Nordic countries are the most active powers in the field of animated non-fiction. In mutual cooperation they use animation as an instrument for documental commentary on historical events, for enlightenment on socio-political questions (gender inequality, bullying or counselling for victims of a sexual violence) or for education and cultivation.
Approximately from the beginning of 1980, animated documentary or metadocumentary film started to break through as a distinctive type of author's expression; among other Scandinavian states, Sweden had a highly regarded position.
A popular working method of animation documentarists is to record real speech of real people and events and to create a peculiarly evocative and illustrative animation space of new existence, in new and significant contexts and emphases. This is how Birgitta Jansson, a pioneer in the field, worked on her film Vacation House (1981). First, she recorded on tape the everyday circle of activities and conversations among visitors to a Swedish summer resort for elderly people. Made in detail and with empathy; plasticine puppets imitate the appearance of documented participants; puppets live in the minisized scenes of her stories. At the end of the film, Janssen added a scene in which the seniors are watching the final animation film – the historical reality and the world of animation are confronted in their materiality and they confirm each other as peculiar types of spatiotemporal reality.
As the chosen example implies, the particularity of the Scandinavian method is, above all, the highly subjective approach of authors and the application of personal themes, whereas selected creative and technical means remain heterogeneous. For example, Kasja Naess tends to this type of expression in her film Film About Me. In addition, other documentaries with broader political appeal have an important position, as is the case with The Big Store by Johannes Müntzing and Lars Arrhenius, showing the last minutes before the murder of a Swedish ministress.
A Year Along the Abandoned Road/Året gjennomBørfjord
dir. Morten Skallerud, Norway, 1991, 20'
Film about Me/Filmen om meg
dir. Kajsa Naess, Norway, 2002, 10'
dir. Hanna Heilborn, David Aronowitsch, Norway,Denmark, Sweden, 2008, 15'
Never Like the First Time!/Aldrig som förstagången!
dir. Jonas Odell, Sweden, 2005, 15'
The Big Store/En dag på varuhuset
dir. Johannes Müntzing, Lars Arrhenius, Sweden,Finland, 2008, 8'
Blue, Karma, Tiger
dir. Mia Hulterstam, Cecilia Actis, Sweden,2006, 12'30''
The Tale of the Wonderful Potato/Even tyret omden Vidunderlige Kartoffel
dir. Per Tønnes Nielson, Anders Sørensen,Denmark, 1986, 22'25'
'When Life Departs/Når livet går sin vej
dir. Karsten Kiilerich, Denmark, 1996, 10'
12 Dec 10:00 p.m. Film Auditorium — SCANDINAVIAN POWER
— series of films — Non-fiction Animation