You are here

SCAND 470 A: Scandinavian Auteurs

Filmmaker Statue
Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
SAV 130
Joint Sections: 
C LIT 474 A, CMS 320 B

Syllabus Description:

Contemporary Nordic and Baltic Film Directors           

SCAND 470/C LIT 474 A/CMS 320B Spring 2019

MW 10:30-12:20 @ SAV 130

Lecturer: Liina-Ly Roos,


You may have heard of Ingmar Bergman and Lars von Trier. In addition to these two, there are many more well-known and fascinating film directors in the Nordic-Baltic region. Through unique styles and approaches to filmmaking, these directors depict and explore universal topics, such as love, melancholy, guilt and loss. In Signe Baumane’s “funny film about depression,” for example, the combination of melancholy, oppression and love cause the human bodies to become bunnies. 

In this course, we will watch and discuss a variety of films by contemporary Nordic and Baltic film directors, such as Aki Kaurismäki, Veiko Õunpuu, Gabriela Pichler, Rolands Kalninš, Susanne Bier and Signe Baumane. You will learn about the specific cultural and historical contexts of the Nordic and Baltic film directors, broader discussions in film studies and develop basic skills of film analysis.




          • To develop a familiarity with the work of the major filmmakers of Nordic and Baltic countries. 
          • To gain a solid understanding of the central issues at stake in this body of work.
          • To read critical texts about art cinema, film analysis, intimacy and melancholy, and to incorporate these readings to discussing film in the Nordic-Baltic region.
          • To acquire (or practice) a basic vocabulary of film analysis to guide close readings, analysis and arguments, and to develop skills to write critically about film.



None (all readings and films will be in English or subtitled) though previous experience with film courses will be helpful.


FULFILLS:  VLPA and W (optional) requirement




Film Studies: an introduction. Ed Sikov. Columbia University Press, 2010. (this book will also be placed in Course Reserves at the Odegaard library)


All other readings will made available as PDFs on CANVAS (and all the films will also be accessible through CANVAS) 


Included on CANVAS will be background texts on how to read a film as well as a glossary of film-related terminology for reference. We will work through some of these terms in class, but if this happens to be your first film course, it will be helpful to read through these thoroughly on your own. You will not be tested specifically on these texts but learning the terms will help you to develop a vocabulary with which to analyze film. You will be held accountable for any of these terms that are brought up in lecture. 


It is essential that you watch the films before the class time and complete all readings, so that you can understand the frame of reference for each lecture as well as be ready to discuss the films.



Web sources (with the exception of academic journals published on-line) can be superficial and academically suspect. Generally speaking though, books and articles are reviewed by experts, and as such are better sources. Wikipedia is useful for gleaning basic facts but remember you can view a Wiki before it was properly edited and elicit incorrect information. Use web sources with discretion. 


OBS!  Nordic and Baltic National Film Websites (see below) constitute a distinct exception and I encourage you to explore them. Please keep in mind that any information you glean from these sites definitely needs to be cited. 


Swedish Film Archive:

(Part of an incredible project to digitalize Swedish films, commercials etc.)

Danish Film Institute:

Finnish Film Foundation:

Norwegian Film Institute: 

Icelandic Film Centre:

Sámi Film Institute:

Estonian Film Database:

National Film Centre of Latvia:

Lithuanian Film Centre:




Attendance is recommended at all seminar meetings. I expect each person to participate in a quarter-long, on-going discussion of class material. 



20%     Seminar participation (come prepared to discuss your thoughts, ideas, and questions)

15%     Two Short Papers: 

        One Response Paper (2 pages)

        One Critical Response to an Outside Lecture (1-2 pages)

15%     Final Paper Proposal with Bibliography (2 pages) (Week 7) 

10%.    Presentation on Final Project at the Class Conference (Week 10) 

40%     Final Seminar/Research Paper (10 – 12 pages) 

OBS! There will be no midterm or final exam! 



96-100%=4.0 ; 93-95%=3.9 ; 91-92%=3.8 ; 90%=3.7 ; 89%=3.6 ; 88%=3.5 ; 87%=3.4 ; 86%=3.3 ; 85%=3.2 ; 84%=3.1 ; 83%=3.0 ; 82%=2.9 ; 81%=2.9 ; 81%=2.8 ; 80%=2.7 ; 79%=2.6 ; 78%=2.5 ; 77%=2.4 ; and so on and so forth(0-59%=0.0)


You are more than welcome to email me with well-considered questions. I will generally respond to emails within 48 hours. You are also welcome to visit me during office hours. My office is an LGBTQ friendly place.



The University of Washington is a community dedicated to learning. Ethical expectations of students belonging to the community are defined in the student conduct code ( Plagiarism, cheating, and disruptive behavior in class violate the code, and harm your own and others’ learning. Any violations of the code in connection with the course will result in referral to the university administration for appropriate action. Learn more about how to avoid plagiarism, please consult the following resource page on academic honesty, (, or speak to me directly.



Catalog Description: 
Studies the body of work of Scandinavia's auteur filmmakers. Introduces the theory and history of auteur cinema, with special attention to Scandinavian filmmakers' contribution. Offered: jointly with C LIT 474; AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:19pm