The nordic crime_wave_newyork260411

1,424 views

Published on

Paper on the impact of Nordic crime fiction on the US market held at the Nordic Journalist Center's cultural meeting in New York, April 2011

0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,424
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
19
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The nordic crime_wave_newyork260411

  1. 1. The Nordic Crime Wavea lecture on the characteristics and popularity of Nordic crime fiction and its reworking and renewal of American formats NJC Kulturtræf, New York 2011Kjetil Sandvik, MA, PH.D., associate professor, Dept. of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen
  2. 2. Agenda• A little something about the research project Crime Fiction and Crime Journalism in Scandinavia (putting this talk into context)• The Nordic Crime Fiction: as part of a tradition and as something with its own characteristics• The Nordic Crime Fiction Wave: why is Nordic crime fiction so populær at home and in Germany, in UK… in USA• Impacts from Nordic crime fictions: remakes – from Insomnia and Nightwatch to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing
  3. 3. In 1949 Chandler defined themystery novel as “a form whichhas never really been licked”, andproudly claimed: “Since its formhas never been perfected, it hasnever become fixed. Theacademicians have never gottheir dead hands on it. It is stillfluid, still too various for easyclassification, still putting outshoots in all directions.”
  4. 4. Crime fiction and crime journalism in Scandinavia• 3- year research project, extended to 4 years, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research• Participants: 6 senior researchers and 1 PH.D student + associated researchers in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Italy, England, USA• Output: 3 international conferences, two anthologies, several conference papers and articles, loads of interviews and media appearances, final book series of 7 volumes
  5. 5. Six sub project
  6. 6. Agenda• A little something about the research project Crime Fiction and Crime Journalism in Scandinavia (putting this talk into context)• The Nordic Crime Fiction: as part of a tradition and as something with its own characteristics• The Nordic Crime Fiction Wave: why is Nordic crime fiction so populær at home and in Germany, in UK… in USA• Impacts from Nordic crime fictions: remakes – from Insomnia and Nightwatch to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing
  7. 7. Nordic crime fiction influencing the world…?• Swedish crime fiction and eventually also crime fiction from the other Nordic countries have become increasingly popular both in the rest of Europe (especially Germany) and in the USA• Millenniun trilogy occupied 1-3 on USA‟s bestseller list in January• Still it is good to remember that crime fiction is not a Nordic invention: it evolves from a British and an American tradition…
  8. 8. Ronald Knox (1888-1957), “Ten Commandments of Detection”1. The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.7. The detective himself must not commit the crime.8. The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
  9. 9. Instead of the corporeal sensations that hadpreviously spiced up the narrative recipes of thesensational and the gothic, readers were offeredintellectual enigmas that were associated with thetechnique of fair play.
  10. 10. Clue-puzzleWhodunitGolden Age of DetectiveFiction
  11. 11. • Nordic crime fiction is more influenced by the American tradition than the British• Hard-boiled detective stories • (troubled chararcters such as Spade and Marlow are mirrored in Martin Beck, Kurt Wallander, Annika Bengtzon, Sarah Lund…)• Police procedurals • (focus on investigation processes in the tradition of e.g. Ed McBain‟s stories from 87th precinct)• The thriller as format
  12. 12. Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest(1929), The Maltese Falcon(1930; film 1931, 1941)
  13. 13. Raymond Chandler, “The SimpleArt of Murder” (1944)It is the ladies and gentlemen ofwhat Mr. Howard Haycraft […]calls the Golden Age of detectivefiction that really get me down. Thisage is not remote. […] Two-thirds orthree-quarters of all the detectivestories published still adhere to theformula the giants of this eracreated, perfected, polished and soldto the world as problems in logicand deduction.
  14. 14. Heirs Contemporary crime fiction with a social conscience: Maj Sjöwahl and Per Wahlöö (1965- 75): ‟The story of crime‟ (ten novels featuring Martin Beck) 1990 - 2008: In Sweden: Henning Mankell and Liza Marklund; Arne Dahl, Haakan Nesser, Jan Guillou, Inger Frimansson, Karin Alvtegen, and Åsa Nilsson In Norway: Gunnar Staalesen, Jo Nesboe, Karin Fossum, Kim Smaage and Anne Holt Genre development: the historical and mythical crime novel, mixtures between historical and contemporary forms, existential and psychological types, feminist types, metafictions © Gunhild Agger
  15. 15. Film and TV drama  Beck: based on characters created by Sjöwahl and Wahlöö.  Wallander: based on characters created by Henning Mankell.  Varg Veum: based on characters created by Gunnar Staalesen  Danish exceptions: Unit One and The Eagle, both TV crime series: Emmy awards in 2002 and 2005 (best foreign productions). The Killing nominated 2007 & 2008.  Computer game industry, e.g. Lisa Marklund´s Dollar – The Game (PAN Vision Studio 2006). But games are primarily tied to the cross-media production of TV series. © Gunhild Agger
  16. 16. Users want to solve the crime mystery themselves
  17. 17. Gender and crime fiction• Major characteristica: feminist point of view  ‟femi krimi‟• Anne Holt‟s novels featuring detective Hanne Willumsen and Lisa Marklunds novels featuring crime journalist Annika Bengtson are major exponents of this specific ‟trade-mark‟ within Nordic crime fiction.
