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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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The Nordic ‘Quirky Feel-Good’

The Nordic ‘Quirky Feel-Good’

(p.147) 10. The Nordic ‘Quirky Feel-Good’
Nordic Genre Film

Ellen Rees

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter I want to propose the ‘quirky feel-good’ as a particular Nordic film genre. What exactly is meant by the term ‘feel-good’ is poorly defined within film studies, and it is often used to dismiss superficial films that lack intellectual or emotional depth. Yet as Mette Hjort suggests in her booklength study of Lone Scherfig’s Italiensk for begyndere (Italian for Beginners, 2000) – itself perhaps the most widely recognised example of what I am calling the Nordic quirky feel-good – a film that makes its viewers feel good does not preclude it from having significant depth. Hjort proposes the term ‘ethical feel-good’ as a genre delineation for Italian for Beginners, but I think such a term underplays the importance of humour. As I see it, generally speaking a ‘feel-good’ is a film that combines drama with comic effects in order to establish emotional connections between viewers and characters, and among characters, rather than simply to generate laughter or for the purposes of ridicule. A feel-good will thus by definition have an ethos that emphasises emotional connections.

Keywords:   ethical feel-good, quirky, Children of Nature, Italian for Beginners, Danish Dogme

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