out, that co- production treaties are . . . clear legacies of nation- state
formations under modernity, our Nordic example clearly contradicts the
related contention that such treaties institutionalise normative and static
conceptions of national culture in the very process of international col-
Counterglobalization
162
involving changing views on the desirability of various forms of trans-
national collaboration, only some of which are reducible to the pursuit of
national culture by other means.
The suggestion that transnationalism might be synonymous in cer-
tain instances with globalization is by no means self- evident and thus
calls for some de nitions in relation to salient features of the empirical
case under discussion. In the early 90s the attempt on the part of Danish
lmmakers, producers, and lmmaking institutions not only to appeal to
audiences beyond national borders but also to involve other nations regu-
larly even in the production of Danish lms was prompted by the growing
costs of cinematic production, a problem to which a pooling of economic
resources in the form of coproduction arrangements seemed a plausible
solution. Soaring costs are linked in this case to the perceived neces-
sity of certain production values, which makes Hollywoods strategy of
globalization, understood in essence as the pursuit of global markets by
Counterglobalization
163
1994, 29). The evidence of this phenomenon points to what is essentially
a resistance to a top- down reactive globalization, its governing maxim
being that of the quid pro quo: If you contribute a million to my lm, Ill
contribute a million to yours, and then we can both apply to the NFTF
for support (Andersen 1997, 345). In short, the globalizing impulse from
above was reframed so as to allow national lmmaking to continue largely
Counterglobalization
164
coproductions? The quick answer, which I hope to spell out below, is
that the culturally marked coproductions help to identify the particular
conception of the transnational that was operative during the earliest
phase of Nordic globalization, as well as the effect of a revised approach
to transnational lmmaking in the North from the mid- 90s onward. Of
particular interest are the culturally marked coproductions that are best
characterized as self- defeating, for in their particular failings we discern
the kinds of audience commitments that are very much a feature of a na-
tionally de ned communicative space commitments that will gradually
dissolve as a circulation-
based transnational communicative space begins
to instill a deep tolerance for cultural hybridity or for a signi cantly dena-
tionalized national culture.
The story I want to tell here about globalization in the Nordic coun-
tries begins with a number of lms made just prior to the creation of the
NFTF in 1990 and during the early years of the funds existence:
Wolf at
the Door
(aka
Oviri,
Henning Carlsen, 1986),
Hip Hip Hurra!
(Kjell Grede,
1987),
Pelle the Conqueror
Pelle Erobreren,
Bille August, 1987),
The Prince of
Jutland
(Gabriel Axel, 1994), and
Two Green Feathers
Pan,
Henning Carlsen,
1995). Augusts Oscar- winning lm is particularly important, inasmuch as
it initially helped to frame the arguments in favor of the creation of the
Nordic Film and TV Fund and subsequently served as a concrete example
of what the institution aimed to achieve. My story ends with Ole Bornedals
English- language adaptation of the celebrated Norwegian writer Herbjrg
Wassmos canonized novel,
Dinas Book
. Bornedals lm (
I Am Dina,
2002),
it is worth noting in passing, is one of a spate of English- language Danish
lms released at the start of the new millennium: Lars von Triers
Dogville
(2003), Thomas Vinterbergs
Its All about Love
(2003), Nicolas Winding
Refns
Fear X
(2003), Lone Scher gs
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
(2002), and
Sren Kragh- Jacobsens
Skagerrak
(2003). This more general turn toward
English is itself an important feature of the New Danish Cinema and war-
rants brief discussion once the signi cance of our central case Bornedals
I Am Dina
has been clearly established.
The Early Model: Epiphanic Culture and the Immanence
of Nationally In ected Perspectives
When the Nordic Film and TV Fund was rst created, the assumption was
that its role would be to stimulate transnational cooperation in the form
of natural coproductions. This model was conceived not in the realm of
Counterglobalization
165
abstract speculation but in the wake of the galvanizing impact of Augusts
Pelle,
a lm that seemed to policymakers, administrators, and produc-
ers alike to incarnate an ideal mode of Nordic cooperation. The term
natural coproduction
was coined in connection with
Pelle
on account of the
way in which the lms story world called for cultural participation that
constituted a kind of natural invitation for two nations Denmark and
Sweden to collaborate economically. That is, in this heavily canonized
story about peasant migration from Smland in Sweden to the Danish
island of Bornholm, the nationality of the central characters clearly iden-
ti ed certain nations as the natural investors. Re ected in Augusts lm,
as well as in Martin Anderson Nexs canonized literary work, which
the lm adapts, is the interconnected history of the Danish and Swedish
peoples in the form of patterns of migration and mutually intelligible
languages. What we have here is a kind of palimpsest of shared culture,
for the literary text, from which the lm derives a kind of ready- made ap-
peal, is not simply about a particular period in the history of interaction
between Swedes and Danes, but is itself a Nordic rather than merely a
Danish literary classic.
Erik (Bjrn Granath) leads a peasant revolt in Bille Augusts
Pelle the Conqueror
(Pelle Erobreren).
Photograph by Rolf Konow.
Counterglobalization
166
The concept of natural investment that underwrites the relevant co-
production model relies on two senses of the term
investment
. For the point
is to mobilize economic capital through what we may loosely call a libidi-
nal economy (following Jean-
Franois Lyotard), in this case, a mix of psy-
chological factors that make transnational collaboration desirable at some
deep level. One way of getting at the psychic dimension would be to say
that the natural coproduction model favored by the NFTF during its early
years presupposed the existence of overlapping epiphanic cultures, the
overlapping being a matter not of trivial traits or experiences but of the
kinds of signi cant texts or events that gure centrally in various
heritage
discourses because they are understood somehow to reveal or to make
manifest an enduring national identity. It is this revelatory dimension of
the cultural texts in question that warrants the use of the term
epiphanic
When the Nordic Film and TV Fund rst announced its guidelines
in the late 80s, eligibility for funding required the participation of at
least two Nordic countries in the production process as well as a certain
Nordic content (Andersen 1997, 342). The Nordic Council report pub-
lished in 1994 (Undersgelse af lm og TV distribution i Norden) was
one of a series of documents that prepared the way for the revised con-
ception of funding eligibility that is operative today. As of 1995 the em-
phasis was placed on distribution rather than production requirements,
with provisions for distribution in at least two Nordic countries being a
sine qua non for funding.
The 1994 report explored a concept of broad
appeal that is interesting, both in light of the early history of the NFTF
and in relation to recent developments. For a proposed lm to be viewed
as likely to appeal widely throughout the Nordic countries, the report
argued, at least three of the following factors would have to be generally
known to the relevant audiences: the lms basic idea; its theme; the story;
the scriptwriter; or, in the case of adaptations, the original literary work
on which the cinematic work was based; the actors; the lmmaker; and
the producer (Nordic Council 1994, 19).
Inscribed within the very concept of a natural coproduction, the fa-
vored model for Nordic collaboration during the initial phase of globaliza-
tion, was what we might call a content- driven rather than a person- driven
approach to transnational appeal. When I use the term
content
here, the
intention is to refer to what audiences take a given lm to be about in a
very broad sense. Aboutness may, then, encompass not only the story
world of a lm but also various well- established conceptions of why the
story world and its original creator (a canonized author, for example)
matter to a given community. A lms aboutness does not, however, typi-
Counterglobalization
167
cally include thoughts about those who somehow facilitate the lm as the
speci c means of its production: the actors, producers, and director. A
person- driven approach to appeal foregrounds the makers or creators in a
way that a content- driven emphasis on epiphanic culture does not.
The vision that excited policymakers in the late 80s and early 90s
was that of cinematic works that would be able to move Nordic audiences
by making salient forms of
deep cultural content
that are multiply claimed,
inasmuch as they sustain national imaginings in more than one Nordic
nation. In the NFTFs ideal scheme of things, natural coproductions would
be structured in such a way as to make culturally authentic modes of
engaging with various types of heritage content or culture available to
at least two national audiences while drawing attention to cultural dif-
ferentiation along national lines. While the envisaged model presupposes
some form of shared culture, clearly attitudes toward the cultural texts or
narratives in question may diverge to various degrees. The concept of a
natural coproduction hinges, in short, on the existence of multiple per-
spectives (arising from various national identities) on key cultural events
or achievements that animate the nations involved.
At this point, the NFTF explicitly states that funding does not hinge
on pan- Nordic thematic requirements, national quotas, or requirements
in regards
[sic]
to the artistic or technical staff.
Yet, it is not a matter of
abandoning the concept of pan- Nordic appeal but a matter of devising
new ways of ensuring that the desired appeal exists. The various elements
identi ed in the formula for ascertaining broad appeal are as relevant now
as they were in the early 90s, but
evidence
of likely appeal is in the capacity
to generate distribution agreements rather than in some proposed proj-
ects quasi- mathematical calculation, as analyzed by the NFTF. Yet, the
shift from production to distribution considerations does coincide with
the increasing importance of what sociologists would call action roles and
the importance of the persons who assume these roles, as compared with
sedimented and enduring cultural formations. That is, cinematic trans-
nationalism in the North no longer rests on the existence of a perspectiv-
ally in ected epiphanic culture that can be cinematically explored, for
viewers knowledge of and interest in speci c professionals whose sphere
of operation is Nordic, rather than national, are now key. In short, the
NFTFs decision to shy away from Nordic content in order to emphasize
Nordic cooperation as such, as well as the visibility of funded projects
in the North, has had the predictable effect of making people actors,
directors, and producers the motor force of Nordic transnationalism.
From the mid- 90s onward, distribution potential has been increasingly
Counterglobalization
168
connected to the intensi ed circulation of people who are willing and
able to respond to opportunities for continued professional involvement
throughout the North. And it is to this ongoing and growing circulation
of people that we must look if we are to understand how communicative
space in the Nordic countries has been genuinely transnationalized and,
by the same token, denationalized.
Self- Defeating Coproductions
The argument I am developing hinges on a contrast between artistically
or commercially successful natural coproductions and what I want to call
self- defeating coproductions. I will say more about what I mean by self-
defeating below. Brie y, the key point is that some lms are experienced
by audiences as unappealing because they incoherently call for contradic-
tory attitudes. What is striking, in my view, is the radical shift that has
occurred in the way in which audiences respond to elements of cultural
hybridity in Nordic coproductions. In the response to Bornedals Nordic
success,
I Am Dina,
we nd a means of measuring the relevant changes, for
here is a lm that in all likelihood would have quali ed as a self- defeating
coproduction had it been made in the late 80s or early 90s. I shall turn
and what it tells us about Nordic communicative space toward the
end of my discussion. At this stage a few clear examples of self- defeating
coproductions are needed.
A self- defeating coproduction is essentially a form of cinematic co-
operation in which paradoxical use is made of the basic principles of
cultural ownership and authenticity that are embedded in the concept
of a natural coproduction. A paradigmatic instance of a self- defeating
coproduction is Kjell Gredes
Hip Hip Hurra!
which focuses on the so-
called Skagen artists, a colony of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian artists
who were drawn, at the turn of the last century, to the northernmost tip
of Jutland in Denmark, where these painters found a natural luminosity
in line with their artistic vision and practice. Their community included
the Swedish painter and composer Hugo Alfvn, the Danish painters
Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher, the Swedish painter Oscar Bjrck,
the Danish painter and author Holger Drachmann, the Danish painter
Viggo Johansen, the Norwegian painter Christian Krogh, the Swedish
painter Johan Krouthen, the Norwegian- born Danish painter Peder
Severin Kryer, the Danish painter Marie Triepcke (who would become
Kryers wife), the Danish painter and art historian Karl Madsen, and the
Norwegian painter Eilif Peterssen. The focus in
Hip Hip Hurra!
is squarely
Counterglobalization
169
on Kryer, who, along with Anna and Michael Ancher, is typically under-
stood to have been a particularly central and animating presence. Kryer,
who was born in a madhouse in Stavanger in Norway and later adopted
by the established Danish zoologist Henrik Kryer, was educated at the
Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen, where he worked with Fredrik
Vermehren and Wilhelm Marstrand. That the lm is a bio- pic is clearly
signaled by the choice of title,
Hip Hip Hurra!
being the title of Kryers
rst masterpiece from his Skagen period. Painted in 1883, the impres-
sionist
Hip Hip Hurra!
depicts this community of artists gathered for a sum-
mer luncheon in an idyllic garden setting.
The lm explores the ways in
which a rare and positively childlike ability to experience joy combines
in Kryer with a madness that in all likelihood was a symptom of syphilis
and would result in his being committed to an asylum in Zealand later in
life. The drama of the lm stems in large measure from the depiction of
the painters tempestuous relation to his wife, Marie Triepcke, a person
with depressive tendencies who would ultimately leave him for Alfvn.
Joie de vivre, artistic genius, madness, and passion (both reciprocated and
unrequited) are the key ingredients in the Swedish directors historical
narrative.
The aim, Grede claims, was somehow to capture and explain
the almost mythical quality that surrounds the term
Skagen
in Nordic
culture, and not, as he underscores, to provide a kind of cinematic recon-
struction of the genesis of the paintings that the artists painted and that
people have so loved (Grede 1986). Grede was at pains throughout, he
insists, to avoid the temptations of kitsch temptations, we are to assume,
that arise easily in a context involving natural beauty, sensibilities that
respond at a deep level to this beauty, and artworks of an impressionist
nature. The decision to ask Sten Holmberg to assume the responsibilities
of cinematographer was in large measure prompted by the belief that he
would be able, as he indeed was, to capture the beauty that so moved the
artists, as well as the de ning features of their art, without embracing an
Counterglobalization
170
why does the National Museum attract six thousand visitors per day
during the winter months when they have a special exhibit . . . ? (Grede
1986). If the Skagen artists are a matter of heritage constructions, they
are so on a national scale (in multiple national contexts) as well as on a
transnational scale (in the Nordic context), and it is in this complexity of
scale that we nd the rationale for a natural coproduction.
As Jesper Andersen points out, however,
Hip Hip Hurra!
was originally
conceived but not ultimately realized as a natural coproduction:
Part of the strength of this joint Nordic project involved having a Swedish
actor play the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvn; a Norwegian actor, the
Norwegian painter Christian Krogh; and so on. Yet, in choosing the lead,
this principle was abandoned inasmuch as P. S. Kryer is played by the
Swedish Stellan Skarsgrd. This no doubt helps to explain why the lm
failed to draw viewers in Denmark.
Hip Hip Hurra!
foreshadowed a problem
of linguistic authenticity that would also hit later Nordic coproductions.
(1997, 343)
Andersens point is this: the lm focuses on Sren Kryer, a gure who
has been canonized as a Danish painter, yet in the ctionalized bio- pic
In a state of hallucination, Sren Kryer (Stellan Skarsgrd) sees his wife, Marie
Triepcke (Pia Vieth), and her lover, Hugo Alfvn (Stefan Sauk), in Kjeld Gredes
Hip Hip Hurra!
