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Western Animation / The Danish Poet

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The Danish Poet is a 2006 animated short film by Torill Kove. It was an international co-production between Norway and the National Film Board of Canada.

In it a narrator (voiced by none other than Liv Ullmann herself) tells a fictional story of the random chance that brought her into existence. The tangled series of events that resulted in the narrator's birth began with Kasper, the eponymous Danish poet. Afflicted with a major case of writer's block, Kasper, on the advice of his shrink, decides to take a trip. Eventually he hits on the idea of taking a trip to Norway and visiting the author Sigrid Undset. Undset agrees to meet him, but fate intervenes, and Kasper winds up staying at a Norwegian farm—where romance blooms with the farmer's daughter, lovely Ingeborg.

See also My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, another animated short made by Kove and co-produced by Norway and the NFB.


  • Call-Back: The train tracks taking Veselmay and Peter to Denmark twist themselves into a double helix of DNA, like the double helix previously seen at the start when the narrator muses about how she was conceived. And then when the narrator ponders again about all the random chances that led to her birth, the montage of fertilization and fetal development that played at the start of the short runs backwards.
  • Deus ex Machina: Just when it seems that Ingeborg is doomed to an Awful Wedded Life with her husband, he is killed when a cow falls on him.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Ingeborg's letter to Kasper falls out of the mailman's bag and is eaten by a goat, delaying their reunion for some time.
  • Farmer's Daughter: Sweet, pretty Ingeborg, who captures Kasper's heart as he stays on her father's farm.
  • Freudian Couch: Kasper lies on one during his therapy with Dr. Mark.
  • Kick the Dog: The neighbor to whom Ingeborg has been pledged in marriage sometimes literally kicks a dog to demonstrate his villainy.
  • Rom Com Job: A poet? With writer's block, no less? How is Kasper not starving to death?
  • Running Gag: Every time people disembark from the Norway-Denmark ferry, there is a gaggle of stumbling drunks.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Mark proves quite helpful to Kasper, first advising him to take a trip and later advising him to attend Sigrid Undset's funeral, which results in him reuniting with Ingeborg.
  • Time-Passes Montage: A throwaway gag has the dog on Ingeborg's farm noticing another dog. A series of still photos demonstrates them mating and having a litter of puppies.


Video Example(s):


The Danish Poet

When Kaspar proposes to Ingeborg, she explains that she's already engaged to the son of her father's best friend. This reminds Kaspar of Kristin Lavransdatter who broke up with Simon and married Erland instead against her father's wishes. Unfortunately, Ingeborg also knows that story and understands that defying her father would plague her life with guilt and regret.

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