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Short Films from a Small NationDanish Informational Cinema 1935-1965$
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C. Claire Thomson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424134

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424134.001.0001

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We are a Little Land: Informational Film and Small-nation Cinema

We are a Little Land: Informational Film and Small-nation Cinema

(p.15) 2. We are a Little Land: Informational Film and Small-nation Cinema
Short Films from a Small Nation

C. Claire Thomson

Edinburgh University Press

Et lille land’ - a little land - is a trope of Danish identity which recurs in many of the short informational films about Denmark made from the 1930s to the 1960s. This chapter outlines why the notion of Denmark as a small country has historically been fundamental to the nation’s self-understanding as an imagined community, and how and why it has been employed in informational films made for domestic and foreign consumption. The chapter discusses the role of film in the national imagination, and the importance of medium-specific qualities in that process of imagining: for the purposes of this book, such qualities include the films’ shortness, which impacts on narrative as well as distribution and exhibition. The chapter then discusses recent scholarship on ‘small-nation’ cinema, especially in the Nordic region, and the place of informational filmmaking within the small-nation context. A final chapter section outlines a further body of scholarship on cultural diplomacy, soft power, and nation-branding in the Nordic region as a framework for understanding how images (including informational films) move across borders and re-negotiate auto- and xenostereotypes.

Keywords:   Danish cinema, Imagined community, Medium-specificity, Short films, Small-nation cinema, Cultural diplomacy, Soft power, Nation branding

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