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171
Kryer is Swedish, not Danish. While the thwarting of common knowl-
edge about the nationality of the central persona may not entirely explain
the lms poor performance at the Danish box of ce, there can be no
doubt that it played an important role. That Gredes Danish- Swedish-
Norwegian coproduction should have sold a mere 49,948 tickets in
Denmark, a context where a lm that is successful in box of ce terms sells
Counterglobalization
172
in any exhaustive account of the works reception history are its broadly
modernist style and generally depressing themes.
Minor cinemas, it can be argued, abound with self- defeating copro-
ductions for reasons that are linked to the ever- present desire and need
somehow to gain access to audiences that transcend the level of the purely
national. In some instances the self- defeating dimension may be imposed,
against the will of the director, by the accidents or formal provisions of a
coproductions arrangement. In other cases the element of contradiction
may arise as the unintended effect of a strategy of multiple address involv-
ing an attempt to engage global audiences as well as national audiences.
In the context of minor cinema, it is tempting, it would appear, to leverage
national interest through deep epiphanic culture and to stimulate global
interest by sacri cing the authenticity of this cultural con guration, most
typically on the altar of Global English. Before attempting a succinct and
more analytic recapitulation of the self- defeating coproductions de ning
features, let me quickly point to two other examples, both of which take
us outside the framework of Nordic collaboration and into a European
context, where, of course, the concept of a natural coproduction and, hence,
the possibility of its contradictory instantiation also arise.
Wolf at the Door
is a Danish- French coproduction directed by Henning
Donald Sutherland as Paul Gauguin in
Wolf at the Door,
directed by Henning
Carlsen. Photograph by Rolf Konow.
Counterglobalization
173
Carlsen, a venerable Danish lmmaker who achieved international ac-
claim many decades ago with his adaptation of the Norwegian writer
Knut Hamsuns
Hunger
Sult,
1966).
Wolf at the Door
is a bio- pic much like
Hip Hip Hurra!
but the focus in this instance is on the French painter Paul
Gauguin and his relation to his Danish wife, Mette Gad, and to her family
and culture. Carlsens account of his reasons for making the lm are mov-
ing and personal:
Wolf at the Door
nds its starting point in 1980 when I was hospitalised in
Svendborg for a few weeks and actually hovered between life and death
for a while. One night, around half past three or four oclock in the morn-
ing, I woke up, and it was exactly as though there was a projector behind
me, and this projector was projecting a scene with a charabanc driving
through a forest onto the wall. As the charabanc reaches the curve in the
road it comes to a standstill and out gets Paul Gauguin, who raises his hat
and takes his leave. Hes speaking Danish, and then he simply walks away
in the direction of the hospital windows while the charabanc drives in
the direction of the hospital door. What I saw there on the wall was the
clearest of visions. I knew immediately that it was Gauguin. At that point
Id never seen a picture of Gauguin and I knew almost nothing about him.
(Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 51)
Carlsens research, much of it conducted at the Bibliothque Nationale in
Paris, led him to question the of cial and largely critical account of Paul
Gauguins life, the resulting lm being a bio- pic that amounts to a defense
of the painters decisions and actions. Gauguins neglect and abandonment
of his Danish wife and children, for example, are interpreted not as symp-
toms of personal vice but rather as the product of a cultural divide that casts
a deeply off- putting light on certain quintessentially Danish national traits.
A real history of communication between cultures, however problem-
atic, is thus the starting point for the lm, which involves precisely the
combination of Danish and French monies that one might expect. A key
casting decision intervenes, however, to disturb what might otherwise have
been a natural relation between economic and cultural investments:
Originally the idea was that the lm would be a 50/50 co- production
involving my own company and Gaumont in France. Gaumont was very
pleased with the script we handed in, but the discussions about who
should play the various roles were endless. When Jean- Claude Carrire
and I wrote the script in French, we modelled Gauguin on Donald Suther-
land without for a second imagining that he would ever play the role. But
Counterglobalization
174
I nally proposed Sutherland after all and he was very accommodating.
In fact, Id called him in England and he read the script that very same
night. The next day he said that he thought it was a good script, but
that hed like to make a quick trip to Paris, where his family was. He said
hed be leaving that weekend, and then we could talk once he got back.
I thought Donald Sutherland spoke French, and I hadnt for one second
thought about the language issue, which was, of course, rather naive on
my part. . . . But after having visited his family he called me in order to
decline the role because hed tried out some of the scenes in French with
his wife as a spectator and shed laughed her head off. I then suggested
that we could resort to dubbing, but he didnt want any part of that. When
I subsequently called Gaumont, they suggested that we make the lm in
English. (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 52)
An oversight in the form of an automatic yet ultimately unwarranted pre-
Counterglobalization
175
ample, the lm sold only 34,259 tickets). That Carlsens bio- pic fared well
in the United States is interesting and a clear indication that an appropria-
tion or reframing of the life as international rather than national heritage
has the effect of neutralizing and effacing authenticity concerns that are
directly linked to nationally in ected expectations and memories.
Another striking example of a self- defeating work is Gabriel Axels
The Prince of Jutland,
a lm that is typically listed as a Danish- British
coproduction, although some of the funding was derived from Dutch,
French, and German sources as well as from the supranational Eurimages
program. The lm is a reworking of the Hamlet story, drawing on Saxo
Grammaticuss medieval account of prince Amled, which also inspired
Shakespeare. Inasmuch as the Danish Amled spends a signi cant amount
of time in England, the tale of this prince and his deeply effective strategy
of revenge against his uncle Fenge (Gabriel Byrne) for the murder of his
father and seduction of his mother (Helen Mirren) provides a perfectly
natural basis for a coproduction involving Danish and British monies.
Various interviews with Gabriel Axel, including one with me in the
summer of 1995, clearly suggest thinking in line with what I call a poli-
tics of recognition, following Charles Taylor. The idea, in brief, was to
reclaim a narrative originally told by a Dane from the effective history
that institutionalizes it as a canonized English classic; to make salient and
invite recognition for aspects of Danish heritage culture as part of an
international dialogue of cultures. Axel traces his interest in the Amled
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176
English probably isnt such a bad one, because at that time the Danish lan-
guage was probably closer to English than what we today understand as
Danish (Moe 1994). The lm was a colossal failure, both at the box of ce
and with critics, who pointed to wooden acting, laughable dialogue, and a
generalized sense of amateurism.
The Prince of Jutland
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177
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178
deeply off-
putting. In some cases, for example, the breakdown arises as a
result of an entrenched nationalism and a generalized intolerance toward
cultural difference, particularly if it begins to impinge on areas that are
commonly understood in terms of cultural purity. Formal cinematic prop-
erties, such as sound, editing, or framing, may also play a decisive role.
If, for example, these basic cinematic elements have been mobilized in a
particularly skillful or seductive manner, then even audiences committed
to various forms of cultural authenticity might be willing momentarily to
suspend their commitments in favor of a more exible stance.
The largely positive reception of Bornedals
I Am Dina
is striking pre-
cisely because this lm instantiates many of the same elements of cultural
impurity that caused lms like
Hip Hip Hurra!
and
The Wolf at the Door
to
fail. In my view, the striking difference in response points to an emerg-
ing tolerance for cultural hybridity and a growing tendency among
Scandinavian audiences to invest in transnational Nordic identities. Also
evident here is the increasing willingness to settle for (and perhaps even
prefer) a loose more or less account of national culture as compared with
the all or nothing model favored by the more national audiences of the
80s and early 90s. If
The Wolf at the Door, The Prince of Jutland,
and
Hip Hip
Hurra!
are any indication, the choice some twenty years ago was between
exploring heritage in what would pass for an authentic mode or not explor-
ing it at all. In the contrast between Gredes self- defeating
Hip Hip Hurra!
and Bornedals signi cantly more popular
I Am Dina,
we nd clear signs
of a transnational communicative space in the North, the key question,
then, being how essentially national audiences operating within a series
of nationally de ned communicative spaces (marked signi cantly by only
one Other, namely, Hollywood) came to understand themselves in trans-
national terms. The answer, I believe, is to be sought, among other things,
in the performative effects of the circulation- based model of Nordic coop-
eration that replaced conceptions centered on epiphanic culture.
The Successor Model: Homophilia as the Basis for Circulation
A good deal of evidence suggests that the problems encountered with the
epiphanic model gradually resulted in a quite different approach to cine-
matic globalization in the North. Comments by various directors are re-
vealing in this respect. Henning Carlsen, for example, is delighted to note
that the coproductions that once drove cinematic transnationalism in the
North have given way at this point to lms that are merely co nanced.
The contrast, in his mind, hinges on the way in which coproductions
Counterglobalization
179
are expected somehow to make their signi cant cultural collaboration
manifest in the actual lm, whereas co nanced lms are freed from any
such epiphanic requirements (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 54). Susanne
Bier, director of the award- winning Dogma lm
Open Hearts (Elsker dig for
evigt),
is similarly attuned to the more recent emphasis on collaboration
without cultural strings attached: When we made
Family Matters
[1993],
co- productions were very much in their infancy and I have the feeling
that a different co- production model has emerged in the meantime. . . . I
dont believe in writing stories aimed at co- productions, but I do believe,
on the other hand, that theres a much greater degree of exchange now
than there used to be and that many more things get off the ground than
just ten years ago (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 243). What Bier draws
Counterglobalization
180
Sren Kragh- Jacobsen, the director of the Dogma lm
Mifune (Mifunes sidste
sang),
remarks: After all, we speak the same language. We like each other.
We know one another. . . . We have the same mentality.
The existence
of various forms of taken- for- granted homophily is here identi ed as the
basis for regular and relatively unproblematic cinematic cooperation in
the North. Statistics provide further evidence of this phenomenon: at the
Counterglobalization
181
Bondebjerg 2001, 243). Dagur Kri, the Icelandic director of the much-
praised Icelandic- Danish coproduction
Noi, the Albino
Ni albin,
2002),
graduated from the Danish Film School in 1999. And the list goes on.
The point is that as circulation of all kinds becomes the norm, national au-
diences cease to approach the results of various collaborative efforts with
the kinds of expectations that are prompted by and indeed constitutive of
national cinemas.
The increasingly transnationalized attitudes of Nordic audiences are
a key factor in the emergence of an integrated Nordic communicative
space, a point that is implicitly acknowledged in the Nordic Councils
Counterglobalization
182
conclude, then, with a few words about Bornedals
I Am Dina,
a story about
a young girl who accidentally causes the gruesome death of her mother
and nds herself emotionally rejected by her father, who simply cannot
forgive the child. The Danish directors adaptation of the Norwegian
Wassmos canonized novel is the result of collaboration between two
of Scandinavias most experienced lm producers . . . Danish producer
Per Holst of Nordisk Film, and Norwegian producer Axel Helgeland of
Northern Lights.
The cast is an international one, with a heavy em-
phasis on actors from both Denmark and Norway. The grown Dina is
played by Marie Bonnevie, the daughter of the Norwegian actress Jannik
Bonnevie and the Swedish actor Per Waldvik. Bonnevies training includes
a particularly formative year at the folk high school on the Danish island
of r, as well as several years at the prestigious Dramaten in Stockholm.
Her international breakthrough came as Gertrud in one of Danish Bille
Augusts successful Nordic heritage productions,
Jerusalem
(1996, based
on Selma Lagerlfs novel).
In addition to Bonnevie, Bornedals cast in-
cludes a number of other Nordic stars: Bodil Udsen (a prominent Danish
actress), Jrgen Langhelle and Bjrn Floberg (two well- known Norwegian
actors), and Pernilla August (one of the most established of Swedish ac-
tresses). When Grard Depardieu, Hans Matheson, and Kate Hardie are
thrown into this mix, along with the decision to make an eclectic combi-
nation of accented Englishes the language of the lm, there can be little
doubt that we have all the ingredients for a bona de Europudding stand-
ing in clear tension with heritage constructions on a national scale and
the expectations they generate.
Marie Bonnevie as the indomitable Dina in Ole Bornedals
I Am Dina.
Counterglobalization
184
Academy) and an Amanda for best actress (the equivalent of a Norwegian
Oscar) (Helgeland 2002). The press was for the most part very favorable
in both Denmark and Norway, unlike Sweden, where hostile reviews were
dominant.
I Am Dina
may not be a pan- Nordic blockbuster, but it is a lm
that manages, in spite of its hybridized cultural dimensions, to perform
unusually well in at least two Nordic countries.
Predictably enough, interviewers repeatedly asked Bornedal to justify
his decision to make use of what Wlad Godzich, in an interesting article
on the nature and dynamics of Global English, calls a disglossic strategy
(1999, 44), a strategy that registers here as an almost cheeky insistence
on a cacophony of accented Englishes. The justi cation, unsurprisingly,
has to do with reach, with the ambition of global appeal. As Bornedal
puts it: To people who ask why we didnt shoot in Norwegian, I say, why
didnt they shoot
Doctor Zhivago
in Russian? If they had perhaps 200,000
people would have seen the movie.
Yet the interviewers questions were
not necessarily framed as objections to the use of Global English, and any
possible objections along these lines certainly left audiences in Denmark
and Norway largely indifferent.
Bornedals dramatic departure from the
genre conventions of costume dramas and heritage lm appear to be im-
portant elements in
I Am Dina
s appeal. The audiences proven acceptance
of the lms amboyant refusal to establish a pattern of clear national
links between relevant heritage constructions and the various purvey-
ors of the lms story world no doubt also points to the pervasiveness of
Global English as a contemporary cultural force, as compared with the
time frame of
The Wolf at the Door
or
Hip Hip Hurra!
The ongoing dena-
tionalization of Nordic media spaces may well be the combined effect of
Global English and of the Nordic response to Global Hollywood, namely,
Nordic globalization through and as circulation.
It is important to note that the questions of cultural ownership that
once framed certain coproductions as natural persist in
I Am Dina
s diverse
contexts of reception, but in a signi cantly
transmuted
form. Norwegian
audiences emphasized the lms relation to a modern Norwegian classic,
while Danish audiences focused on Bornedals role as an ambitious and
amboyant Danish director. Yet Norwegian audiences were also attuned
to Bonnevies qualities as a Norwegian and Swedish star, just as Swedish
and Danish audiences acknowledged Wassmos role as a Nordic writer.
More important, the psychic investments completely bypass the idea of
cultural correspondence that informs the all or nothing conception of
the epiphanic model. Instead we nd a highly eclectic mix of engage-
ments and a striking tolerance for cultural hybridity. Norwegians, for
Counterglobalization
185
example, appear more than happy to enjoy Wassmos classic tale in a form
that is more or less recognizable in regard to national characteristics.
There is no objection, it appears, to the use of English, to the use of non-
Nordic actors, or to the fact that cinematic authorship and thus executive
control belongs to a Dane, not a Norwegian. Compare this situation with
the one experienced by Henning Carlsen in the mid- 90s in connection
with his Hamsun adaptation,
Two Green Feathers
Ive had exactly the same problem with
Two Green Feathers
which was mostly
a Norwegian production, although some Danish money was involved too;
Id also invested some of my own money in it. So the Institutes simply de-
cided to classify
Two Green Feathers
as a Norwegian lm with a Danish direc-
tor. But the Norwegian Film Institute has never promoted it internationally,
because when its time to send out a lm that represents Norway, they
always opt for a lm with a Norwegian, rather than a Danish, director.
