- Observations on film art - http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog -

Great Danes in the morning

This morning I received my author’s copies of a superb book published by the Danish Film Institute, 100 Years of Nordisk Film. Nordisk was one of the world’s top producing and distributing companies in the 1900s and 1910s, and it continues today. This volume, edited by Lispeth Richter Larsen and Dan Nissen, is now the fullest account in English of this extraordinary firm.

There are essays by top scholars like Isak Thorsen, Marguerite Engberg, Stephan Michael Schroder, Niels Jorgen Dinnesen, Edvin Kau, Thomas Christensen, Casper Tybjerg, Ib Bondebjerg, and Peter Schelpern, and the illustrations are eye-popping. I contribute an essay on the aesthetics of Nordisk’s 1910s films, and my stills came out beautifully.

Many of the silent films discussed are available on DVD [1] from the Institute, and they are extraordinary. If you want a sample, try the Asta Nielsen or Benjamin Christensen collection. These are amazing movies, and the Christensens offer remarkably inventive uses of cutting, lighting, and camera movement–very unusual for their day.
I don’t yet find a source for ordering the book online, but it will probably be available soon from the Institute’s bookstore [2]. Danish cinema is one of the most exciting national cinemas in Europe right now; for coverage, have a look at their new homepage [3].

Addendum to an earlier post [4]: Industry sage and entertaining skeptic David Poland of The Hot Button [5] calls foul on Gladwell’s New Yorker piece on the Epagogix software–you know, the one purporting to predict hit movies. Thanks to Sean Weitner of Flak Magazine [6](itself highly recommended).