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Nordic Genre FilmSmall Nation Film Cultures in the Global Marketplace$
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Tommy Gustafsson and Pietari Kääpä

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748693184

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748693184.001.0001

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Sibelius and the Re-emergence of the Great Man Biopic

Sibelius and the Re-emergence of the Great Man Biopic

(p.21) 1. Sibelius and the Re-emergence of the Great Man Biopic
(p.iii) Nordic Genre Film

Kimmo Laine

Edinburgh University Press

The aim of this chapter is to consider Sibelius as a popular historical narrative, discussing it in relation to the mechanisms of historical explanation as well as the mode of argument and address used in the film. As reference points I shall discuss certain other Nordic biopics made during the last few years. Biopic seems to be one of the prominent genres in Scandinavia in the 2000s. Monica Z (2013), for example, has been a huge success in Sweden, and Kon-Tiki (2012) – on the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl – broke into international markets and became a Norwegian Academy Award nominee. As a genre, biopic seems to be both culturally specific and universal at the same time. While addressing a predominantly national audience, Sibelius also shares many, if not most, of the generic characteristics analysed by George F. Custen (1992) in his classic study of the genre, even if Custen is talking about Hollywood films. And indeed, Hollywood has also produced countless biopics about non-Americans, including Scandinavians like the author Hans Christian Andersen (1952) or the composer Edvard Grieg (Song of Norway, 1970).

Keywords:   Return of the Great Man, Biopic, Sibelius, Popular historical narrative, heritage industry

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