Theres a way in which lms simply die as a result of being co- productions.
(Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 54)
The emergent and performative effect of abandoning earlier commit-
ments to overlapping epiphanic cultures in order to foster circulation of
various kinds, it appears, is precisely the sense of Nordic belonging that
Carlsen found lacking in 1995. In the reception of Bornedals
I Am Dina
some seven years later, we discern the
emerging
contours of a new and
genuinely transnational communicative space in the North.
English and the New Danish Cinema
I Am Dina,
I noted earlier, is part of a more general tendency within the
New Danish Cinema that consists in a preference for some kind of En-
glish, be it a matter of nonnative speakers (as in the case of Bornedals
lm) or of a (stellar) cast of native English speakers (as in Lars von Triers
Dogville
[2003]). English- language lmmaking has, of course, been char-
acteristic of von Triers lmmaking practice since
The Element of Crime
While this lm, as noted earlier, prompted a rede nition of Danish lm,
the disjunctive formulation provided in the Film Act of 1989 was clearly
predicated on the idea of some kind of balance between state- supported
lmmaking in Danish and state- supported lmmaking in English. What
the appropriate ratio might be was never spelled out but, rather, left to
the consultants sense of propriety and good judgment. That some of the
most successful directors of the New Danish Cinema are now following
the linguistic example rst set by Lars von Trier back in 1984 has been the
Counterglobalization
186
object of some consternation, which in turn reveals that denationalizing
efforts, mounted as part of a strategy for minor cinema in a global world,
have to involve certain constraints, although these need not be formally
articulated and can simply rely on some kind of implicit understanding or
informal convention. Without some notion of limits, however, denation-
alization quickly becomes a force contributing to the very kind of global-
ization that it was designed to resist.
Some of the most explosive debates between the Danish Film Institute
and the directors whose projects it should be funding have raised this
question of language. A statement made to the press by Vinca Wiedemann
in her capacity as one of the DFIs consultants caused a media furor in the
spring of 2000. Her claim, quite simply, was that priority would have
to be given to Danish- language lms in the future. What made this re-
mark so offensive to members of the Danish lm milieu (not least to Ole
Bornedal, Thomas Vinterberg, Lone Scher g, Lars von Trier, Nicolas
Winding Refn, and Sren Kragh- Jacobsen, all of whom were getting
ready to apply or were already in the process of applying for DFI support
for English- language lms) was not so much its semantic content which
in some ways merely reiterated a truism as its timing: the very day after
Lars von Trier and the Icelandic singer Bjrk had been fted at Cannes,
where the English- language musical
Dancer in the Dark
received both
the Palme dOr and the Best Actress Award. With many of the directo-
rial stars of the New Danish Cinema planning to shoot English- language
lms with international casts, apparently there was a need to remind lm-
makers that the state was rst and foremost in the business of supporting
contributions to a national (or,
la limite,
Nordic) culture, with use of a
particular natural language functioning as the most signi cant sign of
nation. The con ict between this view of appropriate state support and
the cosmopolitan drive and orientation of the New Danish Cinema was
amply illustrated by irate responses from some of the engines of innova-
tion within Danish lm: Lars von Trier and his producer partner, Peter
Aalbk Jensen, Thomas Vinterberg, and Ole Bornedal. So offensive was
the untimely construal of
Its All about Love, Dogville,
or
I Am Dina
as pe-
ripheral to the project of building a minor cinema in a global world, that
threats of emigration were bruited. Hyperbolic, theatrical, and reactive as
these threats might have been, they did serve to drive home the extent to
which any such emigration would register widely as a
national
loss.
Of the recent English- language releases,
Dogville,
not surprisingly,
has generated the most discussion. Like all of von Triers lms,
Dogville
involves a very precise artistic experiment, with the success or failure of
Counterglobalization
187
Counterglobalization
188
that I am actually able to do something thats commercially successful.
Because I havent proven that yet (cited in List 2003, 207).
Counterglobalization
189
on the use of English in Danish lm, but to make a case for seeing natural
language in lm as an area that might fruitfully be investigated by lm
scholars with an interest in understanding the dynamics of different
kinds of globalization. Theres been a certain resistance on the part of
lm scholars to looking carefully at the role played by natural language
in lm, notable exceptions being Hamid Na cys (2001) groundbreaking
account of accented cinema, Henrik Gottlieb and Yves Gambiers (2001)
collection on subtitling and dubbing practices, and Rick Altmans edited
volume entitled
Sound Theory, Sound Practice
(1992), which includes a prob-
ing discussion of Hollywood multilinguals by Natasa Durovicova. Yet,
natural language as a possible indicator of a particular globalizations
speci cities, especially in the context of small nations and minor cinemas,
appears to be promising (and still largely unexplored) terrain for future
Counterglobalization
190
inclines certain national audiences to tolerate distortions, originating in
the classi cation of a national heritage culture as international heritage,
which they would be unwilling to accept were a similarly distorted tale
to be told by a voice perceived as originating somehow from within a
national or transnational communicative space based on homophilia. At
a time when Danish audiences were rejecting cultural hybridity, in the
form of self- defeating coproductions, Sydney Pollacks cannibalization of
the life of Isak Dinesen registered as a major box of ce success within the
very same communicative space. The more important point to be made,
however, has to do with the moral and cultural rights of small nations in
an increasingly globalized world. The aim in the next chapter is not to
celebrate some pristine conception of cultural purity and authenticity but
191
International Heritage
192
Vincendeau 2001). Indeed, the anthropologists anger is in many ways a
matter of refusing the guilty pleasures to which these heritage scholars,
by their own admission, have found themselves succumbing when view-
ing lms such as
A Passage to India
(David Lean, 1985). The dominant emo-
tion that motivates Imperialist Nostalgia nds its starting point not only
in the perception of an inappropriate mix of thematic and visual elements
but also in the conviction that the deeper project of presenting colonial-
International Heritage
193
the public meanings that constitute Blixens life as a form of positive or
negative heritage culture. Ultimately, the problems pertain to the relative
position of cultures and nations within established, but also changing,
hierarchies of power and to a systematic disregard for the vexed issues of
ownership that the heritage phenomenon inevitably raises.
At this point, I want to expand the discussion of common culture
further by introducing yet another scale of heritage construction, that of
the international. And it is this shift in scale from the national or regional
to the international that justi es the inclusion of an analysis of Sydney
Pollacks Hollywood lm
Out of Africa
in this study focusing primarily
on contemporary Danish cinema. Pollacks lm sold 999,000 tickets in
Denmark between 1985 and 2001 and gures as number eight in the list of
top twenty lms from 1976 to 2001. The success of this Hollywood prod-
uct raises many important questions having to do with the psychology of
small nationhood and the appeal of global cultural dissemination, albeit
in distorted form. It also points to the inherently divisive nature of inter-
national heritage, to the fact that heritage has a zero- sum characteristic
and would appear to belong to someone and logically, therefore, not to
International Heritage
194
contributions are easily construed as a kind of international heritage,
as persons whose creations belong not to any given nation but to hu-
manity as such.
Yet, if there is such a thing as an international heritage, even the most
cursory glance at a few plausible instances thereof quickly reveals the
extent to which this cultural form involves not consensus or convergence
but rather con ict, or what Graham and his colleagues (2000) refer to as
dissonance. A key factor here concerns the question of ownership and
the way certain property relations are recon gured by the construction
of a given cultural gure or product as international heritage. A literary
oeuvre, for example, is always produced by an individual who in most
cases is a citizen of a given nation- state or at least an inhabitant of a geo-
graphic region that has become part of the territory of an existing nation-
state. Given the prevalence of ethnic conceptions of nationalism and
national identity, in which blood and lineage are taken to be de nitive of
national belonging, it is not surprising that birth should gure centrally in
many a national claim to ownership and, by extension, custodianship of
exceptional cultural contributions. Yet, an ethnic model of citizenship is
only one of many ways in which cultural ownership can be asserted. And
the point, of course, is that international heritage, to a far greater degree
than regional, national, or even pan- national heritage, involves a clash
between competing claims having to do precisely with the question: to
whom does a given instance of canonized culture
belong
A fascinating example of disputes over the repatriation of ancient cul-
tural artifacts that are variously understood somehow to be wrongly locat-
ed, and hence to involve the assertion of illegitimate claims to ownership,
helps to evoke the inherently dissonant nature of international heritage:
The German archaeologist Schliemann took what he believed to be the
treasures of Troy unearthed in the 1873 excavation to his native Berlin,
having rst paid the Turkish government the money they required and
having been refused permission by the Greek government to locate them
in Athens. The artefacts were subsequently looted by the Soviets in 1945
and recently revealed to be in the possession of the Russian state. While
Germany claims that its property should be returned, Russia argues that
the artefacts belong to humanity of which it is a representative. Mean-
while, both Turkey, in whose jurisdiction they were found, and Greece,
which claims to represent the Homeric Greeks and Trojans, could make
counter- claims. This case is typical of many where looting and re- looting
leaves national governments arguing their respective rights over proper-
International Heritage
195
ties which were created long before any of these governments, or the
states they represent, existed. (Graham et al. 2000, 222)
What we have in this complex case is an insistence not only on strictly
legal but also on more informal moral rights, each argument with its own
basis of legitimacy. The highly divergent nature of these interests points
to the ways in which heritage tends in practice to be a zero- sum game,
with the effective inheritance of some parties logically entailing the dis-
inheritance of others. Only the Russian argument relies explicitly on a
notion of international heritage, on the idea of an entitlement pertaining
to humanity rather than to a given people. Pragmatically, however, the
reference to a universal humanity looks very much like a mere means
to an end in a zero- sum game of appropriation and disinheritance. The
artifacts, in short, are effectively constituted as elements of international
heritage quite simply by virtue of the way in which they end up focalizing
the competing claims of diverse national stakeholders.
The dissonance that is the emergent effect of this process of converg-
ing claims and counterclaims is a central feature of international heritage,
which by no means rests on a consensual severing of earlier or currently
competing links to a regional or national framework. The asymptotic
ideal implicit in the concept of an international heritage may well be a
form of global entitlement, but the reality, more often than not, is quite
simply more- or- less con ictual assertions of rights to ownership. This
seems to be particularly true when the internationalism in question is
purely informal, the result quite simply of the emergent effects of various
processes of reception and appropriation. To a certain extent dissonance
may be attenuated or effaced when the construction of heritage as inter-
national is more formal in nature, originating, for example, in initiatives
taken by UNESCO or the World Heritage Committee. While the exis-
tence of 469 of cially designated heritage sites at the turn of the century
points to the progress that has been made since the 1960s in instituting a
nondivisive concept of international heritage, the goal continues to pro-
voke intense controversy. A recent example is the ery dispute that broke
out in 2000 on the west coast of Denmark, where citizens took issue with
the loss of local autonomy and control with the disinheritance, one
might say that would occur if small islands such as Fan were included
on the relevant UNESCO list.
What I want to do here, then, is to revisit the bio- pic, not in the con-
text of a national heritage and the nationalist sentiments that its cinematic
articulations are designed to provoke, but as a way of exploring the role
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196
played by cinema in the construction of an international heritage cul-
International Heritage
197
life in question
matters
to certain small nations. The discussion will center
on individual and collective
moral
rights, phenomena that have yet to be
analyzed in detail by lm scholars.
The discussion of individual and collective rights has tended until
recently to focus on a narrow and somewhat formalistic range of ques-
tions, with little or no recognition of the normative issues raised by ethno-
cultural con icts, as Will Kymlicka and Ian Shapiro point out (1997, 34).
The intention here is to clarify some of these normative issues in the rather
speci c context of Global Hollywoods appropriation of various national
heritage cultures.
The issues that I am putting on the agenda for discussion are by no
International Heritage
198
honest and truthful portrait of the authors life, as experienced by him and
re- experienced in a re- creation that brings the audience into immediate
closeness with the author as a human being and a personality. (81)
Yet, we would be misrepresenting the thrust of Dreyers text if we were
to focus only on the nationalist dimensions of the bio- pic he envisages.
What is interesting about his discussion of Hans Christian Andersen as
a national gure commanding interest both at home and abroad is the
way in which it frames international heritage, and its characteristic dis-
sonances, as a threat that the Danish lm industry would do well to take
seriously. Danes, in short, are urged to assert their right to their cultural
heritage by making the bio- pic themselves and by ignoring Hollywood
norms that would favor ctitious love plots and sex appeal. Dreyer also
urges Danes to produce a lm based on Hans Christian Andersens tales,
and his remarks clearly indicate that he is concerned about the risk that
Hollywood lmmakers might appropriate not only the public persona
of the writer but also his writings as instances of international heritage
culture. Danish lm, he claims, should not wait until this rich national
treasure is taken from our hands but rather should immediately set to
work (Dreyer [1939] 1973, 88). Already in 1939, what Dreyer sought to
preempt was precisely the kind of lm that Charles Vidor would eventu-
ally direct (
Hans Christian Andersen,
1952): a bio- pic that displaces, rather
than further entrenches, preferred national interpretations of a life, as
images of a charismatic Danny Kaye assume salience in various popular
imaginations. Not surprisingly, Dreyer assumed that the construction
of Hans Christian Andersens life as international heritage would occur
not in the context of any number of other minor cinemas but, rather, in
International Heritage
199
tage lm, it could be argued, is a matter of transporting a life, understood
both as intimate core and nationally available signi cations, into a quite
different cultural register.
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200
involve, in short, the transformation of a minor cultures cultural capital
into modes of expression and signi cance that resonate within a hege-
monic culture with global reach.
The division between major and minor cultures does not re ect a
genuine assessment of the relative merits of cultural traditions but rather
re ects the role played by certain political, demographic, linguistic, and
geographical factors in determining cultural salience. Nor can properties
such as small and large or major and minor be assigned in any kind of
International Heritage
201
Rights and Duties
An attempt to understand the duties of cinematic biographers leads quite
naturally to a consideration of the rights of the individuals whose lives are
given cinematic form, and vice versa. Rights, as Brenda Almond (1991)
points out, can be divided into different categories, such as claims, pow-
ers, liberties, and immunities, and if a case can indeed be made for think-
ing about cinematic biography in terms of rights, the key category ap-
pears to be that of claims. Inasmuch as real historical persons are the sine
qua non of any bio- pic, certain fundamental human rights necessarily
impinge on the genre. A key difference between purely imagined ctional
characters and the kind of historically anchored characters that inhabit
the bio- pic is that the latter have a right to make demands similar to those
directed at the people with whom we interact in our daily lives. Behind
the quasi- ctionalized character in any bio- pic stands a real historical
gure with a genuine investment, we assume, in the manner in which he
or she is represented. The relevant individual may be long since deceased
and physically incapable of articulating any claims in connection with
the lms representations. Yet, if the basic right to respect continues even
after death, as the existence of any number of practices clearly suggests
it does, then so do the corresponding claims continue. Knowing that the
person once lived among us as a fellow human being makes a certain kind
of stance appropriate, one that acknowledges the claims that she would be
likely to make in response to a particular account of her life. Just as living
persons, in a Kantian view of things, have the right to demand that they
be treated in a way that accords with their status as beings with dignity,
so too can we postulate an implicit claim to respect on the part of the
deceased, inasmuch as she is somehow returned to us through the magic
of cinema. In short, there is coherence in the idea that rights and accom-
panying claims are by no means nulli ed by death.
