Since the 1920s American films have dominated Danish movie theaters. In the last fifteen years of the twentieth century, there has been a tendency in most European countries for Hollywood blockbusters to dominate the movie theaters (55–60%), but the national films make up a relatively large percentage of the box office as well. In Denmark in the 1990s, 10 or 15 Danish films represented 30 percent of the box office. The losers are clearly films from other European countries, which accounted for only 10 percent. Of the 25 most often seen films in Danish cinemas between 1976 and 2004, 13 were from the United States, 11 from Denmark, and only one (a James Bond film) from another country.

For a small country, it is especially important to preserve the national culture and language, but it is also tempting to try one's luck in the international film world. Nielsen, Dreyer, and Christensen all went abroad to international careers during the silent years. Other Danes who went away to international careers are actors Jean Hersholt (1886–1956), who was seen in early Hollywood films, including Erik von Stroheim's Greed (1924); Torben Meyer, who is most remembered for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961); Brigitte Nielsen for Red Sonya (1985); and Connie Nielsen for Gladiator (2000).

In addition, August has produced international films, among them The House of the Spirits (1993), based on Isabel Allende's novel of the same title. In the twenty-first century, many Danish directors have made Danish films in English, for example, nearly all of Trier's films, as well as Vinterberg's It's All About Love (2002) and Dear Wendy (2005), Bornedal's I Am Dina (2002), and Scherfig's Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2003). However, often the result is that the filmmakers lose the Danish public without attracting a large international audience, for while the Danes go to the cinema to find entertainment and excitement, they also desire to see themselves and their own world portrayed on the screen.

SEE ALSO National Cinema

Cowie, Peter. Scandinavian Cinema: A Survey of Films and Filmmakers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden . London: Tantivy, 1992.

Hjort, Mette. Small Nation, Global Cinema: The New Danish Cinema . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

Hjort, Mette, and Ib Bondebjerg, eds. The Danish Directors: Dialogues on a Contemporary National Cinema . Translated by Metle Hjort. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2001.

Hjort, Mette, and Scott MacKenzie, eds. Purity and Provocation: Dogma 95. London: British Film Institute, 2003.

Lumholdt, Jan, ed. Lars von Trier: Interviews . Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.

Mottram, Ron. The Danish Cinema before Dreyer . Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1988.

Nestingen, Andrew, and Trevor G. Elkington, eds. Transnational Cinema in a Global North: Nordic Cinema in Transition . Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2005.

Peter Schepelern

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