Death at Christmas: Christmas in Norwegian children’s films | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2042-7891
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7905



Traditionally there has been a general tendency of thematic seriousness and bitter endings in the Scandinavian children’s film. This orientation is influenced by prevailing cultural discourses in the Scandinavian countries on the qualities of children’s cultural products, and by the notion that children’s films ought to familiarize the audience with difficult, dangerous and frightening issues so that children can learn how to deal with their problems. As an analysis of three Norwegian children’s films demonstrates, Christmas films are no exception. Pitbullterje/‘Pitbull-Terje’ (Fröhlich, 2005), I et speil, i en gåte/Through a Glass, Darkly (Nielsen, 2008) and Bestevenner/Rafiki (Lo, 2009) do not portray Christmas as a magical time of year where acts of kindness, or even angels, can solve every problem. Instead, these films use the Christmas setting as a narrative strategy, and through the dichotomy between ‘the conventional Christmas’ and the dark, miserable Christmas experienced by the characters, the emotional impact of the film is enhanced. The young protagonists are not only facing difficult trials like bullying, angst, cancer and war, they are doing so at Christmas, which is supposed to be a time of joyful celebration.


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