NORDIC NOIR? FEMINISM? ... what's the connection?

Dear Readers: Check out the brilliant links and clips below, from the Coen brothers' film, "Fargo."

The connection? Not really sure… but there are plenty of powerful Swedish, Danish and Norwegian women in their brooding police dramas…. like (my preferred) Swedish version of Wallander.

There was something quick and vulnerable about the young artist who played his daughter and side-kick Linda aka Johanna Sällström. Unfortunately, at the moment when she was just hitting her stride, she succumbed to the all-too-common Nordic Noir syndrome herself. Sadly missed.

Vale Johanna! Anyway, if you have never met Swedish writers Marianne Fredriksson or the mighty Vilhelm Moberg, listen up!!

Did anyone out there ever see Liv Ullman and Max von Sydow in the heart-wrenching films, "The Emigrants" and "The New Land"? After seeing the films, I yearned to read Moberg’s entire epic four-tomed family saga , set in both Småland and America. It is in fact, the inspiring story of millions of hardy and industrious Swedish immigrants from the South of Sweden. Imagine my delight when Swedish relatives took me to visit the House of Emigrants in Vaxjo! .... and I bought the entire set of books. And I wasn't disappointed. Anyone who has had the experience of displacement and immigration will be moved by the bitter-sweet narrative.

Moving to the present day America, think: “Fargo.” Did you ever notice the Scandinavian music? the idiosyncracies? the speech patterns and the dialect the Cohens integrated throughout the film? (CLICK HERE and see how they did it). I was fascinated.

Here, the pithy Frances McDormand demonstrates she's up for the job!

As a Canadian by birth, I have a deep sense of the harshness of village life in Scandinavia; the stillness of half a year of darkly forested boreal nights, the vast icy lakes. Imagine it BEFORE cars.... before TV.... before most people could READ (SHOCK HORROR!) And having families of twelve or even fifteen children to feed off your parcel of land. Imagine the workload.

All great reasons for a strong feminist ethic informing Sweden’s solid social policy ….. and Marianne Fredriksson channels generations of courageous Swedish women in her novel, “Hanna and her Daughters,” (not to be confused with the Woody Allen film!). The film version of her “Simon and the Oaks” lacked that bitter-sweet mystical feel, so I recommend the book, if you are a first-timer. For me, whereas the Swedes have a reputation for being distant and taciturn, Fredriksson’s characters exude whimsical humour, warmth, tenderness and the intimacy of a welcoming hearth.

Hope you'll visit again soon.... Messages happily received. Its lonely out here in Cyberland..... MM


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