Scandi Noir Comes of Age: The Best of European Television
The EU itself may be breaking apart over the question of refugees as the 28 now 27 try to hammer out an immigration policy essentially driven by the far right which is making hay on exaggerating this issue, since Europe has already clamped down on the migratory flow which is significantly reduced since 2015. Meanwhile, however, European television is alive and well with co-productions and cross border collaboration increasing. All this is being led by the Scandinavian countries who are shedding their particular brand in the world market, which is Scandi Noir, or series about a tough male or female cop returning to a rural or northern bleak setting often where they grew up to pursue a murderer or the kidnapper of a child. The form is tried and true--see The Killing, Midnight Sun, Jordskott--but Scandi makers of serial series are now retaining the mystery or thriller aspect but branching out to deal explicitly with key social and economic problems in their societies all of which deepens the mystery and strengthens the conspiratorial aspect of the work in a way that might, but probably won’t, serve as a model for U.S. series.
LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
These observations are drawn from the just completed Serie Series conclave outside Paris in the chateau city of Fontainebleau. The conference was somewhat presided over by the erstwhile and dedicated curator of what is becoming a very popular website in Europe and elsewhere, “Walter Presents.” The site originates from Channel 4 in Britain which is, along with Arte in France, probably the public station that is the most progressive commissioner of film and television series in the world. The site is a free listing of its master Walter Iuzzolino’s choices of the most interesting European series in a variety of genres. He is sort of a one-person Netflix algorithm who chooses series based on fascinating but popular concepts and not as in Netflix on what will attract the most new subscribers. It’s a great place to watch new series.
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Bro On The Global Television Beat: Arts Express Paris Correspondent, Sorbonne Professor Dennis Broe, attended the Series Mania Television Festival in Lille, France - and filed this report. And what it all has to do with Netflix financially surpassing every Hollywood studio except Disney; quota quickies; outback noir; and the best of the small screen series to come.
France is trying to establish itself as throwing the best TV party, attempting to create at Lille the equivalent in the television world of the Cannes Film Festival. The main rival for this honour is, oddly, Cannes, which a few weeks earlier staged its own festival with creators of series in competition walking the Cannes tapis rouge, or red carpet and with as well a large global television market...
Games of Thrones, Season 7, The Acclamation
Shoring up the Wall to Protect Westeros,
Poisoning the Challenger so the Queen can Reign
I was not able to attend the coronation of Queen Hillary the First of the Royal House of Clinton at King’s Landing this week nor the usurpation in the midlands of the Bush Line by the bastard Trump the previous week but I was able to read some of the reports sent by the ravens and here are my comments on 2016’s Game of Thrones.
Above ground the Republicans pledged allegiance to god, country and morality but the unconscious of a repressed party was on display as even while they praised righteousness from the podium, in their psychoanalytic basement right wing demagogue Roger Ailes was canned from the party network Fox for multiple complaints of sexual harassment. Also on display were Trump’s blatant corruption; it’s flashy, gaudy and on the surface (he’s so scared of being found out he will not show his tax returns) and contrasts with Clinton’s slightly more subtle concealed corruption. Trump’s incompetence was also front and center in his overture to his Ohio rival John Kasich to be the most powerful vice president in history (next to Dick Cheney?) in charge of foreign and domestic affairs so the Donald could spend his time “making American great.” But the Republican convention was democratic as was the nominating process, the financial elite and the party leaders were absent, and like him or not Trump was the candidate of the people while the democratic convention was nothing but a carefully orchestrated as Mumia Abu-Jamal described it ‘show’.
LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
The Clinton campaign and the DNC had utterly sabotaged the primary process and when that was revealed on the opening day of the convention in the leaked DNC memos, Clinton acknowledged the meddling by quickly appointing dethroned DNC chair Debbie Wasserman to her campaign. We saw a clear indication of how a Clinton presidency will work when, instead of confronting this utterly undemocratic chicanery, which may have contributed to stealing the nomination, the Clinton campaign diverted attention away from the revelations by blaming the leaks on the Russians (though WikiLeaks Julien Assange who would not reveal his sources suggested that was highly unlikely). Meanwhile a poll revealed Clinton trailing Trump, but now the Democrats, instead of fielding Bernie Sanders who not only trumped Trump in every poll but also would have engaged him in a spirited debate for the heart and soul of the American working class, are now saddled with a candidate whose major claim to fame is that she ran an efficient State Department bureaucracy while of course bombing Libya back to the stone age, abetting a coup in Honduras, and backing the dictator Mubarak in Egypt against the democratizers of the Arab Spring.
The democratic show was all about restoring Clinton’s liberal caring credentials but given her record as an ultimate corporate shill, backing NAFTA, the very dangerous TPP which despite wide opposition at the convention she will likely still promote, and her stunning reception at this point of almost all corporate campaign funding, 43 million to Trumps 1 million, she is at best a Kissinger-esque center-right neoliberal which makes this a race between the Right and Far Right. And the majority of Americans are disgusted with what the two-party oligarchy has produced, with each candidate’s disapproval rate at 58%.
The larger issue here is that there is a point where a neoliberal and a neofascist agenda converge and we are close to that point. When the world economy stops growing and the promises of globalization fade, corporate interests become more and more naked and inequality accelerates, now having regressed, as Thomas Piketty explains, to levels similar to the pre-World War I colonial era. Law and order then becomes the order of the day. But equally important, and this is the point of the ‘show’ in this election, is that those white workers feeling the pain of deindustrialization and globalization in the heartland and minority workers in the cities, enlisted by the Democrats as part of the neoliberal order but not benefitting from it (how wonderful is life in Black America under Obama?), never unite because if they did they would be the most powerful force against Clinton’s neoliberalism and Trump’s neofascism. And so the two camps see each other as diametrically opposed, offering really nothing except they are not the other and the other is unthinkable. But what is really unthinkable—that is, to the oligarchy-- is healing this centuries old rift--the replacement of racism by class solidarity. As the apparent differences between the candidates supposedly grow greater, the actual pain and suffering of their core constituencies, concealed by the personality quirks of these two buffoons, increases and will worsen under either after the election; quickly under the proto-fascist Trump, more slowly but more methodically under the corporate neoliberal bureaucrat Clinton.
Dennis Broe lives in Paris. He is a cultural and political correspondent for Arts Express on the Pacifica Network, a professor of film and television at the Sorbonne, and the author of Class, Crime and International Film Noir: Globalizing America’s Dark Art from Macmillan and Maverick or How the West Was Lost, an entry in the TV Milestones Series.