This paper employs quantitative mapping and visualization methodologies, as well as postcolonial theory, to analyze the space-and-place relationships in three of Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier’s most popular films, Den eneste ene (1998), Brødre (2004), and Efter brylluppet (2006). Bier has motivated her decision to put Danish audiences in contact with far-flung places and peoples through her films, such as Africa in Den eneste ene, Afghanistan in Brothers, and India in Efter brylluppet, by saying that she seeks to unpack the way the West views itself, namely that “Scandinavia is fairly small and fairly privileged, and we have this notion that we are protected and that nothing can happen to us.” In all of these films, there is a common theme that little Denmark cannot expect to remain immune from the dangers of the outside world. This paper juxtaposes the ways in which Bier’s films re-create Danes’ imagined spaces of these “dangerous,” faraway places with the actual colonial histories of Denmark in relationship to these places. While Bier claims that her films are designed to force viewers to confront excruciating moral dilemmas, her uses of these oppositional landscapes, which always contrast with interrupted idylls in Denmark, actually facilitate Danes’ refusal to confront one of its largest, collective moral dilemmas: the impact of its own colonial history on its present social relations.
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