21 Jun 2024
ON TV: Spectacular crimes in the land of the Midnight Sun
Culture Featured

ON TV: Spectacular crimes in the land of the Midnight Sun

Fans of Nordic crime series have something spectacular to look forward to this autumn, when SVT’s new series Midnight Sun premieres on the 23rd of October. We had a little chat with two of the actors from the series, Gustaf Hammarsten and Sofia Jannok when SVT presented this season’s TV productions.

 

Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein are the duo who most famously brought us The Bridge (Bron), the legendary Nordic Noir series that has been shown in a whopping 160 countries. Their latest creation Midnight Sun (Midnattssol) comes to SVT this autumn and is the most expensive TV production in the Nordics to date.

Midnight Sun is a Swedish-French collaboration and features French actress Leïla Bekhti and Swedish actor Gustaf Hammarsten in the main roles. She is a French police officer sent to investigate a spectacular murder of a French citizen in Kiruna in the north of Sweden. He is the local prosecutor leading the investigation.

My character has previously only handled small local cases like drunken driving and fist fights, and suddenly he finds himself in the middle of this murder investigation and there are more strange and bestial murders taking place as things proceed, Gustaf Hammarsten explains.

 

Leïla Bekhti and Gustaf Hammarsten. Photo: Canal+
Leïla Bekhti and Gustaf Hammarsten. Photo: Canal+

 

The Swedish prosecutor has his roots among the indigenous Sami people of the north, and the French policewoman is of Algerian Berber origin. The events make both of them face their origins, which they have previously chosen to ignore/deny. This also leads them closer to a solution. Thus the conceptual thriller poses important questions about cultural differences, prejudice and tolerance in modern-day Europe. You can expect the series to stir things up and get people thinking.

It is really not just a Swedish-French thing, there are so many different identities involved in the storyline. I think the series really shows how multifaceted people are, says Sofia Jannok, who plays a noaidi or a Sami shaman in the series.

 

The Sami language is heard in the series beside Swedish, English and French in a way that feels totally natural and self-evident. The portrayal of the indigenous people seems to get Sofia Jannok’s approval otherwise as well.

The events are set in Sapmi, and there are several Sami characters beside the prosecutor. We also see some of the political and social situation, the conflicts and other real-life phenomena we have today. And we also have the juxtaposition of a big city like Paris where the French officer comes from with the small northern town of Kiruna in the periphery of Sweden, Sofia explains.

Even the costumes are well done, they are up-to-date. They are the type of clothes we actually use today. In other connections people tend to go back in time in how they portray the Sami people. Of course not everything is 100%, because this is not a Sami production. But I think it is exciting seeing Sapmi playing such a big role in such a large production, Sofia says.

 

 

The sceneries in the north are amazingly beautiful and they have been filmed in a visually spectacular way.

If you don’t care too much for the murder story, you can just turn off the sound and look at the beautiful scenery, Gustaf Hammarsten laughs.

The whole production has been on a very high level and the ambitions are high in every way. It absolutely shows on the screen, Gustaf says.

 

Sofia Jannok - Photo: Ulrika Malm/SVT
Sofia Jannok – Photo: Ulrika Malm/SVT

 

Sofia Jannok is actually making her acting debut in this series and she’s otherwise better known for her music that mixes modern sounds with the Sami people’s traditional jojk. She released her latest album Orda in April and one of the tracks on the album, Noaidi, is actually a jojk her character is singing in the series. Another of our favourite Sami artists, the übercool Maxida Märak, also has a smaller part in the series.

Maxida Märak - Photo: Ulrika Malm/SVT
Maxida Märak – Photo: Ulrika Malm/SVT

 

Midnattssol will be shown on SVT1 on Sundays at 21:00, starting on 23rd October (eight episodes)

Or you can catch it on SVT Play after that: www.svtplay.se/midnattssol

 

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