With trepidation I watched an episode of the American interpretation of Søren Sveistrup’s ‘The Killing’ or ‘Forbrydelsen’. My fears were realised; it was as though someone had replaced Cadbury Whole nut with carob.
As one would expect, the American actors were all on the high-end of good looking as there seems to be an underlying objection to having anyone look normal on television ;secondly high levels of emotions. Lund expresses no emotions –her character is stoic and almost detached from reality as she becomes consumed by the Nana Birk Larsen murder investigation. The strongest trigger for my anger was the jumper-that sweater. The jumper which optimiser’s Sarah Lund’s character was such a bastardisation of the true Faeroe island icon I felt like I was suddenly being transported from a Scandinavian wool shop to pound stretcher, selling knock offs in synthetic material.
Sophie Gårbol has said in interviews about her character and how the sweater came to represent Lund; it was a symbol of Lund’s asexuality combined with nostalgia from her hippie childhood in 1970’ s Denmark. Gårbol had input into her character’s creation which enabled the jumper to evolve into an icon of Lund. She is not a female detective who falls into traditional detective stereotypes for she neither sports a well tailored power suit nor does she wear channel suits and Louboutons to a messy crime scene, a la CSI. Gårbol expressed her desire not to fall into female detective stereotypes and she succeeded with her jumper and detached approach to people. She doesn’t thank her mother for allowing her to stay nor would she lovingly gaze at he sleeping son. Linden would and has done- the opposite is true of Lund.
So why I ask would the American director not take into account the importance of the jumper? I reference Goethe,
‘A man’s name is not like a mantle which merely hangs about him, and which one perchance may safely twitch and pull, but a perfectly fitting garment, which, like the skin, has grown over and over him, at which one cannot rake and scrape without injuring the man himself.”
Well, in the this case Lund wears her jumper as her skin in this case, the jumper being her skin which without it she is not Lund-each woolly fibre intricately weaving her character. You get my point by now I am sure.
For the American Linden, she wears it as a mere piece of clothing-one that can be taken off and put in the laundry bin without a second thought. Why then, did the American creators, not find an item of clothing in the US that symbolises the asexuality of Lund and represents the 70’s hippie feel of America. Maybe it is a turtle neck and Doc martens but by donning such a weak version of that jumper does the show a big disservice. In Britain, the jumper practically has its own twitter account. Her jumper comes in two colours each a reversible version of the other and it has platelets -after being stabbed it magically healed itself. It would be like re creating the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and re branding her as the Girl with the Tattoo, like Super Man with a really small ‘s’, Sherlock Holmes with a ball cap and fag, Annie with brown hair. Again, point taken I assume.
I have no doubt that there are critics who feel the same about translated film/tv series that I have enjoyed without having experience the original first hand-I digress and realise any diluted version I have watched would anger anyone who has viewed said piece in the original language/territory. On the topic of Nordic noir, I didn’t much care for Kenneth Brannagh in the English version of Wallander despite being a fan of the actor himself. I prefer watching in Swedish with the dreary Swedish landscape. Wallander in English is portrayed in a much sunnier Sweden. Just simply driving a Volvo and having a Swedish name isn’t enough to be Kurt Wallander. Just as wearing patterned jumper is not enough to morph into the character of Sarah Lund. I shant be watching.