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Nordic Film Cultures and Cinemas of Elsewhere$
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Anna Westerstahl Stenport and Arne Lunde

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474438056

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438056.001.0001

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The Transnational Politics of Lars Von Trier’s and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Amerika”

The Transnational Politics of Lars Von Trier’s and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Amerika”

(p.244) 19. The Transnational Politics of Lars Von Trier’s and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Amerika”
Nordic Film Cultures and Cinemas of Elsewhere

Linda Badley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores a previously overlooked area in von Trier, Dogma95, and Vinterberg scholarship by investigating the industrial and aesthetic practices, generic elements, and themes that make up their collective “Amerika” elsewhere. Where the two Danish directors’ American references have often been passed off as auteurist provocations, this chapter addresses the tensions and contradictions between the films’ European locations and American settings and the discursive play between Scandinavian and European “art” cinema and American genres (the musical, the western, gangster, horror, and science-fiction/disaster film) to expose a counter-hegemonic transnational politics. Films under discussion, including Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Manderlay Antichrist, Melancholia, It’s All about Love, Dear Wendy, are all set in an imagined USA, a country von Trier has never visited. Their settings are more often delocalized and blatantly mythical and inspired by a distantiated and critical, Kafkaesque and Brechtian, perspective – of “Amerika.”

Keywords:   Denmark, von Trier, Vinterberg, Dogma 95, “Amerika”, transnational, art cinema, genre, USA, Brechtian

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