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Nordic Genre Film

Small Nation Film Cultures in the Global Marketplace

Edited by Tommy Gustafsson, Pietari Kääpä

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A comparative approach to contemporary popular Nordic genre film

Nordic Genre Film offers a transnational approach to studying contemporary genre production in Nordic cinema. It discusses a range of internationally renowned examples, from Nordic noir such as the television show The Bridge and films like Insomnia (1997) to high concept ‘video generation’ productions such as Iron Sky (2012). Yet, genre, at least in this context, indicates both a complex strategy for domestic and international competition as well as an analytical means to identify the Nordic film cultures’ relationships to international trends. Conceptualizing Nordic genre film as an industrial and cultural phenomenon, other contributions focus on road movies, the horror film, autobiographical films, the quirky comedy, musicals, historical epics and pornography. These are contextualized by discussion of their place in their respective national film and media histories as well as their influence on other Nordic countries and beyond.

By highlighting similarities and differences between the countries, as well as the often diverse production modes of each country, as well as the connections that have historically existed, the book works at the intersections of film and cultural studies and combines industrial perspectives and in depth discussion of specific films, while also offering historical perspectives on each genre as it comes to production, distribution and reception of popular contemporary genre film.


Introduction: Nordic Genre Film and Institutional History, Tommy Gustafsson & Pietari Kääpä
Part I: Heritage cinema and national narratives
Sibelius (2003) and the Re-emergence of the Great Man Biopic, Kimmo Laine
Whose Repressed Memories? Max Manus: Man of War and Flame & Citron (from a Swede’s Point of View), Erik Hedling
Voices from the Past: Recent Nordic Historical Films, Gunnar Iversen
Part II: Crime and detective narratives
Crime Up North: The Case of Norway, Finland and Iceland, Björn Norðfjörð
The Thrill of the Nordic Kill: The Manhunt Movie in the Nordic Thriller, Rikke Schubart
Bridges and Tunnels: Negotiating the national in transnational television-drama, Anders Wilhelm Åberg
Stockholm Noir: Neoliberalism and Gangsterism in Easy Money, Michael Tapper
The Private Life of the Prime Minister? Politics, Drama and Documentary in Pääministeri (2009) and Palme (2012), Anneli Lehtisalo
Part III: Nordic optimism: road movies, comedies and musicals
Fathers and sons reunited: road movies as stories of generational continuity, Tommi Römpötti
The Nordic “Quirky Feel-good”, Ellen Rees

Contesting Marriage: The Finnish Unromantic Comedy, Jaakko Seppälä
Powered by Music: Contemporary Film Musicals, Nordic Style, Ann-Kristin Wallengren
Part IV: Nordic Horrors
Slasher in the Snow: The Rise of the Low-Budget Nordic Horror Film, Tommy Gustafsson
Nordic Vampires: Stories of Social Exclusion in Nordic Welfare States, Outi Hakola
Part V: Genre Benders
A National/Transnational Genre: Pornography in Transition, Mariah Larsson
Going Hollywood: Nordic Directors in American Cinema, Arne Lunde
A culture of reciprocity: the politics of cultural exchange in contemporary Nordic genre Film, Pietari Kääpä.

About the Author

Tommy Gustafsson is Associate Professor in the Departement of Film and Literature at Linnaeus University. He is the author of Masculinity in the Golden Age of Swedish Cinema: A Cultural Analysis of 1920s Films (2014) and co-editor of Transnational Ecocinams: Film Culture in an Era of Ecological Transformation (with Pietari Kääpä, 2013).

Pietari Kääpä is Lecturer in Media and Communications at University of Stirling. He is the author of The Cinema of Mika Kaurismaki (Intellect Books, 2011) and Ecology and Contemporary Nordic Cinemas (Continuum, 2013). With Tommy Gustafsson, he is co-editor of Transnational Ecocinema: Film Culture in an Era of Ecological Transformation (Intellect, 2013).


'The volume stands out in its breadth of critical discussion and detailed examination of contemporary, post-2000 films and television series. What is indeed refreshing is that the chapters in this book pay particular attention to the transnational production, distribution, and reception of contemporary genre films – in part following the ‘institutional turn’ in film studies today, and in part an effort to expand our understanding of genre and its connections to regional and transnational dynamics.'
- Pei-Sze Chow , Scandinavica: An International Journal of Scandinavian Studies

This multifaceted – and longed-for – anthology explores Nordic film through a dynamic transnational perspective, combining thorough analytical approaches with a wide range of cultural and social observations. The texts uncover the importance of Nordic genre cinema from romantic comedy to slasher, and put its recent successes in a historical context.

Lars Gustaf Andersson, Lund University, Sweden

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