For this month’s column, I’m looking at a new Danish drama series that’s not only expected to be one the biggest – if not the biggest ever – Scandinavian productions, largely helped by the fact that it’s filmed in five different countries, but it’s also the first Danish drama series where the centrepiece of the storyline is the climate crisis.

When Thomas Vinterberg collaborated with three other Danish film directors for the Dogme experiment in 1998 and subsequently produced Festen (The Celebration) out of that project, one of the best Danish films ever made, he was by many described as Denmark’s most promising director, and at least in the years to follow he struggled to live up to the high expectations.

Now for the first time in his career, Vinterberg is stepping away from film and instead directing the seven-episode-long climate-themed Familier som Vores (Families Like Ours). Accompanying him is an all-star cast, indicating the scale of the production.

July 2024 Scandinavian Film & TV column

Photo: Arnesen, Zentropa TV 2

The plot centres around a not-too-distant future where Denmark faces evacuation due to rising water levels. The country is placed in a refugee state with everyone having to seek refuge in another country. The wealth of the citizens determines where they can be relocated. As the nation prepares to leave their homes, high school student Laura must choose between her divorced parents and the boy she’s fallen in love with.

The series is filmed over the course of 12 months in Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Romania and France. In addition to the star-studded Danish cast, the production includes 40 international actors and 2,500 extras from across Europe. It’s due to premiere in Denmark this autumn. Studio Canal owns the distribution rights internationally, but as of yet no information has been unveiled when international audiences will be treated to this blockbuster series. But due to the nature of the subject, it will for sure generate lots of debate both in Denmark and abroad.

July 2024 Scandinavian Film & TV column

Photo: Julia Vrabelov, Zentropa TV 2

Climate change in film and TV

The 2015 Norwegian drama Series Occupied (Okkupert) was the first Scandinavian TV series to centre around the climate crisis. An immediate stop to oil production due to extreme climate impact events is followed by a global geopolitical crisis of epic proportions. I warmly recommend watching this and it’s still streaming on Netflix.

The 2018 Danish/Swedish Netflix post-apocalyptic sci-fi production The Rain has undertones of the climate crisis but without mentioning the issue. Closely related to the sci-fi film genre, but not exclusively including sci-fi, the term cli-fi (climate fiction) is emerging as a genre description of films where the setting in some way is related to climate change. The genre is rapidly taking off, and there have been several calls directed towards scriptwriters to embed climate change when crafting storylines.

Scandinavian film and TV: March 2024

Anders Lorenzen is a Danish blogger and film and TV enthusiast living in London.

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