A distinguishing feature of claims is that they, unlike powers, liber-
ties, or immunities, generate corresponding duties, as in the following
example: A right to have a loan repaid is a claim by a creditor which
generates a corresponding duty on the part of the debtor to make the
repayment (Almond 1991, 262). This internal link between claims and
duties supports the idea that cinematic biography is indeed a phenome-
non involving the speci c category of rights called claims. For the project
of articulating the basic claims that we might imagine the subjects of
bio- pics to make is not a purely theoretical one but one aimed, at least
ideally, at the modi cation of lmmaking practices based on a deeper
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202
understanding and acceptance of the duties of lmmakers. If bio- pics, by
their very nature, are situated within a horizon of claims made by indi-
viduals and, arguably, collectivities, then lmmakers are indeed the agents
whose shoulders in large measure bear the weight of the corresponding
duties. My emphasis here on the collective agency of lmmakers merely
re ects my understanding of where responsibility is strongest rather than
the idea that other types of agency remain untouched by the duties that
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203
inhabit together.
It follows from the intimate connection between can-
onization and national identity that interests other than purely individual
ones are at stake in cinematic treatments of signi cant lives and achieve-
ments. Following this line of reasoning, the implicit claims making that
International Heritage
204
new laws. Indeed, to take the case of individual claims, the idea of legis-
lating respect for an individuals favored self- conceptions can only evoke
International Heritage
205
to their private affairs. Private in this instance refers to all matters not
affecting the persons conduct, tness, or role in his public capacity (85).
Liability for harm in icted on a public person qua private individual exists
if and only if it can be clearly established that this person was knowingly
and intentionally harmed by behavior of a reckless and negligent nature
(85). Given that the public and private aspects of famous or canonized
lives can be disentangled only with great dif culty, it seems clear that indi-
vidual legal rights leave the behavior of docudramatists, and, by extension,
cinematic biographers, largely untouched.
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206
most important work to be adapted by Henning Carlsen was an attempt to
forge a link between the notorious writer and the aura of political virtue
that surrounds Denmarks role in the war. In short, the idea appears to
have been to use the symbolic signi cance of the directors nationality and
his vision of the properly artistic contributions of the authors work as a
combined means of affecting a trans guration, a certain rehabilitation of
the writers image. The recognition that Hamsun had once enjoyed on the
basis of literary merit, later undermined by his infamous politics, was to be
revived in an adaptation that would, not uncharacteristically, be a heritage
lm and a kind of bio- pic in disguise. It is this conception of the lms
potentially transformative function that explains the decision to sell the
rights to Carlsen rather than to one of the other contenders at the time.
What Carlsens narrative highlights is the role that foundations, family
members, and other mediators who control certain oeuvre- related rights
can play in facilitating or obstructing certain cinematic constructions
International Heritage
207
Out of Africa
At this point my argument about rights and duties is best advanced by
means of a case study. A prime candidate for analysis, I have suggested,
is Sydney Pollacks
Out of Africa,
for this international heritage lm is pre-
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208
of shooting but also by critical responses to the nished lm. The lm
was far more positively received in Denmark, and this divergence of the
responses of two small nations allows us to put yet another key issue on
the agenda for discussion: if negative responses point to the violation of
collective moral rights, should positive responses then count as evidence
of respect for these same rights? Also, if the radical differences between
Kenyan and Danish responses to Pollacks lm are in fact charged with
International Heritage
209
while her decision to move to Kenya was motivated by a sense of adven-
ture, it was also an expression of a deep sense of alienation. The following
remarks, which are taken from one of Blixens letters to her mother, are
anything but uncharacteristic:
If I had a son I would send him to Eton. In Denmark where everyone has
grown up in the same restricted conditions I think it would be a good
thing to have a little injection of different ways of thinking now and again;
out here one sometimes feels that most peoples horizon at home is re-
stricted to an unfortunate extent. (May 17, 1918; Lasson 1981, 67)
In an earlier letter to her mother, Ingeborg Dinesen, Blixen complains
about the incredibly provincial nature of the Danish daily
Politiken,
which
she no longer wishes to receive because it systematically highlights for her
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suddenly I received dozens of charming letters from American soldiers
and sailors all over the world: The book had been put into
Armed Forces
Editions
little paper books to t a soldiers pocket. I was very touched.
(Plimpton 1976, 78)
American readers were the rst to recognize the value of Blixens writ-
ings, and she identi ed strongly with the American reception of her work.
What is more, the dynamics of recognition in the context of small nations
is such that Blixens transcendence of her own national framework contrib-
uted signi cantly to her emergence as a national writer. The question does
indeed arise as to whether Blixen would be the kind of national heritage
phenomenon that she is in Denmark today were it not for the leveraging
effect that is generated by the cultural prestige of foreign recognition.
The twists and turns of misrecognition and recognition, combined with
the tension that the author perceived between her favored beliefs and
typically national dispositions, clearly undermine the idea that the Danish
nation might naturally own that instance of national heritage that is
Blixen simply by virtue of her nationality. We note, in short, that Blixens
construction as a heritage phenomenon on the national scale includes, as
a condition of its very possibility, an element of the international. What
the implications of this originary hybridity are for the issue of claims and
corresponding duties in the context of Pollacks bio- pic is a complicated
matter to which I return below.
Yet, it is important to note that Blixens sense of belonging is properly
ambivalent,
a matter, that is, of oscillations between the kind of critique
that marks distance and the various expressions that, each in its own way,
identify not only a longing for home but a deep belonging after all. For
example, not only did Blixen go on to publish extensively in her mother
tongue, but also she herself undertook the arduous task of translating her
stories into Danish so that they would have the originality made possible
by self- translation:
When, for my amusement, I wrote this book in English, I didnt think it
would have any interest for Danish readers. Now it has been its destiny
to be translated into other languages, and it was therefore natural that it
should also be published in my own country. I have very much wanted
it to be published in Danish as an original Danish book and not in any
no matter how good translation. (cited in Kure- Jensen 1993, 315)
Blixens deep commitment to aspects of Danish culture also comes through
in her letters, in which she frequently expresses a desire to read and reread
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the Nordic texts that shaped her during adolescence. More important, in
Blixens letters and lectures we nd evidence of the extent to which she
understood herself to have been shaped by the very smallness that is
such a constitutive feature of national identity in Denmark from the mid-
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of France, Britain, and Italy, Blixen goes on to identify a positive role for
small nations:
But then one thinks: can it not be that small nations should feel it their
duty to make a stand in favor of the purely human ideas of right and
wrong, since they would not be suspected of being led by their own po-
litical interests? (September 18, 1927; Lasson 1981, 317)
Interestingly, Blixen here interprets marginality not as something that
small nations should seek always to overcome but as a condition enabling a
unique contribution to human rights within an international framework.
Blixens responsiveness to the asymmetrical relations governing small
and large nations, as well as to the value of aspects of Danish culture, cre-
ates a certain cohesiveness between the authors self- conceptions and her
national signi cance, which in turn lends support to a notion of owner-
ship based on nationality and ethnic belonging. Yet, as we have seen, the
larger historical picture highlights dissonance and the causal ef cacity
of an international reception, which suggests that if we are to speak of
ownership in relation to this canonized life, we must do so in distributive
terms that acknowledge the diverse ways in which property rights of a
purely moral nature can arise. The processes of literary reception that
underwrite the authors canonization would appear, precisely, to point to
multiple legitimate stakeholders.
Yet, there are key differences among the claims that these diverse
stakeholders can make, which terms such as
cultural de cit, longue dure, social
bond, contemporary privilege,
and
benevolence
help to register. Let me explain.
In their suggestive account of what they call minor literature, Gilles
Deleuze and Flix Guattari point to the way in which everything takes
on a collective value in contexts of scarcity caused by precisely the kinds
of factors we associate with small nations: Because talent isnt abundant
in a minor literature, there are no possibilities of an individuated enun-
ciation that would belong to this or that master and could be separated
from a collective enunciation (1986, 17). The value of a given instance
of heritage culture, to translate the insight into the terms of the present
discussion, is signi cantly magni ed by the speci cities of small- nation
status. The point I am trying to make was put poignantly many years ago
by David Bordwell when I rst embarked on this book: Small nations
are the kind of nations that have one of everything: one great lmmaker,
one great philosopher, one great composer.
This playful conversational
rejoinder makes salient the problem of a cultural de cit entailed by small
nationhood. This de cit results both from the statistical odds against the
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presence of abundant talent within a small population of citizens and
from the dif culties involved in accessing larger transnational or inter-
national public spheres from the margins. The de cit, in short, re ects
both an objective scarcity and the pragmatics of intercultural exchange
across national boundaries and among small and large nations. What is
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agents. For, if cinematic biography is a vehicle for recognition or mis-
recognition, the effects are registered by the living, not the dead. This
privileging of a contemporary moment reinforces the moral claims of co-
nationals, for the discussion focuses on cases in which the canonized life
that is mobilized in a major vein
currently
resonates with meaning for the
individuals national community.
It is important, however, to qualify this point about psychic invest-
ment, for while a canonized life typically functions as a focus for positive
energies, that same life may resonate with negative meanings for other
agents who contest the legitimacy of a positive heritage construction and
instead prefer either a process of neglect and forgetting or, more critical-
ly, the insertion of this life into a form of heritage construction centered
not on what is worth celebrating but on what is too terrible to be forgot-
ten. In the case of Blixen, for example, the claims that co- nationals might
make are caught up with positive heritage constructions, whereas those
made by politicized Kenyans underscore the atrocities of colonialism and
the sheer immorality of nostalgic celebration. A concept of benevolence,
which Charles Taylor (1989) glosses as a quintessentially modern moral
source involving a deep- seated commitment to the avoidance of suffer-
ing, helps to settle disputes between these kinds of competing claims.
Claims that are directly linked to the iniquities of widely recognized
historical atrocities or injustices have a particular force on account of the
role that benevolence plays in constituting a basic framework for action
and deliberation within a quintessentially modern moral space.
Freedoms of Fiction, Seductions of the Real
Understanding the cinematic biographers duties toward individuals and
collectivities presupposes a grasp of the ways in which ction and non-
ction intersect in
Out of Africa
and, arguably, in bio- pics more generally.
There is a hybridity of form, intention, and appeal that is unique to the
bio- pic and has a direct bearing on the question of rights and duties. Let
us begin with some basic facts about the Blixen lm. The credits and an-
notated screenplay indicate that the lm is based on
Out of Africa
and
other writings by Isak Dinesen,
Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller
by Judith
Thurman, and
Silence Will Speak
by Errol Trzebinski (Luedtke 1987, 162).
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from Africa
and the book of African memoirs entitled
Shadows on the Grass,
which was published in 1960, twenty- three years after
Out of Africa
. What
we have here is a combination of biography, aesthetic or ctionalized
autobiography, letters, and memoirs as the basis for a bio- pic. Pollacks
stated intentions were to adapt the ctional autobiography, which he
refers to as one of the most beautiful books ever written (Luedtke 1987,
preface by Pollack, vii), and to do so in a manner that would chronicle
a life. Referring to his screenwriters special gifts, Pollack articulates his
own self- understanding in terms of the biographers role: It was Kurts
[Luedtke] perceptions and grasp of the material and Judiths insights that
enabled us to make the lm of Karen Blixens years in Africa (vii). There
is the assumption here of literal reference, inasmuch as the screen char-
acter is held to correspond at some level to a real historical person. What
is more, the intention is to convey certain truths about the individual in
question, to invite viewers to assume that what is true in the story world
of the lm is true to a signi cant degree of the historical life too.
Yet, Pollacks lm is a bio- pic, not an instance of documentary lm-
making, and the difference has to do with the ways in which it combines
truth and ction. In the case of
Out of Africa,
the issue of ctionalization
presents itself in a somewhat unusual manner, inasmuch as the lm is
based, at least in part, on a ctionalized autobiography. The lm, in short,
takes as its starting point an already ctionalized account of a life. As
Suzanne Nalbantian points out, the motives of autobiographical novel-
ists, a category of writers that includes Blixen qua author of
Out of Africa,
are quite different from those of strict autobiographers. Whereas the
former seek to hide, embellish and transform key aspects of their lives,
the latter write on the assumption of a truth claim, as if [their] writings
were to be received in the same manner as historical fact (1994, 2). One
might also add that theorists of autobiography in uenced by deconstruc-
tion have called into question the stability of this distinction in favor of
a conception of autobiography that foregrounds the ef cacity of writing,
which is only partly an instrument of conscious intentions. On this view,
then, autobiography is necessarily a vehicle for both self- invention and
self- masking. An oft- cited intervention along these lines is, of course,
Paul de Mans Autobiography as De- facement, which concludes as fol-
lows: Autobiography . . . deprives and dis gures to the precise extent
that it restores. Autobiography veils a defacement of the mind of which
it is itself the cause (1984, 81). What is clear is that the factual basis for
Pollacks
Out of Africa
is suffused with ction, whether we favor a moder-
ate realism or a deconstructivist skepticism.
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Yet, if
Out of Africa
is a characteristic example of the bio- pic as a hybrid
form of lmmaking in which fact and ction are strategically combined,
we have yet to identify the true locus of the works ctions, which have to
do with the intentions of the lmmaker. The kind of invention that under-
writes Blixens self- depictions is not, in other words, what I have in mind
when I speak of the bio- pic as ctionalizing real lives. The productive or
creative dimension of her discourse points rather to features of the facts
on which bio- pics are based. Heritage culture, to which the canonized
lives of the bio- pic genre clearly belong, is the result of appropriations of
the past motivated by present needs and purposes of which the relevant
agents may be only dimly aware. Heritage is not dispassionate history by
other means but rather a kind of needy mobilization and reworking of
historical materials involving myths and legends. Canonized lives come
to us, in short, as discursively constructed entities, as of cial stories in
which fact, in the sense of the truth of the matter, gures alongside myths
that pass as fact because of the inertias of convention or the ef cacities
of dense networks of mutual beliefs. Proponents of a modernist account
of nationalism and national identity have done much to draw attention to
the myth making at the heart of heritage constructions, and their archive
of mythical facts includes many amusing examples ranging from the an-
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a good story may well take precedence not only over literal truth and estab-
lished myth but also over a direction of salience that truth and myth lend
to a historical life. What Mary Louise Pratt (1977) has called tellability, in
short, may well be held to require inventions that effectively transform the
very style or basic orientation of a life. Pollacks preface to
Out of Africa: The
Shooting Script
underscores the importance of cinematic tellability:
I did not want to be the one who nally brought
Out of Africa
to the screen
only to have it turn out to be a lot of pretentious posturing in literary
clothing, something that would violate all the basic principles of good
moviemaking, beginning with What is the story? (Luedtke 1987, xiii)
If we accept that facts about style, narrative form, and plot structure
may count as evidence that a given work is ction (Currie 1990, 2),
then it is interesting to note that most cinematic biographers favor a clas-
sical narrative form.
