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The Globalization of the Nordic Documentarry.: The Case of Joshua Oppenheimer

Publikation: Forskning - peer reviewBidrag til bog/antologi

There has always been a strong global and cosmopolitan dimension of Nordic documentaries, in terms of a transnational co-production culture, in terms of presence at and distribution to international platforms and festivals and in terms of exchange of themes and formats between the Nordic and the global film culture. However, the intensity of globalization has increased dramatically after 2000, following general trends of social and cultural globalization. Some of the great classical, Nordic documentary filmmakers between 1965-1990 like Danish Henning Carlsen, Swedish Jan Troell or Stefan Jarl would be funded nationally, and their films would deal with local, national themes. It was rather unique that Peter Watkins, when he ran into trouble in England in the 1970s did make films in Denmark and Sweden in stead, for instance the very controversial Aftenlandet/The Evening Country (1977).

In the period after 1990, and with a stronger effect after 2000 it became the norm that documentary films in Scandinavia where Nordic-European-International co-productions, directors from other countries started to make film in the region, and the film took up more global, cosmopolitan issues. Some films, like Norwegian Erik Jensen’s Cool and Crazy (2001) were mostly Scandinavian co-productions with a huge international success. Other productions had a highly international production profile and a specific global theme, like for instance the BBC/DR initiated projects Why Democracy (2007) and Why Poverty (2012) with films from 20 different countries (see Bondebjerg 2016).

Individual Nordic documentary directors have followed this cosmopolitan and global trend in filmmaking, both in their strategies of co-production and in the engagement with global realities abroad and at home. One of the most prolific is the American-British-Danish Joshua Oppenheimer whose two films The Act of Killing (2007) and The Look of Silence (2014) has had an incredibly strong international impact. Thematically and aesthetically they have challenged existing forms and manage to raise the global awareness of the almost forgotten Indonesian Holocaust. But also as a production case the films are very interesting. Oppenheimer’s primary production company is the internationally very prolific Final Cut For Real, but this company is co-producing with both Scandinavian, British and US companies, and the funding comes from an impressive list of PSB TV stations in Scandinavia, Europe, from Film Institutes and from various transnational and European funding bodies and NGOs.

In this article I will, based on interviews with Oppenheimer and his key production partners and articles, analyse his films as transnational co-productions. I will furthermore discuss the aesthetic, generic, and thematic dimension of the films and the reception and impact the films have had.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelNordic Film Cultures: A Globalized History of Cinematic Elsewheres
RedaktørerAnna Stenport
Udgivelses stedEdinburgh
ForlagEdinburgh University Press
Publikationsdato1 okt. 2018
StatusUnder udarbejdelse - 1 okt. 2018
SerieTraditions in World Cinema

ID: 185071160