  18. 18. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  19. 19. Jane Tennison
  20. 20. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  21. 21. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  22. 22. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  23. 23. 06-05-2011 30
  24. 24. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  25. 25. Lisbeth Salander
  26. 26. Gender and crime fiction• Crime fictions TV series built around strong female figures developing after the 1990s:• Major inspiration: Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 1991-2006• SE: Anna Holt• SE: Eva Höök• DK: Anna Pihl• Or featuring strong female major characters:• SE: Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium-trilogy• DK: Ingrid Dahl in Unit One, Sarah Lund in The Killing, Katrine Ries Jensen in Den som dræber
  27. 27. Ingrid Dahl
  28. 28. Sarah Lund
  29. 29. Katrine Ries
  30. 30. The female character• Troubled characters• Personality problems• Family problems• Love problems• Problems with authorities• complex characters, complex stories• “Take a fictional female detective who inspects crime scenes in the morning, interrogates her suspects at noon and picks up her three-year old at daycare after work. Now call it Nordic noir and await the accolades” (Reuters)
  31. 31. Real crime• In Denmark 50-80 homicides a year• The detection rate is more than 90 %• The risk of being exposed to crime (theft, malicious damage or violence) in Denmark has fallen about 20 % during the period from 1987 to 2005• A peaceful part of the world creating a huge interest in fictitious crime as well as in crime journalism • Studies by Karen Klitgaard Povlsen show that the interest in crime fiction, crime documentaries and crime journalism is opposite propotional with the actual crime rate: more peaceful = more interest in crime stuff
  32. 32. Social criticism• Criminals in paradise• The darker side of the wellfare-state• The decay of the wellfare-state: individualism, nationalism, globalization• The wellfare-model turn the blind eye to deviating individuals and groupings, e.g. extremists…• Nordic crime fiction portaits a darker, more violent and sinister version of the Nordic contries
  33. 33. Agenda• A little something about the research project Crime Fiction and Crime Journalism in Scandinavia (putting this talk into context)• The Nordic Crime Fiction: as part of a tradition and as something with its own characteristics• The Nordic Crime Fiction Wave: why is Nordic crime fiction so populær at home and in Germany, in UK… in USA• Impacts from Nordic crime fictions: remakes – from Insomnia and Nightwatch to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing
  34. 34. The joy of crime fiction• Main assumption: we read to uncover and reveal the plot• When it comes to crime fictions the joy and excitement in reading (watching, playing) are fueled by our attempts to reveal and solve the crime (the core of the crime fiction‟s plot) which are being carried out along side and in „competition‟ with the with the protagonist (the detective, the investigator).• We do not just read for the plot on the level of the story, we also do it on the level of the characters of the story and thus we engaged ourselves in playing the plot.• We submit to an investigative reading in which the exploration of both events (the crime) and place (the crime scene) are at play
  35. 35. The joy of crime fiction• A well-working crime fiction facilitates a double plot-reading by enabling a certain form of agency and embodiment:• - by putting out traces and clues and leaving possibilities for interpretations and solutions open to us, the structure of the crime fiction grants us the possibility of carrying out the tasks of investigation.• The crime fiction creates a structure and space for actions into which we not just project ourselves in the act of reading but in which we also may participate actively.• A classic „who-dunnit‟ novel or movie is an invitation to the reader/viewer to deliver the answer before Poirot, Marple, Barnaby does it• An American-modeled crime fiction (the police procedural fiction) with its emphasis on the investigation more than on who-did-it is an invitation to the reader/viewer to engage in the work of crime investigation along side the detectives and the CSI-team
  36. 36. The realism contract• The crime scene as a cultural concept, which is connected to a certain historical and criminological heritage as well as to popular culture.• A strong sense of place and high degree of realism is crucial to crime stories.• Fictional crime stories do not unfold in fantastic worlds (or they do so very seldom): they may take place in the past or in the future, but they always carry a contract of realism even when it comes to a sci-fi film noir movie like Ridley Scott‟s Blade Runner.• And the most popular crime series in Scandinavia at the time uses actual places as its narrative setting.• The characteristics of these places, which are described in detail, play a crucial role in the way these crime stories are told:• It is e.g. of great importance to the stories told in novels by the Norwegian author Anne Holt that they take place not in some fictional big city, but in a specific part of Oslo (Grenland), with its very own demographical and historical conditions.
  37. 37. The importance of place• Crime fictions are (often) set in actual places – Simenon‟s Paris – Hammet‟s San Francisco – Chandler‟s or Connelly‟s Los Angeles, Burke‟s New Orleans, – Rankin‟s Edinburgh – Staalesen‟s Bergen – Larsson‟s or Marklund‟s Stockholm – Mankell‟s Ystad• By using these places as location for their crime stories, as their ‟scene of the crime‟ these authors (and the film and TV producers using the same locations), are plotting this places in ways that may be used also for more playable murder-plots such as murder tours/walks.