Natalie Zemon Daviss fascinating account of her
role as historical consultant to the scenarist Jean- Claude Carrire and the
director Daniel Vigne during the production of
Le retour de Martin Guerre
The Return of Martin Guerre,
1982) has the effect of foregrounding the im-
peratives, but also the limitations, of the relevant mode of narration. This
is how Davis describes the key narrative differences between the histori-
ans and the lmmakers approach to the true story of how Arnaud du Tilh
assumed the identity of Martin Guerre:
The lm was departing from the historical record, and I found this trou-
bling. . . . These changes may have helped to give the lm the powerful
simplicity that had allowed the Martin Guerre story to become a legend
in the rst place, but they also made it hard to explain what had actually
happened. Where was there room in this beautiful and compelling cine-
matographic recreation of a village for the uncertainties, the perhapses,
the may- have- beens, to which the historian has recourse when the
evidence is inadequate or perplexing? Our lm was an exciting suspense
story . . . but where was there room to re ect upon the signi cance of
identity in the sixteenth century? (Davis 1983, viii)
While Pollack shows little evidence of sharing Daviss historical scruples,
he is equally attuned to the narrative conventions of the bio- pic genre:
The central problem we faced in bringing Dinesens book [and life in
Kenya] to the screen was . . . the lack of conventional narrative (Luedtke
1987, vii). The process of creating the requisite narrative form, it turns out,
typically involves reshaping real lives so as to forge a tighter t between
lived experience and the regularities of those established genres that help
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to frame a bio- pic such as
Out of Africa
as romance or
The Return of Martin
Guerre
as a suspense drama. It may also be a question of refashioning an es-
tablished life in order to generate a plot that not only achieves closure but
also is driven toward an increasingly inevitable conclusion by tight con-
nections between causes and their effects. Although the formal features of
a given cinematic biography cannot determine its ctional or non ctional
status, they can provide clues as to the directors intentions. The promi-
nence of a classical narrative style especially in Hollywood examples of
the bio- pic genre suggests that some of the guiding intentions of cinematic
biographers are ctive in Curries sense.
Bio- pics, it turns out, involve a mix of intentions that make their ctional
or non ctional status dif cult to determine, and this, I would argue, is pre-
cisely the point of the genre. Yet, the intentions of the cinematic biographer,
we must admit, can be mixed in ways that have profoundly different ethi-
cal implications. In cases where the aspiration of the biographer is to make
the screen resonate with the deeper signi cance of a life as she perceives
it, the invitation ultimately to believe rather than merely to make believe
remains intact in spite of inevitable concessions to tellability and narrative
drive, coherence, and closure. The situation is quite different, however, if
the idea is to mobilize the cultural prestige of a canonized life in order to
leverage interest in what is essentially a story told with an emphasis on the
pleasures of make- believe. In this case, the strategy is to use the seductive
appeal of real lives as a quasi- voyeuristic mechanism for intensifying the
narrative pleasures generated by a storied life, with so great an autonomy
from the real that we begin to suspect the same story might well have been
told without the hook of belief and within the framework of make- believe
alone. And the extent of the autonomy of a cinematic life from the lifes re-
ality (in the broadest sense) is a direct measure of the lmmakers abidance
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lie has yet to be answered, and it is to this task that I now turn. In an article
entitled Imaginary Gardens and Real Toads, Felicia Ackerman (1991) ar-
gues persuasively that the activity of basing ction on actual people can
in ict harm and thus should be governed by certain ethical principles.
In what follows, my attempt to identify the most basic duty of cinematic
biographers draws heavily on Ackermans general intuitions and, more
speci cally, on the fourth of the seven types of harm that she describes.
Ss life [
stands for source] may be used to illustrate a lesson whose moral
he considers not only wrong, but repugnant. For example, if S is an unhappy
person who also happens to be a con rmed atheist who is proud of atheism,
a religiously oriented writer might write a novel about S whose theme is the
inevitable bankruptcy and misery of the non- religious life. (1991, 143)
What is at issue here is the extent to which an agents preferred self-
understandings are violated or ignored. While Ackermans account helps
to clarify cinematic biographers duties to the individual subjects of bio-
pics, it provides no guidance in regard to the ways in which bio- pics may
harm the collectivities that lay claim to canonized lives. The current dis-
cussion thus aims to expand the scope of Ackermans analysis by bringing
a notion of collective harm into the picture.
I want to begin by drawing attention to a duty that cinematic biogra-
phers have to the individuals whose lives provide the basis for cinematic
works. The aim, in a subsequent moment, is to identify one of the biog-
raphers key duties to the collectivities for whom the canonized person
has special signi cance. A description of these two duties effectively high-
lights a related individual and collective right. In the rst case, the duty, it
turns out, is unaffected by questions of citizenship or by relations between
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Self- conceptions are the means agents have of de ning who they are
or wish to be. It is a unique feature of human agents to be able to judge
and rank their desires according to their worth. Agents, more speci cally,
are capable of engaging in what Charles Taylor calls strong evaluation;
that is, they have the ability to demonstrate a re exive awareness of the
standards they are living by (or failing to live by) (1985a, 103). Self-
conceptions come into play when signi cant choices between actions re-
ect qualitatively different modes of life: fragmented or integrated, alien-
ated or free, saintly or merely human, courageous or pusillanimous and so
on (Taylor 1985b, 16). Thus, for example, an agent may have to choose
between the desire to be a wife and the desire to be an artist, between the
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Revenge of Truth
. Blixens interest in the arts was never limited to literature.
For a while she contemplated becoming a painter, attending drawing les-
sons at the Misses Meldahl and Sodes Art School in Copenhagen and later
at the Danish Academy of Art. Blixens investment in literature, drawing,
and painting by far exceeded what was required of a young woman of her
social standing. Art, for Blixen, was very much a mode of life and a means
of creative self- fashioning. What is more, Blixens af rmation of the arts, as
an artist rather than a mere appreciator, was also a rejection of the conser-
vative expectations that surrounded the upper- middle- class life trajectory
that was most readily available to her. That Blixens identity from an early
age was deeply caught up with art is clearly evidenced by her rebellious
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in such despair that I ung brush and paints on the oor and said to Farah:
Take it away and burn it, I will never look at it again,
and that sensible Farah
quietly took it away but came up to me a day or two later and said:
Try one
more day, then I think that God shall help you and it shall be very good.
(156)
The letter indicates that Blixens attitude toward painting was passionate
and intense. That she thought about her work in professional terms is
underscored by a letter she sent her mother in 1924, in which she gives
Ingeborg Dinesen some instructions regarding some paintings that had
been sent home with the Bursells. The aim is to recruit her mothers sup-
port in getting her paintings out of the private and into the public sphere:
I dont know whether there might be a possibility of getting them into
some exhibition or other; that would be interesting, naturally, because then
I would get more criticism on them. (197)
Painting, for Blixen, was not simply a casual pastime but a privileged means
of self- de nition, a key element in the construction of the artists persona
in which she so consistently invested.
With the exception of one scene in which Meryl Streep is shown
seated at her desk,
Out of Africa
provides no indication at all of Blixens
writerly dispositions. What is more, the purpose of this particular scene
seems to be to underscore the humorous nature of the Kikuyu childrens
response to Blixens cuckoo clock rather than Blixens deep- seated need
and ability to write. Although Blixen began to write extensively only after
she returned to Denmark, she did write a number of poems, some short
stories, and a couple of her Gothic tales during her years in Kenya. In a
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The lm spectator is made privy to only the opening and concluding
lines of the story, which, surprisingly and objectionably, is entirely a
Kurt Luedtke invention. Throughout most of the scene, Streeps voice
is drowned out by John Barrys original compositions, which appeal to
tastes quite different from those of Blixen and Finch Hatton, who pre-
ferred Schubert and Stravinsky to Mozart and Mahler (Marcussen 1986,
33). Evidence of Blixens talent is supposed to be provided by a series of
re action shots focusing on an engrossed Denys Finch Hatton and an
equally enthralled Berkeley Cole. Although such reaction shots do suggest
the mens growing interest in Blixen, they do nothing to convey the full
force of her expressive capacities. The reaction shots have the effect, quite
simply, of shifting attention away from Blixen and toward Finch Hatton
and his awakening desires. In a telling scene that supposedly takes place
the following day, Finch Hatton gives Blixen a pen in return for her stories,
urging her to write them down some day. The suggestion is that Blixens
identity as a writer can be traced to her romantic attachment to Finch
Hatton and to his interest in her stories. Although Blixen did tell Finch
Hatton stories and clearly cared greatly about his response, he was by
no means the only, or even the most important, member of her audience.
Blixen, we know, corresponded at great length with her family about her
writings and sought to have her work read and published by professionals.
What is more, the audience she emphasized most frequently in letters and
interviews is African, not British:
But earlier, I learned how to tell tales. For, you see, I had the perfect audi-
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outlandish costumes and willful exaggeration is replaced by a fussy female
concerned most of all about her china, her crystal, and her relation to an
elusive man. Pollack, as Susanne Fabricius (1986) points out, makes Blixen
conform to precisely the feminine ideal against which she rebelled so ve-
hemently. Viewers are given no sense at all of Blixens intense feminism
(Stambaugh 1993, 157). In Pollacks
Out of Africa,
Blixen is adrift without
her man, a point that is underscored in an invented scene in which Finch
Hatton, having discovered Blixen lost in the African bush, gives her a com-
pass by which to steer. Finch Hatton, it turns out, requires no compass:
(small grin)
Dont worry about us well be all right. (Luedtke 1987, 58)
If an agents privileged self- understandings are ignored to the point
that it becomes impossible rationally to impute any of the relevant strong
evaluations to the corresponding cinematic character, then the initial
decision to borrow rather than merely invent a life becomes ethically
questionable. In the case of Blixen, the self- conceptions that are system-
atically effaced gure centrally within the canonized life that functions
as an important heritage resource within Denmark, which raises the issue
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beyond national borders and was relatively well versed in the classics of
world literature, Danish writers provided not only a dialogic starting point
for her artistic self- understandings but also, during the years in Kenya, a
sense of home away from home. While many of these writers are at the
core of Danish national heritage constructions, they remain part of what
is essentially a minor literature with only minimal signi cance and recog-
nition value on the international scale of literary heritage. Yet, peripheral
status or failure even to appear on the international stage could be said
to amplify the duty to acknowledge the larger cultural conversation to
which the relevant gures contributed and in which Blixen to a signi cant
degree found an anchor and starting point.
If we can indeed speak of a small nations right to respect in the form
of a presumption of cultural worth in cases where national heritage is
transported across national boundaries, then
Out of Africa
would appear
to violate this right. The lm mentions the relevant nation- state only a
few times and in ways that are either trivial or politically signi cant rather
than culturally signi cant, and this is, I believe, symptomatic of the breach
in question. Let us recall the key cinematic moments. When Blixen is rst
introduced to Lord Delamere, the following exchange occurs:
KAREN
Lord Delamere.
DELAMERE
Baroness. Swedish, are you?
KAREN
Danish, actually.
DELAMERE
Ahh, the
little
country next to Germany. . . . If it comes to war,
where will Denmark stand?
KAREN
On its own, I hope. We have that history. (Luedtke 1987, 15)
Denmark is mentioned again when Finch Hatton responds to Blixens tale
about Cheng Huan:
Had you been to those places?
KAREN
Ive been a . . . mental traveler.
BERKELEY
Until now.
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(looking around)
Isnt this England . . . Excuse me, Denmark?
(She knows shes being chided.)
KAREN
I like my things. (39)
Denmark is also referred to indirectly when Felicity reports to Blixen
that her sympathies are rumored to lie with the Germans rather than the
Allies. Blixens response is to explain that the rumors are based on her
citizenship and foreign accent and nothing more. Although dismissive
and critical remarks about Denmark may provide an accurate re ection
of how Brits responded to Blixens citizenship, they are in no way counter-
balanced by an evocation of Danish practices or histories pertaining to
the writers identity and guiding values. For the most part, the underlying
assumption seems to be that Blixens citizenship is a purely accidental and
largely irrelevant feature of her life history. The lm suggests that the
complexities of nationality can be adequately dealt with by a funny ac-
cent. The rationale and legitimacy of basic casting decisions come into
play here in a way that bears directly on cultural worth and its recognition
or misrecognition. The mere simulation of certain linguistic speci cities
by a Hollywood star clearly serves goals quite different from those that
could be achieved through the actual linguistic peculiarities that a highly
quali
ed, but only nationally recognized, Danish actress could provide.
Pollack, I have been suggesting, has a
special
duty to approach the cul-
ture in which Blixen is centrally inscribed with a presumption of worth
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since the purpose of his argument is to show that it is the person and the
general duty that we all have toward him that matters morally, citizen-
ship being merely a device for xing special responsibility in some agent
for discharging our general duties vis- - vis each particular person (1988,
686). Yet, I believe a compelling case can be made for seeing special du-
ties toward foreigners as arising in circumstances actually or potentially
involving a range of harms having to do with an imbalance of power.
What, then, are special duties, and how are they typically framed? As
Goodin points out, a common view is that we have special duties toward
particular individuals because they stand in some special relation to us
(1988, 663). Some philosophers have thus argued that we have special
duties, understood as
magni cations
or
multiplications
of preexisting duties,
toward our parents, children, friends, and fellow citizens. The concept
of magni cation provides a helpful way of clarifying the duties that cine-
matic biographers belonging to large nations have toward citizens of small
nations in their capacity as potential audiences for biographies based on
the lives of co- nationals. The aim, then, is to show that a pre existing gen-
eral duty is
magni ed
by the kinds of interactions between small and large
nations that the production of an international heritage lm involves.
Much of contemporary moral thought is informed by Kantian ideas
about the fundamental dignity of human beings, a quality that grounds
the inalienable right we all have to be treated with respect. While Kants
focus was on the respect due individual persons, his basic argument can,
and indeed has been, reframed in collectivist terms. Respect, it is widely
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magni es the duties of American lmmakers, the inverse situation in-
volves only general duties but none of the special duties in which magni-
cation results. A cultural ow between Greenland and Denmark has the
effect of magnifying the duties of Danish lmmakers, which is not true of
Greenlandic mobilizations of Danish culture. The absence of any kind of
genuine engagement with the Danishness of Blixen can only be taken to
indicate that Pollack was largely indifferent to the idea that collectivities
have a right to respect and certainly indifferent to the thought that asym-
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230
to displace Blixen is also eerily evidenced by the remarkable illustrations
produced by Mark Hannon for the special, leather- bound edition of
Out
of Africa,
published in 1989 by the Easton Press.
