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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Vikings and Wikings

A clip from what could be called the first viking movie, the German "Die Niebelungen: Siegfried" (1924).

The Swedish directed (Johan Renck) TV drama "Vikings" has its premiere in Sweden today on HBO Nordic. Well, about time a Swedish director did something about the vikings.

Next year it will be 90 years since the first "viking movie" (sort of) was made, Fritz Lang´s "Die Niebelungen: Siegfried". Some scenes in that movie are said to have inspired one Mr. Hitler, or was it Albert Speer, or both of them? Perhaps scenes like the above one?

There have since been several American, British and three Icelandic films - the last of which was partly Swedish, it was called "The White Viking" (1991). But as far I know it is only now, with the new "Vikings", that a Swedish director, Johan Renck, has directed a viking story that is not a comedy (in 2010 the Swedish viking comedy "Sweaty Beards" was released). BTW "Vikings" is also starring a Swede, Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki. Skarsgård was most recently in the Oscar-nominated "Kon-Tiki" where he did a great job if you ask me.

Why did it take so long for us? There is a similar case with the wikings of the SS, that only in 2006 appeared in a Swedish film, "Frostbite". I have no clear answer, but sense that it may have something to do with the rarely discussed complex that until very recently made the more than 23,000 Swedish citizens who volunteered for or were drafted by other nations between 1914 and 1945 almost invisible, even in their home country.

No, I have not seen "Vikings" yet but I understand realism has not been a top priority. I find that a bit sad. Hopefully, someone out there feels the challenge to make the first realistic Swedish viking movie...

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