The film industry is known for helping to create stereotypes and prejudgement. Is this also the case for Norway? How is it depicted and are these depictions true?
If you ask a Belgian where they want to go on vacation, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear Norway. We prefer warm summers with sunny beaches. The biggest problem is that many students don’t know what Norway has to offer and we have a lot of prejudices.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Norwegian series called Acquitted. It tells the story of Aksel Borgen, who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend. Aksel is acquitted – hence the title – due to the lack of evidence and he flees to China. After twenty years he returns to Norway to save his village from bankruptcy. However, his past haunts him as some villagers still don’t trust him. Aksel has to prove his innocence once more. I must admit, although I didn’t see the whole series, it did give me a certain impression of Norway. I expected that only small towns would exist between the mountains, just like the town in Acquitted. Volda is exactly like it, but obviously not every village in Norway fits this image. I also noticed a very strange sport in the series: roller skiing. I thought it was really funny. I didn’t believe that it would be a popular sport, until I actually saw it with my own eyes: people skiing on wheels across the roads. It’s amazing! I don’t think I will ever try it though. Us Belgians are definitely not used to hills or steep roads.
Let me start by saying that if you haven’t already seen Trollhunter, you should really watch it. It involves a group of students from Volda who are following a trollhunter. Besides the fact that it is an entertaining story, it also provides the viewer with some expectations about Volda. The movie begins at Høgskulen i Volda, a place you should all know well by now. A group of students investigate a bear attack. I love animals and I was looking forward to seeing the wildlife in Norway. After watching this movie, I wanted to see some bears. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of bears in Norway. The few that are in Norway can be found in sparsely populated areas on the border with Sweden. I was really disappointed when I discovered this. I guess it wasn’t only the trolls that were fake in this movie!
But what about American TV?
Last week, I noticed that they talk about Norway in an episode of Bones. They discover the skeleton of an American boy in Norway. A doctor mentions that Norway has a very low crime rate, with an annual murder rate of 0.7, meaning that there is less than one murder per year. I don’t know if this is accurate and at first I thought they were exaggerating. Crime in Norway is probably the same as in Belgium, right? That’s what I thought. But now, I do notice some differences between my country and Norway.
I have studied in Brussels – our capital – for the last two years and there’s a lot of crime. So at almost every corner of every street, you are bound to run into some police officers. Some of them are even heavily armed! So far, I haven’t seen any in Volda. Usually I don’t take notice, but thinking back I can’t remember seeing any in Oslo either. No police officers in the capital? Hell would break loose in Belgium!
I can only conclude that Bones must be right. Norway has a very low crime rate and that’s why seeing one is rare. Or maybe Norway just doesn’t need any police officers since it’s not the criminals we should be afraid of...it’s the trolls!
So, Norway is represented pretty well in most of the movies or series I have seen. I had some expectations and most of them were correct. I still have hopes for Trollhunter to be slightly true. What would be more awesome than catching sight of a bear and troll?