While the defense of Pollack outlined above ultimately leaves my
argument intact, it by no means exhausts the possible objections. My
claims about special duties may be challenged on quite different and far
more compelling grounds having to do with the overwhelmingly positive
response that
Out of Africa
enjoyed throughout Europe and especially in
Denmark.
Variety
(1986a) reported that Denmark, the birthplace of [the
lms] heroine, novelist Isak Dinesen, yielded an 11- day total of $471,652
at 11 screens. While such gures merely prove that large numbers of
spectators saw the lm, reviews suggest that critics, and the audiences
they in uence, for the most part responded favorably to what they saw.
Danish responses to the lm were essentially of two kinds. The more
popular response was to af rm the lm in glowing and largely patriotic
terms. Thus, for example, Sven Wezelenburg (1986), publishing in the
low- brow tabloid
B.T.,
characterized
Out of Africa
as an outstanding
and gripping tribute to Karen Blixen. Everyone, claimed Wezelenburg,
should see the lm: If you end up seeing only a few lms during the
eighties,
Out of Africamust
be one of them. Later on, Wezelenburg linked
the lm to certain patriotic sentiments:
The lm is a small masterpiece that, through a nuanced and subtle narra-
tive style, slowly makes us understand and admire our world famous fel-
low citizen. . . . Sydney Pollacks
Out of Africa
is on all levels a gem of a lm
of which we, as Karen Blixens fellow citizens, can be proud.
Michael Bldels (1986) remarks on the lm are characteristic of the sec-
ond kind of response. Having quickly conceded that the lm is an insult to
anyone who knows anything about Blixen, Bldel went on to suggest that
spectators should respond to the lm on its own ctional terms. Indeed,
International Heritage
231
seems surprising, rather than self- evident, to members of small nations.
What is seductive and hence salient in such cases is the suggestion that
the accomplishments of small nations exist on an equal footing with those
of large nations. The desire to af rm this myth as truth inclines agents to
repress attitudes that might be critical of the way in which a minor cul-
ture is taken up by a large nation. The positive response is in many ways a
International Heritage
232
does she mean by humans? Europeans, of course. Ochanda and Mbinda
go on in a second moment to describe a number of structuring absences
in Pollacks lm that have to do with the way in which Kenyans are rep-
resented: Nowhere in the lm are Kenyans described who provide any
kind of resistance to the colonial powers. Kenyans are on the contrary
represented as content with colonialism. They sing happily as they work
for Karen Blixen on the very land that has been taken away from them.
Pollacks evocation of a happily colonized people, Ochanda and Mbinda
contend, is agrantly at odds with the facts of Kenyan history, facts that
the lmmaker has a duty to acknowledge, inasmuch as the genre for which
he opts invites belief as well as make- believe. Ochanda and Mbinda con-
clude by condemning the politically objectionable motives of all those
who made
Out of Africa
possible: Pollack himself, the stars, and the various
government of cials who are part of what they call the repressive Moi
regime.
Out of Africa,
the suggestion is, makes no effort to observe any
International Heritage
233
234
Toward a Multiethnic Society
235
vincing, case for linking the mobility of especially Hollywood products
to creative gains rather than cultural homogenization. Cowen thus con-
tests a widely endorsed position on globalization, which is represented in
his account by Benjamin Barber, John Gray, Fredric Jameson, and Jeremy
Tunstall, among others. Squaring off against Tunstalls view that authen-
tic, traditional and local culture in many parts of the world is being bat-
tered out of existence by the indiscriminate dumping of large quantities
of slick commercial and media products, mainly from the United States
(cited in Cowen 2002, 2), Cowen opts for a gains for trade approach
to globalization. Globalization, he contends, cannot be reduced to a
unidirectional ow of cultural products, a ow that amounts to a form
of cultural imperialism, and should instead be construed as an ongoing
process of trade in cultural products across geographic space (4). While
problematic in many respects that need not concern us here, Cowens ac-
count has the virtue of drawing attention to the role played by exchange
in globalizing processes. This particular aspect of his argument dovetails
with the burgeoning literature on glocalization in cultural studies, which
questions the idea of a largely unilateral imposition of American goods
and values, with recipients responding in mostly passive or reactive ways.
This alternative take on globalization highlights the way in which on-
going cultural ows around the globe combine with local conditions to
foster creativity and stimulate innovation. Following this line of reason-
ing, globalization emerges as the impetus for novel modes of cultural
expression with the potential for engaging and even creating audiences,
with the potential, in short, to recon gure the dynamics of visibility, ac-
cess, and voice.
In the area of lm, glocalization has to do not only with the unpredict-
able ways in which local audiences appropriate especially Hollywood
products with a global reach but also, more interestingly, with agents
creative assimilation and modi cation of the very conventions or regulari-
ties that these lms exemplify. What is apparent in such cases is some kind
of exchange rather than a purely monologic imposition. And if hybrid
works involving elements of the local and the global can infuse new life
into quasi- moribund cinematic cultures de ned primarily along national
lines, then it is indeed appropriate to consider the idea that globalization
might be an engine of positive change under certain circumstances. That
glocalizing processes have important implications for minor cinemas and
the lmmakers who contribute to them is clear. For if works represent a
genuine and surprising fusion of norms and tendencies derived from local
practices and Global Cinema (instead of being second- rate imitations of
Toward a Multiethnic Society
236
lms produced elsewhere), then the works stand a chance of involving
precisely the mixtures of sameness and difference, of regularity and in-
novation, that tend to motivate engagement. The Danish case provides
convincing evidence for glocalization as a causal factor in the creation
of individually compelling works with local and transnational appeal.
Globalization, as a positive force, is part of the narrative that needs to be
told about the emergence of the New Danish Cinema.
The debates fueled by globalization are not, of course, limited to ques-
tions of whether celebration or critique is ultimately the more appropriate
Toward a Multiethnic Society
237
Toward a Multiethnic Society
238
to Denmark have an antiquity going beyond at least two generations. The
Toward a Multiethnic Society
239
Toward a Multiethnic Society
240
were gathered in a big camp. On the plane to Denmark, I was enjoying my
rst gin and tonic in a long time and reading a Danish newspaper. There
was an article about some con ict in Kalundborg. Some citizens had de-
cided to demonstrate against the local authorities decision to equip a small
number of refugees with bicycles. I was really ashamed of being Danish
and discovered that my perspective on a lot of things had really changed.
(Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 159)
Equal to if not more important than the perception of a growing scar-
city of employment opportunities, bene ts, and goods was the emerging
conception of newcomers from certain cultural backgrounds as deeply
resistant to integration. From the 80s onward, then, the origin of the
newcomer came to gure much more centrally in the popular imagination
than the reasons for the newcomers presence. While the extreme right
has worked hard in recent times to frame the question of cultural resis-
tance in terms of a set of prior and unshakable commitments to Islamic
belief systems that are ultimately deeply inimical to Danish culture, the
fact remains that most Danes operate with more ne- grained, although
not necessarily less problematic, distinctions. Immigrants and refugees
of Pakistani, Turkish, Tamil, or Somali background are typically held at
some level to pose a threat to the fabric and future of Danish society,
whereas Bosnian refugees, 90 percent of whom are Muslims, are believed
Toward a Multiethnic Society
241
pages published by the Danish Peoples Party (2001), aimed to persuade
Danes that immigration policy was the only meaningful basis for choice
among the available political parties. The volume includes testimonials
from ethnic Danes living in immigrant neighborhoods, historical back-
ground information on patterns of migration to Denmark, comparative
materials pertaining to Germanys approach to immigration issues, and a
section entitled Stories from Denmark, which foregrounds criminality
and a cynical exploitation of the welfare state system. The volume con-
cludes with a number of appendices containing statistics, key terms, and
an overview of apparently relevant laws.
A key argument throughout
Danmarks fremtid, dit land dit valg
is that,
counter to the liberal position on immigration, which holds that Denmark
has always been a country of immigration, the Danish Peoples Party
can show not only that the ow of immigrants and refugees has inten-
si ed in recent decades but also that globalization dramatically affects
the implications of this ow. In a section entitled They Belong to Two
Countries (my translation) globalization is presented as a decisive ob-
stacle to integration and thus as a corrosive force capable of undermining
the integrity of the Danish nation- state in the long run: The decisive dif-
ference in the case of the most recent immigrants is that while they may
well be able to achieve the same economic and social standing as other
citizens in this country, many of them are likely to retain their original
religion, culture and tradition key factors in this connection are far
more frequent trips to their countries of origin, as well as TV programs
from these countries, which they can sit and follow in Denmark. This is
whats truly new (Danish Peoples Party 2001, 20). The point is to show
that global cultural ows, especially through TV, allow for the retention
of original bonds and for divided loyalties, and thus are an obstacle to
integration. Key examples of earlier immigrant towns that now count as
Danish in all respects are claimed to provide a signi cant contrast with
current developments: A little Turkey placed in a Danish suburb never
has to become Danish, the way Fredericia, Christiansfeld and Magleby
are Danish today. It all depends . . . on how good the connections are to
the home country and on how good the possibilities for family uni cation
are. After all, globalization, with all the communicative opportunities
that it affords, does not necessarily entail the dissolution of borders. It
may just as easily ensure that borders are retained in spite of great dis-
tances (27). The way the vote went in 2001 suggests that there is great
sympathy among Danish voters for a series of measures aimed ultimately
at ensuring that the nation and state, which were once virtually perfectly
Toward a Multiethnic Society
242
coincident in the Danish case, are still maintained as a hyphenated and
tightly connected unit. Yet, the vote is not explicable uniquely in terms
Toward a Multiethnic Society
243
Toward a Multiethnic Society
244
Toward a Multiethnic Society
245
Referring to a much- cited article entitled Outside In Inside Out, by
Trinh T. Minh- ha (1989), Hamid Na cy claims that whereas whites and
First Worlders have traditionally been authorized to make lms about
both themselves and their others, citizens from the third world and exiles
are deemed best quali ed and authorized to make lms about themselves
and their own cultures (2001, 67). This line of reasoning encourages a
Toward a Multiethnic Society
246
Peter Hesse Overgaard, Heidi Holm Katzenelson, and Anders Hove (from left to
right) in Amir Rezazadehs rst feature lm,
Two on a Couch (To mand i en sofa).
Toward a Multiethnic Society
247
effectively produce this cluster of attitudes. His account draws attention
to the ways in which societies may be deeply con icted with regard to
such claims, with state mechanisms prompting indifference, perhaps,
while informal practices or traditions emphasize generosity or inclusion.
What is interesting in the present context is that state policy in the mid-
90s was aligned to a certain extent with hospitality; public discourse,
with the impossibilities of integration without remainder; and cinema,
with silence and absence, with the production of social indifference,
however unintentionally. Erik Clausen made the point incisively in an
interview focusing, among other things, on his 1988 lm,
Rami and Juliet
(Rami og Julie),
which was one of the rst Danish lms to put new Danes
in the picture: Were used to setting the agenda; were used to being
in control. The Turks feel we dont accept them, not because we oppress
them, but because were not interested in them. The most insidious means
of political oppression is not violence, its indifference. Theres greater
oppression involved in my making you invisible than there is in my hitting
you (Hjort and Bondebjerg 2001, 114).
Toward a Multiethnic Society
248
Rami (Saleh Malek) and Julie (So e Grbl) in Erik Clausens lm
Rami and Juliet
(Rami og Julie),
about ethnic con ict in contemporary Denmark.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
249
father, Josip Papac (Rade Serbedzija), who recognizes one of his tortur-
ers on Flotel Europa and attacks him, only to be imprisoned as a result.
Rasmus and Belma join forces to ensure his release.
The imagined brother P (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) in ke Sandgrens Dogma lm
Truly
Human (Et rigtigt menneske).
Photograph by Per Arnesen.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
250
between national and cosmopolitan commitments within Denmark. In
ke Sandgrens magical- realist Dogma lm, entitled
Truly Human
Toward a Multiethnic Society
251
In China They Eat Dogs
I Kina spiser de hunde,
1999) is the rst of two re-
lated action comedies by stuntman- turned- director Lasse Spang Olsen.
The action is generated by an unlikely group comprising a bankteller, two
cooks, and a criminal. The last (played by Kim Bodnia, who established
himself as one of the most signi cant talents of the New Danish Cinema
with
Pusher
) is a deeply racist gure who has turned the dishwasher, Vuc
(played by Brian Patterson, known for his role as the man inside the chick-
en in the popular childrens program
Bamse og kylling
[Teddy and Chicken]),
into a convenient scapegoat. As a result of this scapegoating, the criminal
Harald and his associates nd themselves embroiled in con ict with Vucs
Balkan compatriots. The sequel, entitled
Old Men in New Cars
Gamle mnd i
nye biler,
aka
In China They Eat Dogs II
) was released in 2002 and provides a
plot that is temporally anterior to that of the earlier lm.
Flickering Lights
Blinkende lygter,
2000) is Anders Thomas Jensens debut
as a feature lmmaker. What makes the lm relevant in the present con-
2002) is a short lm by the promis-
Toward a Multiethnic Society
252
dynamics of racism in Denmark. More speci cally, the paperwork on Lars
Hansen, an unemployed Dane, is accidentally mixed up with that of El
Hassan, a Pakistani refugee, who is to be offered one of the state-
funded
Danish- language courses that are a key element in the governments in-
tegration strategy. Lars Hansen decides to accept the administrative mis-
take when he discovers that the course is to be taught by Ida, with whom
he was infatuated as a young schoolboy. As Lars HansenturnedEl
Kari (Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis) fantasizes about Cengiz (Peter Perski) and his
Otherness in Helle Ryslinges
Halalabad Blues.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
253
Djenes), a refugee from the former Yugoslavia, does become a means of
deepening the lmmakers account of the rather sorry state of the house
of Denmark.
110% Suburbia
110% Greve,
2004) is the feature- lm debut of the four
codirectors Jesper Jack, Vibe Mogensen, Mette- Ann Schepelern, and
Anja Hauberg Mortensen. The lmmakers project began as a ten- part
documentary series by the same title. Some of the series documentary
material about a group of fteen- year- old Danes (most of them new
Danes) was subsequently used as the basis for a somewhat different story
Toward a Multiethnic Society
254
begins by evoking a critical view contending that the Danish lm milieu
Toward a Multiethnic Society
255
quite considerable. The visible presence of new Danes in New Danish
Cinema is read as signaling a kind of inclusiveness and thus as capable of
de ecting charges of insularity. Ultimately, however, the interest of the
debate to which Berg contributes lies not so much in the speci city of the
arguments being advanced as in their combined and much broader social
effect. The competing claims, and others like them, effectively constitute
the institutional realities of Danish cinema as a sphere of citizen par-
ticipation and democratic will formation. In the transformed space that
is Danish cinema, new forms of belonging and inclusion are the
emergent
effects
of negotiations involving the modes and means of the production
of images.
