Contemporary French Civilization

Blood in the snow: mapping murder in contemporary Nordic/French crime television

Contemporary French Civilization (2018), 43, (1), 17–31.

Abstract

The explosion of Nordic Noir crime fiction in European culture markets aroused keen interest in Swedish-based murder narratives, spreading from literature to film and television, with rebroadcasts and retellings of Scandinavian crime fiction in both Anglophone and Francophone markets. This article explores on-screen representations of both physical migration and production mobilities in French genre television within a transnational theoretical framework, as well as how this particular category of “Quality Television” relates to the global art cinema category (particularly in relation to the aesthetic and geopolitical considerations in the shows, and what Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover deem the “impurity” of art cinema). In contemporary transnational examples of the Nordic trend in French television, geopolitical, linguistic, narrative, financial, and genre boundaries are drawn, moved, negotiated, and erased, inviting an exploration of authorship, adaptation, and cultural heritage in an increasingly transnational film and television industry. Transgressions of boundaries and hybridization of both language and geographic space replicate the duality of the transnational television series’ production model itself: a tension arises between the economic and the aesthetic in the commercial marketing of a cultural trend, based primarily on capturing an artistic visual mode.

La prolifération du genre “polar nordique” a suscité un vif intérêt pour les récits de meurtre basés en Suède, qui se répandent de la littérature au cinéma et à la télévision avec des adaptations de fiction nordique dans les marchés culturels anglophones et francophones. Dans cet article, on explore les représentations de la migration physique et des mobilités de production à la télévision française, ainsi que la manière dont cette catégorie particulière de “Télévision de Qualité” se rapporte à la catégorie du “cinéma d’art et d’essai” avec ses considérations esthétiques et géopolitiques (et ce que Rosalind Galt et Karl Schoonover considéraient “l’impureté ” de ce cinéma). Dans les exemples contemporains de la tendance nordique dans les coproductions télévisuelles françaises, les frontières géopolitiques, linguistiques, narratives, et financières sont déplacées, négociées, et effacées, ce qui invite une exploration de l’authenticité, de l’adaptation et du patrimoine culturel dans l’industrie de la télévision transnationale. Les transgressions des frontières ainsi que l’hybridation de la langue et de l’espace géographique reproduisent la dualité du modèle de production de la série télévisuelle transnationale aussi: une tension se crée entre les considérations économiques et esthétiques dans la commercialisation d’une tendance culturelle et un mode visuel artistique.

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Author details

Piper, Paige M.