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Arctic Noir on Screen: Midnight Sun (2016–) as a Mix of Geopolitical Criticism and Spectacular, Mythical Landscapes

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the mix of political criticism and spectacular, mythical landscapes in the Swedish Arctic crime series Midnatssol (Midnight Sun, 2016–). Arctic noir not only adapts the double premises that characterize Nordic noir and Scandinavian crime fiction in general, the combination of a public-interest narrative thread, often political, with a crime investigation. It also demonstrates a triple premise including (a) the crime plot and its setting, (b) the political, critical, societal “plot,” and (c) the cinematic landscape. I analyze the landscapes in the series and link them to the idea of the Arctic sublime in art and cultural history. The article asks whether the distinct premises and gazes in Arctic noir support and reinforce each other or, perhaps instead, compete and conflict with each other.

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... This leads to the idea that there are not only two, but rather three crucial storytelling elements characterising the genre: 1) the crime plot; 2) ethical, social, and political narrative engagement; and 3) Nordic aesthetics manifested through visual elements, often cinematic landscapes (Waade, 2020). The third element in this triple premise involves the viewer's gaze, linking the double plot to place and space. ...
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  • Ole Mjøs
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Imperial Landscape.” In Landscape and Power
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Swedish Crime Fiction: Novels, Television, Film
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