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The element of crime and punishment: Aki Kaurismäki, Lars von Trier and the traditions of Nordic cinema

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Finnish Aki Kaurismäki and Danish Lars von Trier are the two outstanding and internationally renowned auteurs in contemporary Scandinavian cinema, though both have enjoyed only moderate success at the box office in their home country. The article compares the two directors, characterizing their construction of a distinct universe, their attitude to nationality and internationalism, their political attitudes and use of religion or nostalgia as themes, their use of allegory and melodrama, as well as their attitude to low-budget production as a creative inspiration, all seen against the background of Nordic cinema traditions concerning sexuality, Heimat and the wisdom of society’s marginalized figures.

Keywords: Aki Kaurismäki; Lars von Trier; Nordic cinema; art cinema; auteur

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Copenhagen

Publication date: October 15, 2010

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  • The Journal of Scandinavian Cinema is a new scholarly journal devoted to film in the Scandinavian countries. It aims to become the prime site for excellent research and engaging discussions on cinema in Scandinavia, both within the national context of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and as a region existing in a globalized world.
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