COPENHAGEN: With original boundary-breaking content, thrilling plots and charismatic actors, Danish television series have captivated audiences worldwide in recent years.
The latest show to hit the small screen is “Ride Upon the Storm”, which is being distributed in almost 80 countries with a debut late January in Britain.
The new drama was created by Adam Price, the BAFTA winner behind the acclaimed drama “Borgen”, which followed the political and personal tribulations of a Danish woman prime minister.
Danish shows, with both exoticism and gritty realism, have quickly soared in popularity beyond their initial local Scandinavian viewership, Pia Jensen, an Aarhus University communications associate professor specializing in television series, told AFP.
Long known for the Nordic noir crime genre, the big international breakthrough for Danish shows came with “The Killing”, a hard-hitting series following a Copenhagen female cop’s investigations.
Then came crime thriller “The Bridge” in 2011.
The Nordic noir genre has proven so popular that its aesthetic and themes are now being replicated beyond Scandinavia’s borders, with shows such as “Shetland” and “Broadchurch” made in Britain, Jensen said.
For foreign audiences, Denmark, as it is shown on television, is “an exotic society, something to aspire to because of the welfare state and the strong women characters”, she said, referring also to the 2010 hit “Borgen”.
She added, clearly amused, that it’s “as if Denmark is the fantasy land of gender equality”.
Paradoxically, in this almost utopian world, the characters are “normal” people with whom audiences can identify, according to Jensen.
But now Danish TV series has moved beyond Nordic noir.
“Ride Upon the Storm” is a character-led drama about faith and a family of Danish priests, dominated by Johannes Krogh, a tempestuous God-like father battling numerous demons.
Actor Lars Mikkelsen, known from “The Killing” and his role as the Russian president in Netflix’s “House of Cards”, plays Johannes, a role for which he won an International Emmy in November.
Mikkelsen “has set new standards for the portrayal of the main character in a TV series”, the show’s creator Adam Price told AFP.
Johannes “is the 10th generation of priests, it’s a huge burden that haunts him and he lets it haunt his sons too”.
His eldest son Christian is lost and at odds with the family and society, while younger son August is married and following in his father’s priesthood footsteps before becoming a chaplain for troops stationed in Afghanistan.
“In the Bible, you have lots of stories of fathers and sons and brothers. That was the perfect ground to tell (a story) about masculine relationships, the competitive gene between men in a family,” Price said.
Elements from “Borgen” can be seen in Price’s new venture: the efficient prime minister Birgitte Nyborg and Johannes Krogh, who is headed for the top as Bishop of Copenhagen, are both characters passionate about their work.
“But Johannes reacts differently than Birgitte (does) because his ambition is not within the world of politics, but with more supernatural power,” Price said.
Thoughts on faith, religion, and spirituality are mixed with a complex study of the family.
“Religion is sometimes something imposed, as authority can be imposed on our children in a family. And both are dealt with in ‘Ride Upon the Storm’,” he said.
Price is currently working on “Ragnarok” for Netflix, a six-part Norwegian coming-of-age drama based on Norse mythology but set in a modern-day high school.
The second season of “Ride Upon the Storm” just wrapped up on Danish public television DR, which produced the series, and had around 500,000 viewers.
A small country of just 5.8 million people, Denmark is proud of its reputation as an innovator on the small and big screen.
“Danish producers are mainly thinking of a Danish audience. It has to stay relevant to the Danish public and that’s why DR keeps experimenting,” Jensen said.
“Some of the shows will travel and some won’t.”
Chinese Film Festival to bring visual feast for local audience
ISLAMABAD: Chinese film festival, starting next month at PNCA, will bring a visual feast through top Chinese films that will be screened for local audiences.
Chinese Film Festival (CFF) would kick off on July 3 in celebration of 70th founding anniversary of China and 68th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Pakistan and China.
The festival would be organized by Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) Ministry of Information, Broadcasting in collaboration with China Embassy, China Cultural Center in Pakistan and China Film Archive.
It is one of the largest and most popular Chinese cultural events and is held annually in major cities of the world.
The festival is aimed to promote Chinese films and improve communication and collaboration between Chinese film industry professionals and their international counterparts.
Cinema was introduced in China in 1896 and the first Chinese film, Dingjun Mountain, was made in 1905, with the film industry being centered on Shanghai in the first decades while 1930s, was considered the first “golden period” of Chinese cinema.
Adnan Sami’s Twitter account hacked
MUMBAI: International hackers hacked the Twitter account of singer and music composer Adnan Sami Khan and replaced his display picture with the picture of Pakistan premier Imran Khan.
According to reports, the account was hacked by the same group that had earlier targeted Bollywood legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan’s account on the social networking site.
“We would be happy to be visit our brother country Pakistan and have a cup of tea with your esteemed Prime Minister. This will be a great opportunity to visit your country and meet our brothers. @ImranKhanPTI” read one tweet.
Microsoft gives glimpse of new Xbox console
LOS ANGELES: Microsoft on Sunday gave the world a first glimpse of a powerful next-generation Xbox gaming console that it aims to release late next year.
Xbox head Phil Spencer pulled back the curtain on “Project Scarlett,” the creation of a successor to the Xbox One that will give game makers “the power they need to bring their creative visions to life.”
No pricing plans for the new console were revealed at a gala event ahead of the opening of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game industry gathering.
The new Xbox was promised to be released in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season in 2020.
“For us, the console is vital and central to our experience,” Spencer said during a media event that showcased 60 new games for Xbox.
Xbox battles in the console gaming arena with Sony, which is working on a new generation PlayStation.
The commitment to consoles by longtime contenders in the market comes with the rise of video games hosted as subscription services streamed Netflix-style from data centers in the internet cloud.
Xbox said at the E3 event that it is adding the ability for players to stream games in their libraries for play on mobile devices with Game Pass subscriptions.
“We will bring Xbox to the cloud with Project and console streaming,” Spencer said.
“Where you play is entirely your choice, you decide.”
The new service will be previewed later this year, according to Microsoft.
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