Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
In late 19th century Norway, a small urban elite chose nature as a distinctive trait to define the young Norwegian nation. Ever since, this constructed nature mythology, based on real nature (dark forests, fjords and high mountains), has been a recurrent symbol equated with Norwegianness in the rhetoric of the nation. While this foundational narrative has been represented in most of the arts, it is depicted in a more complex manner in contemporary Norwegian films. Thus the main question in "Nature, Nation and the Global in Contemporary Norwegian Cinema" is the following. What is the relationship between Norwegian national culture (as established in national Romanticism) and contemporary Norwegian cinema in a globalization context? My hypothesis is that investigating the national category of nature in Norwegian films discloses Norwegian cinema as a transnational cinema. To this day, there has only been one major study on Norwegian nature mythology applied to literature and culture. However, the relation between nature and national identity in Norwegian cinema has not been the subject of a thorough study either in English or in Norwegian. Thus, "Nature, Nation and the Global in Contemporary Cinema" is the first study to investigate the representation of nature in Norwegian cinema in a global context. This dissertation thus fills a gap in providing a study of nature in Norwegian cinema.
This dissertation joins other recent studies of a minor national cinema, originating in a small nation, that place their cinemas in a global context. Methodologically, I rely on cultural, genre, global, and transnational cinema studies. Each chapter takes one type of natural geography as a starting point (the wild forest, the sea and the mountain) in order to analyze how, in the film texts, each aspect of nature negotiates the local and the global contexts. Thus, each chapter creates a bridge between cinematic representations, Norwegian national and global culture. As a result, this project has demonstrated that the relationship between cinema and culture is complicated by the relationship both have cultivated with nature. This dissertation has confirmed that as a mode of representation cinema is fundamentally transnational, crossing borders and, thus, contradicts the attempts of national ideologies to contain culture and identities within enclosed borders. At the same time, I have shown that cinema and nature are equally transnational, fluid and porous and that they are places of negotiation between the local and the global.
Copyright 2012 Sabine Brigitte Henlin-Stromme
Henlin-Stromme, Sabine Brigitte. "Nature, nation and the global in contemporary Norwegian cinema." dissertation, University of Iowa, 2012.