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Film Studies 101
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The Killing: A Guide To Making A Crime Classic
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8. The Look

Much of the power of the show comes from its look. While it employs the torch-lit dank cellars and empty corridors you’d find in any Silent Witness episode, it is the wide shots of the seamier side of Copenhagen — eons away from the Hans Christian Andersen tourist-y view of the city — that lodge in the memory, expertly evoking the loneliness and dread you’d find in the dark corners of any capital.

“Television is a great window to the world. Sometimes there’s a lot of standard stuff you do, a lot of clichés you do. I just thought, ‘Why can’t we do cinematic stuff? Why does television have to be close ups?’ That was one of the main issues when we talked about the visual side. I wanted to have the big pictures. We are so to speak looking down at the ants in the city and we, as the audience, we can see stuff the characters can’t see. The characters are trapped in this city during the whole show. The visual side is extremely important. It was never meant to be social realism. It was meant to be a myth, to be more Old Testament-like. It sounds strange but that’s why we talked a lot about spaghetti Westerns. I watched a lot of spaghetti Westerns not at the cinema but on television. As a writer or director, you shouldn’t make any distinction when doing television or movies. Why be less ambitious on television?”

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