Phase Four: New Danes in Executive Control
The fourth and most recent phase, which involves new Danes in posi-
tions of
executive control
within the lmmaking process, is an almost natural
outcome of the kinds of claims just identi ed. In most cases, this ten-
dency involves new Danes assuming the role of director, but there are
mixed cases, such as that of
Pizza King
(1999), which was directed by Ole
Christian Madsen but with substantial input from Janus Nabil Bakrawi
(as cowriter of the script and lead), who played the role of Sinan in
Sinans
Wedding
. Bakrawi, who was born in Virum (a suburb of Copenhagen)
to a Jordanian- Palestinian father and a Polish mother, did much of the
research for
Pizza King,
a Tarantino- inspired action lm with a focus on
four young second- generation males who become tragically embroiled in
criminal activities. Amir Rezazadehs
My Beautiful Neighbor
and
Two Women
(mentioned above) are unambiguous examples of narratives that are de-
vised, and largely controlled in the process of execution, by an agent with
a rsthand understanding of multiple belonging and complex identity.
Shake It All About
En kort en lang,
2001) and
Oh Happy Day
(2004) are
both comedies by the Danish- Gambian comedian- turned- director Hella
Joof. The focus in
Shake It All About
is on privileged ethnic Danes and their
rather complicated love lives.
Oh Happy Day,
on the other hand, explores
the effect of a foreign presence on the uninspired existences of provincial
Danes. Reverend Jackson (Malik Yoba), who is touring Denmark with his
gospel choir, is waylaid by a minor accident caused by Hannah (Lotte
Andersen) and ends up becoming a transformative force within her local
community as he convalesces. Through the sustained contrast between
indigenous and foreign attitudes, the lm becomes a probing and hard-
hitting account of characteristically Danish mediocrity and banality.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
256
The most interesting case to date, however, of new Danes taking up
the directors role is a group project by the name of Five Heartbeats (Fem
hjerteslag). The initiative, which involves the production of ve documen-
tary shorts, is funded by the Danish Film Institute and coordinated by
Toward a Multiethnic Society
257
kinds of stereotypes about newcomers that proliferate within the pub-
lic sphere more generally, as well as in lms made about new Danes by
Toward a Multiethnic Society
258
The documentary entitled
Avation
(2003) is a codirected lm by
Manyar I. Parwani and Faisel N. Butt. The former lmmaker was born
in Afghanistan but has lived in Denmark since the age of ten. Butt, on
the other hand, has spent his entire life in Denmark but traces his roots
to Pakistan.
Avation
involves autobiographical elements, for it tracks
Manyars journey to Turkey, where his friend Halil, who committed sui-
cide, lies buried. The term
avation
is one that Halil once carved into a tree
during a camping trip. When asked by his friend Manyar what the word
means, Halil responded: I dont know, but you can use it some day in a
lm (Pade 2003, 29).
My Blessed Brother
Min velsignede bror,
2003) is directed by May el-
Toukhy, who grew up in Denmark as the daughter of a Danish mother
and an Egyptian father. This, too, is an autobiographical lm, focusing
in this instance on the relation between the director and her younger
brother, Magdi. The latter has a history of depression, and disagreements
between the two about both the genesis of and the cure for the illness
lead to far- reaching changes in their relationship.
Belas Dollhouse
Belas dukkehus,
2003) is Paula Oropezas contribution to
Five Heartbeats. Oropeza is originally from Venezuela but spent many
years in Spain, where she studied visual communication at the University
of Madrid. Her Danish training is in the eld of lm graphics and anima-
tion. The lm focuses on Bela, a Venezuelan woman living in Denmark,
who builds a dollhouse for the daughter she has lost. In this lm, unlike
the other four, a foreign tongue Spanish is used instead of Danish
(Pade 2003, 29).
New Accents within an Already Marked Cinema
The lms identi ed in the phase involving new Danes in executive
control of the lmmaking process are straightforward examples of what
Hamid Na cy is calling an accented cinema. In each instance the crea-
tive agency resides in someone with the kind of postnational attachments
that are impossible to reconcile with citizenship as it is understood in
a nation- state model. More important, the cinematic texts in question
variously re ect the speci cities of the postnational agency from which
they ultimately spring. If the trend continues, as it likely will, then it will
eventually transform Danish national cinema in much the same way as
ci-
nma beur
(the established term at this point for lms made by French lm-
makers of especially Moroccan and Algerian backgrounds) has changed
the face of French national cinema.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
259
Na cys thought-
provoking attempt to identify the de ning features
of a corpus of cinematic works that are traceable at some level to the phe-
nomenon of displacement draws a good deal of inspiration from Gilles
Deleuze and Flix Guattaris concept of a minor literature. Interestingly,
this same concept proved suggestive in the context of developing an
understanding of Danish cinema as a minor cinema involving a politics
of recognition made necessary by the dynamics of small nationhood
(Hjort 1996). Not surprisingly, the idea of an accented cinema is in many
ways deeply compatible not only with the realities of exilic or diasporic
lmmaking but also with lmmaking within small-
nation contexts and in
a minor vein. Na cy evokes the notion of a cinematic accent as follows: If
the dominant cinema is considered universal and without accent, the lms
that diasporic and exilic subjects make are accented (2001, 4). Danish
cinema, as I have suggested elsewhere (1996), stands in a marked relation
to its unmarked dominant Other: mainstream lmmaking in English driven
by global capital and with the aspiration of a global reach. If diasporic and
Toward a Multiethnic Society
260
category of lmmaking that Na cy circumscribes. The kind of accented
cinema that Na cy has in mind
beginning to take root in Denmark
and will no doubt become a signi cant new tendency as projects such as
Five Heartbeats begin to identify meaningful modes of expression. The
The unlikely production history of
Pusher
has at this point become part
of Danish lm lore and warrants a brief recapitulation here. Having re-
turned to Denmark after an unsuccessful one- year stint at the American
Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Nicolas Winding Refn spent a
weekend shooting a short lm called
Pusher
on a borrowed high- 8 video
camera. This amateur lm was shown on
TV Stop
and happened to spark
the interest of producers at Balboa, a subsidiary of the Zentropa concern
Toward a Multiethnic Society
261
that Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbk Jensen own and manage. The young
Refn, only twenty- ve at the time, received an unexpected call from
Balboa offering him the money needed to produce a feature lm based on
the concept of the short
Pusher
lm. The call came just as Refn (who is the
son of the established photographer Vibeke Winding and the well- known
Toward a Multiethnic Society
262
the approach is a Stanislavskian one, with actors being invited to iden-
tify deeply with the role, to the point of literally living in character for a
period of several months in certain cases. Finally, inasmuch as Refns rst
two features,
Pusher
and
Bleeder,
depict a multicultural Denmark, it is not
surprising that the authorial legend includes a
clear stance on migration
and
its impact on the nation- state. In this connection, Refn inevitably reminds
interviewers that he spent some of his most formative years in New York
Toward a Multiethnic Society
263
Tarantino (
Reservoir Dogs
and
Pulp Fiction
), and Wong Kar- Wai
(Chungking
Express).
The Tarantino effect, in the form of violence combined with
humor, was an important part of the lms appeal but also a source of
controversy for an older generation of Danes, who see art as a means of
promoting the social good. Telling in this regard is an interview with Refn
conducted by a clearly hostile Marie Tetzlaff and published in
Politiken
on September 28, 1997. An explanatory insert describes the purpose of
the exchange as follows:
Background
Toward a Multiethnic Society
264
Indeed, Buric has since gone on to become one of the most vibrant acting
presences in Danish lm, TV, and theater. Buric, who is originally from
Osijek in Croatia, has been living primarily in Denmark since 1982. He is
one of several new Danes with formal training in the arts, having joined
an experimental theater school in Croatia at the age of fteen. Buric went
on to study psychology and sociology at the University of Zagreb and
was for many years a founding member of the underground avant- gardist
theater group known as Kugla Glumiste (Quist 2001, 17). In the mid-
90s Buric was working for the Danish Refugee Council, and one of his
colleagues noticed the casting call for
Pusher
and encouraged the former
actor to put in an appearance. Interestingly, Burics account of how he
got the role takes issue with well-
meaning attitudes toward foreigners in
order to af rm instead precisely the kind of ironic stereotyping that has
The ex-Yugoslavian Milo (Zlatko Buric, on the right) with his fellow drug dealers
in Nicolas Winding Refns
Pusher.
Toward a Multiethnic Society
265
ential ways since
Pusher
. Indeed, so great has the in uence of this creative
duo been in a Danish context that it is no exaggeration to say the ex-
plicit proscription of stereotypic representations of the Other in the Five
Heartbeats project is essentially the organizers response to the effective
history of
Pusher
. Arguably the view motivating this signi cant collective
Toward a Multiethnic Society
266
lm are an important source of stereotypic thinking (Cuddy and Fiske
2002, 3). Indeed, Jones goes so far as to suggest that the pictures in socie-
tys head de ne the content of what we collectively believe about social
groups (1997, 176). Both the prototype and exemplar models are com-
patible with the thought that lms help to generate or at least reinforce
stereotypes. Their mobilization in cinematic contexts does, however, raise
a number of complicated issues having to do with the nature of ction
and cinematic reference. If cinematic texts are a key factor in stereotypic
thinking, then at some level viewers must assume that the information in-
ferred from the behavior of the characters corresponds somehow to social
Toward a Multiethnic Society
267
Toward a Multiethnic Society
268
with customers desiring beer. Once again we have the kind of stereotype
Toward a Multiethnic Society
269
Burics breakthrough effectively established him not only as a talented
actor but also as
the
immigrant actor par excellence. Fame thus coincided
in this instance with a certain kind of typecasting; Burics role, which
seemed to capture, albeit in different ways, both the stereotypic essence
of a certain immigrant group and the core abilities of the actor who played
it, was seared into the publics memory. The production of the Tuborg ads
shortly after
Pusher
s release and their continued play with stereotypes
that characterize the lm allow these ads to return the viewer gently to
the Ur- text from which they effectively sprang. By the same token, the
ads serve the ingenious function of ensuring the continued circulation
of images from
Pusher,
in the form of memories or recollections, within a
larger public sphere. Interestingly, these ads have themselves become the
object of indirect metacultural reference recently, which points to their
own quasi- cult status with the very audiences to whom
Pusher
initially
appealed. Ole Bornedals inventive staging in 2002 of Ludvig Holbergs
classic play
Jeppe of the Hill (Jeppe p bjerget)
casts Buric in the role of the pub
Toward a Multiethnic Society
270
amateur actors, with both roles functioning at this point as a potential
springboard to a professional acting career. The convergence on certain
thematics has generated a need for actors with visibly hybrid identities,
and the result is that refugees who previously trained elsewhere in the arts
are now able to pursue cognate careers in their host country. Formerly
maladjusted second- generation new Danes with quasi- criminal pasts have
found in lm a means of reorienting their lives, as the horizon of expec-
tations for new Danes is suddenly transformed to include high- status as
well as low- status roles, to include fame, distinction, prestige. What lm,
as an institution, makes available now to new Danes is the aspiration to
public recognition as individuals and also as members of a group de ned
in large measure by hybrid identities and transnational attachments.
With regard to the issue of expectations, it is important to note that
Toward a Multiethnic Society
271
policeman. Completely unrealistic. Kazim goes on to point to the deep-
er signi cance of lms such as
Pizza King
as a means of inclusion and as a
vehicle for recognition: Through this lm, we show that we know how to
do this thing that you call art. We can do the same things that you can do.
Not because we want to prove anything. But because we show that we are
also involved in society and with culture (Bilenberg 1999).
What is interesting, in my view, is the way in which Danish lm has
become an element in what Yasemin Soysal, in her groundbreaking book
on postnational citizenship, calls a system of incorporation (1994, 32).
When Soysal speaks of a system of incorporation she has in mind a pro-
cess that rests on a regime of incorporation, understood as patterns
of policy discourse (32) and related institutional structures designed
Toward a Multiethnic Society
272
those who do receive representation do so on terms that are not quite
adequate. All of this is true. But in the social system of contemporary
Danish lmmaking, it is simply the case that a space is emerging where
claims and counterclaims can be articulated, both through the cinematic
texts themselves and through the various (institutional) discourses that
subtend or accompany them. In a world doomed always to fall short of
any and all regulative ideals, this is a development that at least takes us
in the direction of dialogue, mutuality, recognition, sympathy, and social
learning through critique. As such, it seems to me, the unfolding process
is worth noticing in a narrative that ultimately aims to sustain it and thus
to reinforce its effects.
273
Appendix: Dogma 95 Manifesto and Dogma Films
Dogma 95 Manifesto
DOGMA
95 is a collective of film directors founded in Copenhagen in
Spring 1995.
DOGMA
95 has the expressed goal of countering certain tendencies in
the cinema today.
DOGMA
95 is a rescue action!
In 1960 enough was enough! The movie was dead and called for resurrec-
tion. The goal was correct but the means were not! The new wave proved
to be a ripple that washed ashore and turned to muck.
Slogans of individualism and freedom created works for a while, but no
changes. The wave was up for grabs, like the directors themselves. The
wave was never stronger than the men behind it. The anti- bourgeois
cinema itself became bourgeois, because the foundations upon which
its theories were based was the bourgeois perception of art. The auteur
concept was bourgeois romanticism from the very start and thereby . . .
false!
To
DOGMA
95 cinema is not individual!
Appendix
274
Today a technological storm is raging, the result of which will be the ulti-
mate democratization of the cinema. For the rst time, anyone can make
movies. But the more accessible the medium becomes, the more impor-
tant the avant- garde. It is no accident that the phrase avant- garde has
military connotations. Discipline is the answer . . . we must put our lms
into uniform, because the individual lm will be decadent by de nition!
Appendix
275
3 The camera must be hand held. Any movement or immobility at-
tainable in the hand is permitted. (The lm must not take place
where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the
lm takes place.)
4 The lm must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If
there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a
single lamp be attached to the camera.)
5 Optical work and lters are forbidden.
6 The lm must not contain super cial action. (Murders, weapons,
Appendix
276
Dogma Films
Dogma 1:
The Celebration
Festen,
1998), Denmark,
dir. Thomas Vinterberg.
Dogma 2:
The Idiots
Idioterne,
1998), Denmark, dir. Lars von Trier.
Dogma 3:
Mifune
Mifunes sidste sang,
1999), Denmark,
dir. Sren Kragh- Jacobsen.
Dogma 4:
The King Is Alive
(2000), Denmark/Sweden/USA, dir.
Kristian Levring.
Dogma 5:
Lovers
(1999), France, dir. Jean- Marc Barr.
Dogma 6:
Julien Donkey- Boy
(1999), USA, dir. Harmony Korine.
Dogma 7:
Interview
Intyebyu,
2000), Korea, dir. Daniel H. Byun.
Dogma 8:
Fuckland
(2000), Argentina, dir. Jos- Luis Marqus.
Dogma 9:
Babylon
(2001), Sweden, dir. Vladan Zdravkovic.
Dogma 10:
Chetzemokas Curse
(2000), USA, dir. Rick Schmidt.
Dogma 11:
Diapason
(2000), Italy, Antonio Domenici.
