a woman in power, a few terms later

a woman in power, a few terms later


The praises burst when one evokes the memory of Borgen, a woman in power, broadcast in France on Arte ten years ago. Qualified a little hastily at the time as the best series in the world, it at least had the interest of making known outside the borders of the kingdom the high quality of Danish series, whose almost standardized model – no more than three seasons – is has since become a source of inspiration for chains and showrunners. Witness the remakes, all very successful, of Bron (“The Bridge” internationally) or The Killing.

The success of Borgen also served as a career accelerator for Sidse Babett Knudsen. The Danish actress thus appeared in the credits of Westworlda grandiose dystopian series broadcast on HBO since 2016, and won a César for her role as a juror in Erminealongside Fabrice Luchini.

Taking advantage of the current craze for revivals, the Danish public channel DR1 associated with Netflix offers the character of Birgitte Nyborg a second life, still under the pen of screenwriter Adam Price, whose international distribution is, this time, ensured by the platform -forme, which for the occasion acquired the rights to the original series.

Times have changed: now Minister of Foreign Affairs, the former head of government lives alone and has little taste for acting under the control of Signe Kragh (Johanne Louise Schmidt), a younger prime minister but just as inflexible as she is. at the same age and in the same position. When Greenland announces the discovery of large oil deposits, Birgitte Nyborg thinks of taking the opportunity to return to the front of the stage by opposing its exploitation.

Interesting nuances

This new season could only be the portrait of a woman politician weakened by the passage of time, but the series fortunately goes beyond the simplism of such a program. Less cautious, more suspicious, less concerned with consensus than before, Nyborg has in ten years moved away from the “woman in power” portrayed in the first seasons, torn between her convictions but also between her roles as wife, mother and prime minister. Isolated, she is also freer, and Sidse Babett Knudsen’s acting brings interesting nuances, even a certain warmth, to this somewhat stiff fifty-year-old character.

If the times are no longer the same – and the series skilfully takes note of contemporary struggles – little has changed behind the scenes of Danish democracy. One foot in Greenland, the other in Copenhagen, Nyborg persists in clearing the quarrel between a people who see oil as the key to their independence and a central government perceived as distant and moralizing. Even if it means intriguing with Russians and Americans, and alienating his own son, who has become an environmental activist. On the subject, Borgen, power and glory iron the dishes – in the end, it will always be necessary, in a certain way, to choose between honor and honours.

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