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Mapping Cinematic Norths

International Interpretations in Film and Television

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Edited By Julia Dobson and Jonathan Rayner

Mapping Cinematic Norths presents an international range of research and enquiry into the significance, representation and manipulation of depictions of the ‘North’ in cinema and television. Northern landscapes, soundscapes, characters and narratives are defined and recognized as distinctive image-spaces within film and television. However, the ‘North’ is portrayed, exploited and interpreted in divergent ways by filmmakers and film audiences worldwide, and this volume sheds new light on these varying perspectives.

Bringing together the work of established and emerging academics as well as practising filmmakers, this collection offers new critical insights into the coalescence of North-ness on screen, exploring examples from Britain, Scandinavia, continental Europe, Australia and the United States. With contextual consideration and close readings, these essays investigate concepts of the North on film from generic, national, aesthetic, theoretical, institutional and archival perspectives, charting and challenging the representations and preconceptions of the idea of North-ness across cultural and cinematic heritages.

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Norwegian Arctic Cinema: Ecology, Temperature and the Aesthetics of Cold

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The North is as much a creation of the imagination as it is a physical or human reality.1

Introduction

Norway has a rich but largely unexplored history of continental and insular Arctic Cinema, or what I would like to call Norwegian Arctic Cinema (NAC). Little, if any, attention from Anglo-Saxon or even Norwegian film scholars has been devoted to mapping the films made above the Norwegian Arctic circle, specifically, in the continental counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark and the Svalbard archipelago. Only recently has systematic attention been devoted to mapping global Arctic Cinema and its transnational aspects beyond strict anthropological examinations of indigenous film, which are the fruit of the efforts of Anna Stenport and Scott Mackenzie,2 who first described the concept of Arctic Cinema. NAC in particular, however, has remained overlooked in its cultural importance and aesthetic contribution to Norwegian cinema. ← 131 | 132 →

Many of the films that I survey here, with a few exceptions, are available only as low-quality VHS copies that are stored in the film archives of the National Library in Oslo or as celluloid copies with even more restricted access that are stored in Mo i Rana, where the main Norwegian film archives are located. Preservation and distribution work still needs to be performed to ensure that this cinematic heritage is not lost but is available to wider audiences. In spite of the reduced number of directors and films produced in the North, NAC has...

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