Imagining Denmark. Documentary Portraits of a Nation

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Documentary fi lms have explored wide-ranging aspects of Danish society, culture
and everyday life since the beginning of the twentieth century. Documentaries
are not just factual presentations of reality; they are also creative ways of
shaping how we imagine who we are and the world we inhabit. In this chapter,
I deal with how Denmark as a nation and society has been imagined and portrayed
in the genre of Danmarksfi lm (Denmark-fi lms), fi lms that try to capture
the nation as a whole. In a way, all documentary fi lms about Denmark contribute
to how Danes imagine their nation. Documentary fi lms deal with many
aspects of Danish society and culture, and those fragments of an imagined Denmark
contribute to our portrait of a nation. However, Denmark-fi lms have the
more ambitious goal of interpreting Denmark and the Danes. They are refl ections
on who we are – on our society, culture and way of living. Starting with
the fi rst Denmark-fi lm in 1926, such fi lms have often been commissioned and
made for Danes themselves, but also for an international audience as an introduction
or welcome to Denmark for tourists and business partners (Thomson
2018a and 2018b). The historical development of this particular genre shows
an increasing focus on the global – the global infl uence on Denmark and the
nation’s place in the world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA History of Danish Cinema
EditorsClaire Thomson, Isak Thorsen, Pei-Sze Chow
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Publication date20 Oct 2021
Pages93-104
ISBN (Print)9781474461122
ISBN (Electronic)9781474461153
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021

ID: 245234825