Nordic Noir: Scandinavia on the Page and Screen

Thure Lindhardt in Keep the Lights On.

In the past five years, focus on Scandinavian literature and movies has increased, and many talents within these fields have blossomed internationally. Rikke Ennis, ceo at Trust Nordisk, explains that the Scandinavian movie industry has grown amazingly in the past five years, and that many distributors are looking for more commercial films, such as crime movies, films based on bestsellers, or those by directors who have performed.

Rikke says, “Scandinavia is exotic to the international audience, and is synonymous with design, good taste, and rough and wild settings…”

Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s crime novels, featuring detective Harry Hole, have achieved great success all over the world. Regarded as one of the best crime writers today, his books have caught the eye of directors wanting to turn his books into movies. It is rumored that director Martin Scorsese is set to direct a movie based on Nesbø’s book, The Snowman. Other popular Norwegian writers include Karin Fossum, who is known as the “Norwegian queen of crime” and whose books about inspector Kondrad Sejer have been published in more than 16 languages, and Siri Hustvedt, who is known for her novels set in the us. The Summer without Men is one of her most critically acclaimed books.

The nation’s international success is not limited  to literature. The Norwegian film, Headhunters, is set to be released in the us in 2012.

In Denmark, the authors of the moment are Jussi Adler Olsen, with the book, The Keeper of Lost Causes, and Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, with The Boy in the Suitcase.

The movie industry in Denmark has increased enormously in recent years. Danish actors, such as Mads Mikkelsen and Jesper Christensen, have appeared in numerous Hollywood productions.

At the 2012 Sundance festival, four Danish movies received nominations, including Keep the Lights On, with actor Thure Lindhardt. In addition to director Lars von Trier, who is known in the movie industry for his film, Melancholia, there are two female directors to keep an eye on. Lone Scherfig has established an international career with the films An Education and Italian for Beginners, while Susanne Bier won an Academy Award in 2011 for the movie, In a Better World.

One of the most talked about Scandinavian authors around the world in recent times has been Sweden’s Stieg Larsson. The Millennium Trilogy, about Lisbeth Salander and the journalist Mikael Blomkvist, has been a tremendous success. A Hollywood adaptation of the first book of the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was released in 2011. Camilla Läckberg, author of Ice Princess, is another Swedish crime author who has experienced success abroad. Sweden has long-standing traditions in film-making that date back to the world famous Ingmar Bergman. Today, director Tomas Alfredsson, known for the movies Let the Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is only one of many Scandinavian talents.

This article appeared as part of a special pull-out section for Metro.




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