Killing_us_softly_Investigating_in_the_aesthetics_philosophy_and_influence_of_Nordic_Noir_television

22 handling a number of stories in this flexi

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22 Handling a number of stories in this flexi-narrative form’, Robin Nelson argues, ‘generates a high level of intensity since, once the strands of the narrative are established, it is possible to cut to the high points in the action of each, thus keeping up […] the dramatic temperature’ (1997: 38). 9
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In this way, Nordic Noir stands out from the television ‘flow’ by appearing so different from other programmes. In particular, it is the opposite of what John Caldwell (1995) refers to as ‘televisuality’, a contemporary aesthetic style typified by an increasingly faster narrative pace and a tendency towards visual and aural hyperactivity (3-11). Amy Holdsworth has discovered a similar approach to television drama in the work of Stephen Poliakoff and his attempt to ‘slow television down’ (2006: 129): Much of the action or inaction […] is characterised by this slowness. There are numerous occasions where the characters are framed in stillness and silence […]. The dialogue and the score of the drama is similarly characterised by a slowness that is achieved via pauses and repetition. All these elements contribute to this ‘slowing down’ effect. However, it is a pace that never feels leisurely as the urgency of the narrative predicament is continually present, but effectively heightens the sense of anticipation and expectation, offering the viewer an alternatively compelling television experience that positions itself against the increasingly fast-paced dynamic of contemporary serial drama. Such a mood is also reflected in the aural landscape of Nordic Noir . Rather than swamping the soundscape with bursts of orchestral extravagance, the score also tends to be understated, offering an eerie and unsettling ‘pulse’ that gently punctuates the action. There are moments when it clearly builds in momentum (as in the ‘ending montage’) but it generally tends to create a mood of eerie melancholy. Similarly, the music over the closing credits is often unusually melodic for a crime thriller (perhaps another influence of Twin Peaks and its haunting and hypnotic theme tune composed by Angelo Badalamenti). So, rather than attempting to create a soundtrack that builds drama and suspense, it is frequently melodic and ethereal, evoking a sense of quiet meditation. The theme to The Bridge , for example, is ‘Hollow Talk’, its lyrics (‘Silence seizes a cluttered room/Light is shed not a breath too soon/Darkness rises in all you do’), perfectly capturing the show’s undercurrent of plaintive introspection. There is also a distinctive sense of place present in Nordic Noir , its portrayal of location and landscape implicitly reflecting its characters’ inner moods and feelings. In 10
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Wallander (2005 - ), its central detective (Krister Henriksson) is a man who drinks too much, rarely exercises, battles with depression and has few close friends. Such a pessimistic and laconic mood is then metaphorically personified in the barren and remote landscape of his home town (it is set in Ystad, Scania near the southern tip of Sweden).
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