  38. 38. When tourists embark on one of this tours, they are taken on a guidedwalk through parts of the actual towns working as „scenes of the crime‟in Stieg Larsson‟s or Henning Mankel‟s novels, but following the trailslaid out not by some historical person or chain of historical events(like in the case of Jack the Ripper-tour s in London) but by fictional characters(Blomqvist/Salander or Wallander) and their actions and thus the actualplaces have become partly fiction.
  39. 39. The crime scene as a plottted place• Crime scenes are constituted by a combination of a plot and a place.• The place that has been in a certain state at a certain moment in time, i.e. the moment at which the place constituted the scene for some kind of physical activity, which has changed its nature.• Thus the place carries a plot (a narrative), which at first is hidden and scattered and has to be revealed and pieced together through a process of investigation and exploration with the aid of different forensic methods, eye-witnesses and so on; - through reading and interpretation.
  40. 40. • By rearranging the furniture she changes the scene from one of passionate actions to one of torture and execution:• The victim has been tied to a chair and tortured to make her say something and then she has been stabbed to death.• And as a result of this operation and Lund‟s ability to perform logical reasoning and deductive thinking, a specific clue – the cellophane wrapping of a video cassette found on the floor – can now be fitted into the narrative:• The murder is not about passion and rage, it is about making a statement and therefore the murderer(s) has/have videotaped the event.• Due to her way of performing her investigative action – and actually altering the place – Sarah Lund can suggest a narrative of a political motivated murder which also explains the specific finding site: the murderer(s) is/are sending a political message (which proves to be true when the recording of the murder turns up in the shape of (what appears to be) an Islamic fundamentalist video file on the Internet at the end of the episode).
  41. 41. Why is it so popular?• Strong and realistic plots and use of places• Complex and realistic characters• Social criticism: the dark side of the peaceful Nordic wellfare-state • (e.g. in The Killing 2: • extremism • corruption • war crimes)• All set in exotic landscapes
  42. 42. That Nordic atmosphere
  43. 43. Narrative setting in BBC’s Wallander
  44. 44. More Swedish than Sweden
  45. 45. Agenda• A little something about the research project Crime Fiction and Crime Journalism in Scandinavia (putting this talk into context)• The Nordic Crime Fiction: as part of a tradition and as something with its own characteristics• The Nordic Crime Fiction Wave: why is Nordic crime fiction so populær at home and in Germany, in UK… in USA• Impacts from Nordic crime fictions: remakes – from Insomnia and Nightwatch to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing
  46. 46. Impact and influences• The import from UK and the USA still prevails (important when the question is who is influencing who)• Scandinavian books as well as films and TV series (both originals and formats) are produced and screened domestically as well as exported to other countries • Millennium-trilogy sells 35 mill. copies world-wide, Mankell out-classes Rowling on the German language market...)• In 2008, Wallander was adapted by BBC and produced using Ystad as location with Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander. • The story still takes place in Ystad (with no attempt on hiding the fact that this is a Sweedish town). • Same production company (Yellow Bird)• 2010: remake of The Killing for the US marked: • story is moved to Seattle but both plot, characters and scenery are very close to the Danish original• 2011: remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo • Shot partly on location in Stockholm, co-production with the company who made the Swedish version (Yellow Bird). • Very little footage released – but the aesthetics seem to resemble the Swedish version. • Striking resemblance between Rooney Myra‟s and Noomi Rapace‟s Salander- character.
  47. 47. US remakes: Insomnia
  48. 48. US remakes: Nightwatch
  49. 49. US remakes: The Girl with the Dragon TattooNoomi Rapace Not Noomi Rapace
  50. 50. US remakes: The Killing Same hair-do, same sweather
  51. 51. Use of same types of lighting
  52. 52. Use of same types of lighting The blue filter trademark used in Unit One, The Eagle and The Killing
  53. 53. Use of same type of set- design
  54. 54. Use of the similar looking characters
  55. 55. Use of same cross-media strategy
  56. 56. • The remake is being so true to the Danish original‟s plot, characters and atmosphere that it almost looks like a perfectly dubbed foreign language movie. » Alessandra Stanley, New York Times
  57. 57. • The Killing is soaked in atmosphere and steeped in the stark realism of Scandinavian crime novelists Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson. The Killing is not as much about a young girls murder as it is a psychological study of what happens afterward, how a tightknit community tries to recover and how a dead childs mother, father and siblings learn to deal with their pain in their own private ways. » Alex Strachan, Postmedia News March 25th 2011
  58. 58. Closing questions• Are we witnessing with the remake of Nordic crime fictions a ‟Nordification‟ of American crime fiction – the introduction of a ‟Nordicness‟ in the adaptation and adjustment of non-American fiction to the American market?• Or are we just witnessing the easy implementation of a brand of crime fiction which in basic is American regarding plot, characters and aesthetics?
  59. 59. Questions?Comments?

×