SCANGF05 - Nordic cinema: contextualising Dreyer, Bergman and Dogme

Value: 30 credits

Tutor: Dr Claire Thomson

Assessment: One 6,000-word essay

This unit aims to contextualise the work of the internationally - celebrated colossi of Scandinavian cinema Carl Th Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman and Dogme 95. We will survey cinema in the Nordic region by means of textual and contextual study of films which exemplify crucial figures, themes and developments in the 'national' cinemas of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Arguably, film is the cultural site where a 'Nordic' identity can best be discerned: commentary couched in themes of 'naitional' cinema is rendered less than satisfying by an economic strategy of co-production, the (allegedly) mutually-comprehensible linguistic situation in the region, and the shared social imaginary of the welfare society. The course will explore two sets of issues which are fundamental to Nordic cinema in general and which feed into the work of Dreyer, Bergman and the Danish Dogme brethren in particular. Firstly, the role of cinema in the negotiation of the social imaginary we will consider how film navigates issues that have been fundamental to Nordic art and culture in the twentieth century, such as the relationship between the individual and the collective, the impact of modernity on community and nature, and the maintenance of social equality and welfare. Secondly, the impact of material and environmental conditions of filmmaking in the region: landscape, language, and the economics of culture and welfare.

No knowledge of a Scandinavian language is required, all films have English subtitles, and there is plenty of criticism in English and other major languages.