28 January 2012

On "Borgen"

I've just emerged from watching another two hours of Borgen on BBC4. It's possibly even better than the West Wing, principally because as a few critics have pointed out, Danish politics are more intimate and personal than the vast US stage.

Danish politics? After the Killing and of course Hamlet a while ago, that seam must be exhausted, surely? Far from it, but I am interested in just what compels me to commit two hours on a Saturday night to watching a pair of episodes (incidentally, one episode at a time is a feast; please don't force-feed us). And it is a compulsion. I did have a couple of other things to do this evening, but I didn't do them. I did not even open this infernal machine while it was on.

Partly that was because it demanded my full attention because it is subtitled (although there are occasional disorientating moments of perfect unaccented English). I could not let my visual attention wander and rely on background hearing to make sense of what was going on, so for example, checking email while watching is not an option. Similarly, but more surprisingly, muting the sound and relying on the sub-titles just does not work for some reason. The content is in the subtitles, but the paralanguage is on the soundtrack and the main visuals.---That is the takeaway point from a teaching perspective, but;--

It has lots of other things going for it... It's rather late to pick up many of the themes by now, but 80% of each episode stands on its own.

Just a pity if you missed the reason why Kasper is such a lying s**t. That didn't need subtitles, and I've never seen anything like it, but it was brilliantly both discreetly graphic and could not have offended any naive viewer. It does relate to this recent post.

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