Dogma 12:
Italian for Beginners
Italiensk for begyndere,
2000), Denmark,
dir. Lone Scher g.
Dogma 13:
Amerikana
(2001), USA, dir. James Merendino.
Dogma 14:
Joy Ride
(2000), Switzerland, dir. Martin Rengel.
Dogma 15:
Camera
(2000), USA, dir. Richard Martini.
Dogma 16:
Bad Actors
(2000), USA, dir. Shaun Monson.
Dogma 17:
Reunion
(2001), USA, dir. Leif Tilden.
Dogma 18:
Truly Human
Appendix
277
Dogma 30:
Das de boda
(2002), Spain, dir. Juan Pinzs.
Dogma 31:
El Desenlace
(2004), Spain, dir. Juan Pinzs.
Dogma 32:
Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
Se til venstre, der er en svensker,
2003), Denmark, dir. Natasha Arthy.
Dogma 33:
Residencia,
Chile, dir. Artemio Espinosa Mc.
Dogma 34:
In Your Hands
Forbrydelser,
2004), Denmark,
279
Notes
PREFACE
1 See Giroux 2001 for a critique of Disneys rhetoric of innocence.
2 For related discussions of recognition and its role in social and political processes,
see Honneth 1995; and Fraser and Honneth 2003.
1. NEW DANISH CINEMA
1 Personal communication.
2 www. lmskolen.dk/english.html; accessed in 2004.
3 Taylor developed this line of argument in Critiques of Globalization, a talk
delivered during the conference East Asian Cites: New Cultural and Ideological
Formations, organized by the Center for Contemporary Chinese Culture Studies
at Shanghai University, the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan Univer sity,
and the Center for Transcultural Studies, Chicago (Shanghai, December 7, 2003).
4 Personal communication.
5 Lars von Trier has long been associated with scandalous behavior. Well-
known
incidents include his reference to Cannes jury member Roman Polanski as a
midget, which created something of a media furor in Denmark and elsewhere.
The latest in a long series of scandals at the time of writing involves von Trier as
well as his producer Vibeke Windelv. In February 2004, von Trier was to receive
the peace prize associated with the UNICEF project Cinema for Peace. Von Trier,
who rarely attends such events because of various phobias, had recorded a thank
you speech, which the organizers chose to edit quite signi cantly. The result was
that Vibeke Windelv took to the stage, where she began her impromptu protest
speech as follows: I am pissed off. The unedited von Trier speech, cited in full
below, was to a certain extent a provocative condemnation of both the director
and the individuals who were honoring him: Thank you for the peace prize! I
am in favor of peace, just like you. And we who are in favor of peace would like to
persuade the entire world that peace is a beautiful thing. But the world does not
understand this. The worlds peoples, wherever they might live, are divided into
two tribes: The world in which the tribes live is a desert. One tribe lives in the land
that surrounds the well, while the other tribe lives in the land that surrounds that of
the rst tribe. The desert tribe in the land around the well wants peace. The tribe
in the more distant land does not want peace. It wants water! The tribe in the more
distant land may be a little uncivilized and does not even have a word for peace. It
does, on the other hand, have a word for thirst, and in this situation thats more or
less the same thing. The committee from the land around the well consists of good,
intelligent, beautiful, rich and comfortable people, who are not thirsty (and who
thus have the energy and time required by committee work). In the land around
the well theres a lot of talk about the peace prize, which people from the land with
the well give to other people living in the land with the well. In the more distant
land one doesnt talk about the peace prize very much. Thank you for the peace
prize! (see Lange 2004a and 2004b for a report on the controversy).
2. DOGMA 95
1 Entitled
Le cinma vers son deuxime sicle,
the conference was jointly organized by the
French Ministry of Culture and the lm society Ier sicle du cinma.
2 The established documentary lmmaker Anne Wivel was originally also to have
been part of the collective.
3 Dogma rule number 10 speci es that the director must not be credited.
4 The dates indicated here refer to the Danish premieres. Levrings lm premiered
in Denmark signi cantly after its festival release elsewhere.
5 Up until the autumn of 1999 Dogma certi cation presupposed a critical assess-
13 The manifesto is reproduced in Hjort and MacKenzie 2003, 2079; quotation
from 2089.
14 www.jeanmarcbarr.cinephiles.net/freetrilogy/manifesto.html, accessed in 2002.
15 The connections between Dogma 95 and surrealism are nowhere more evident
than in
The Idiots,
which in many ways parallels Andr Bretons attempt in the sec-
ond section of
The Immaculate Conception
to reconstruct the discourse of insanity
from within (Polizzotti 1995, 353).
16
Playing the Fool,
dir. Claire Lasko, Channel 4.
17 Personal communication.
3. PARTICIPATORY FILMMAKING
1 The dates for
D- Day
are 1999, 2000, and 2001, the rst marking the experiments
execution; the second, its broadcast; and the third, the release of the de nitively
edited lm.
2 Dod Mantle shot
The Celebration, Mifune,
and
Julien Donkey- Boy
. Jargils much- praised
The Humiliated
provides documentary insight into the making of
The Idiots,
just as his
The Puri ed
sheds light on the Dogma movement more generally.
3 www.d- dag.dk/, accessed in 2000.
4 DR1 broadcast to 574,000 people; DR2, to 32,000; TV2, to 511,000; TV3, to
131,000; TV3+, to 76,000; TVDanmark 1, to 58,000; and TVDanmark 2, to 51,000
(www.d- dag.dk/).
5 www.d- dag.dk/.
6 Ibid.
7 Roberts (2003) has interesting things to say about the database model of the
media text.
8 www.d- dag.dk/; my emphasis.
9 http.//monasverden.tv2.dk/, accessed in 2000.
10 http.//monasverden.tv2.dk/velkomst, accessed in 2000. The Web site is in Danish,
and all translations are mine.
11 http.//monasverden.tv2.dk/presse, accessed in 2000.
12 http.//monasverden.tv2.dk/top10.phmu, accessed in 2000.
13 For a lucid and more recent discussion of the concept, see Marie- Laure Ryans
Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media
(2001).
4. PATRIOTISM AND NATIONALISM
1 Zeruneiths goals as childrens lm consultant are more fully stated in her Carrots
and Candy oss, where she discusses the importance of original manuscripts,
strong female characters, female lmmakers, formal innovation, and animation.
See Zeruneith 1995, 3348.
2 Personal communication.
3 Whereas the Film Act of 1982 de ned a Danish lm as a lm produced in Danish
with predominantly Danish artistic and technical input, the Film Act of 1989 in-
troduced a quite different de nition, which remains unchanged in the Film Act of
1997.
4 A. D. Smith 1984 and 2000 provide helpful accounts of the central differences
among primordialist, perennialist, modernist, and ethnosymbolic approaches to
Notes to Chapter 4
281
nationalism and national identity. Contributions to Hjort and Laver 1997 identify
the key issues for leading analytic theorists of emotion.
5 See Berlin 1969 for a discussion of the now classic distinction between negative
and positive forms of freedom.
6 The folk high schools provide a system of adult, boarding- school education and are
8 www.iamdina.com/eng/production/production.html, accessed in 2003.
9
Jerusalem
is a coproduction involving Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish
monies and support from the NFTF.
10 www.nftf.net/Newsletter/NL- 030311.html; released and accessed on Novem-
ber 3, 2003.
11 www.iamdina.com/eng/director/bornedal.html, accessed in 2003.
12 Ebbe Iversens position on the language issue is interesting, for it draws attention to
the lms status as a pudding while suggesting that irritations typically associated
with the category in question are neutralized by pleasures having to do with visual
style, generic innovation, and powerful acting: Unfortunately people talk in the
lm, and let us quickly deal with the most important criticism of Ole Bornedals
ambitious lm. It takes place in Norway in the 1800s, but because it is a European
coproduction a so- called Europudding it is lmed in English with an inter-
national cast that speaks with varying degrees of accent, from French to Danish.
And this is hardly conducive to realism, believability or the audiences ability to
identify with the lm. . . . The lms visual dimension is so impressive, however,
that one almost forgets the awkward accents along the way (Iversen 2002).
13 www.tvropa.com/Dogville, accessed in 2004.
14 The documentary is entitled
Dogville Confessions
(2003) and has the actors engag-
ing in mock- serious confessions in confession booths.
15 www.imdb.com/title/tt0273689, accessed in 2004.
6. INTERNATIONAL HERITAGE
1 See, for example, Renov 1993; Nichols 1991; Barnouw 1983; and Barsam 1992.
2 For a discussion of the history of Nordic cooperation and at times the uneasy
relation between Norden and the European community, see Lyche 1974; Turner
1982; Solem 1977; Miljan 1977; and, more recently, Wver 1992.
3 I have in mind here what Charles Taylor (1989) has called moral sources.
4 The passage in question reads as follows: For we children of small nations it is an
achievement to expand our horizons by getting to know and understand other
parts of that earth on which we sail through space.
5 Personal communication.
6 See Bordwell and Thompson 1997 for a discussion of classical narrative.
7 The terms of the contract are described in Percent of Africa Gross to Maintain
Dinesen Mansion (
Variety
1986b, 8). Tore Dinesen, chairman of the Rungstedlund
Foundation, con rmed the terms of the contract in a letter to me dated February 20,
1995. He also stated that, because of the huge legal fees involved, the Rungstedlund
Foundation had given up on receiving the money owed.
8 For a discussion of self- deception and its relation to small nations, see Self-
Deception and the Authors Conceit, in Hjort 1993.
7. TOWARD A MULTIETHNIC SOCIETY
1 The dual concentration on ction lm and the New Danish Cinema means that no
reference will be made to the many progressive documentary lms produced in the
60s, especially by Jrgen Roos. His lms about Denmarks relation to Greenland
and the attitudes of typical Danes toward Greenlanders living in Denmark clearly
contributed to the political process leading to self- government in 1979. In a larger
Notes to Chapter 7
283
context of discussion, these earlier lms would without a doubt be relevant. Recent
documentaries focusing on Denmarks multicultural transformation were identi-
ed by the DFI in an e- mail dated October 24, 2003, and categorized on the DFI
Web site under Nyheder til biblioteker (News for Libraries). The relevant mes-
sage drew attention to a special initiative involving the Danish Refugee Council
and a number of libraries in connection with the governments strategic emphasis
on The Global in the Local. The project, entitled Tvrkulturelle mdesteder
(Sites of Cross- Cultural Encounter), was supported by the Ministry of Refugees,
Immigration and Integration Affairs and involved a series of special events sched-
uled from November 29 to December 6, 2003, and from March 1 to March 14,
2004. The list of documentaries identi ed by the DFI in this connection is as
follows:
Isabel p vej,
1993,
Lven fra Gaza Flygtningen der ikke ville hjem
(The Lion
from Gaza: The Refugee Who Didnt Want to Go Home, 1996),
Med fremmede jne
(With Foreign Eyes, 1996),
Babylon i Brndby
(Babylon in Brndby, 1996),
Brn
imellem
(Among Children, 1996),
Brn under jorden
(Children under Ground, 1997),
Ghetto Princess
Ghettoprinsesse,
1999),
The Soccer Boy
Fodbolddrengen,
2000),
The Boys
from Vollsmose
Drengene fra Vollsmose,
2001),
Den guddommelige brugsanvisning
(The
Divine Brief, 2002),
A Mothers Story
En mors historie,
2002),
Inuk Woman City Blues
(2002), the connected lms of Five Heartbeats (Fem hjerteslag, 2003),
Welcome to
Denmark
Velkommen til Danmark,
2003).
2 For a probing account of stereotypes in lm, see Richard Dyers
The Matter of
Images: Essays on Representation
(2002). Robert Stam and Toby Miller provide a use-
ful overview of lm scholars research on various forms of stereotyping in
Film and
Theory: An Anthology
(2000).
3 Many thanks to Peter Schepelern for this information.
Notes to Chapter 7
284
285
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ix
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and, 68; development
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(Henningsen), 73
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(Staho), 6
D- Day,
xi, 6797; coauthorship, 8792,
199; communicative novelty, 75;
de nitive work, 92; Dogma and, 69;
Dear Wendy
(Vinterberg), 187
(Elmer), 98
(Domenici), 276
(Pinzs), 277
domestic blockbuster, 2
Drachmann, Holger, 168
Dreyer, Carl Theodor, 197
Durovicova, Natasa, 189
Dyer, Richard, 4, 181
Dyrholm, Trine, 35, 36
Edith Allers Foundation, 98
(Pinzs), 277
5, 185; the Danish language
Elmer, Jonas, xi; enhanced viewer exper-
304
(Marqus), 276
149
(Christensen), 251
(Ryslinge), 251
Hald, Tommy, 8
Hunger,
173, 205
Hamsun, Tore, 205
Handover, 62, 64
Harrison, Andrew, 135
Hawwa Vissing, Nadja, 251
196
191
305
306
Juergensmeyer, Mark, 25, 162
Juhl, Finn: Chieftain chair, 142
Julien Donkey- Boy
(Korine), 69, 276
123
181
307
Lyby, Troels, 98
Lyons, William, 139, 140
Lyotard, Jean- Franois, 166
MacIntyre, Alasdair, 130, 131
Kiras Reason,
8,
Sinans Wedding,
249
Magnusson, Tivi, 8
(von Trier), 187
Man without a Past,The
(Kaurismki), 181
Marqus, Jos- Luis:
276
Marstrand, Wilhelm, 169
276
81
McCaulay, Alex:
276
(Arnfred and Kristiansen),
276
308
de nition of, 4, 6; discussions of citizen-
309
A Void,
38
310
D- Day,
68, 87,
Sallys Bizniz
(Wielopolska), 247, 248
Truly Human,
42, 44, 180,
Sarris, Andrew, 78
Schaffner, Franklin J.:
196
311
149;
Whats Wrong with This
Sylvester, Leif, 155
Tarantino, Quentin:
263;
263
Taw k, Mohammed, 254
Taylor, Charles: communitarianism, 130;
Teddy and Chicken,
251
312
status, and 94; self- promotion, and 35;
Wajda, Andrzej, 92
Waldvik, Per, 182
Walter and Carlo,
118
Warner, Michael, 61
Warsaw Nordic Film Week, 45
Wassmo, Herbjrg:
Dinas Book,
164, 182,
Watson, Emily, 58
Watzlawick, Paul:
Waugh, Patricia, 80
METTE HJORT
is visiting research associate at the Kwan Fong Cultural
Research and Development Center at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, a
senior professor in intercultural studies at Aalborg University in Denmark,
and an honorary associate professor at the University of Hong Kong.
She is the author, editor, or coeditor of
The Danish Directors: Dialogues on a
Contemporary National Cinema, Purity and Provocation: Dogma 95, The Strategy of
Letters, Emotion and the Arts, Cinema and Nation, Rules and Conventions: Literature,
Philosophy, Social Theory,
and
The Postnational Self: Belonging and Identity
(Minne-
sota, 2002). She translated Louis Marins
Food for Thought
and
To Destroy
Painting

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