Film

Matador

Erik Balling (1924-2005)
1978-82 Se tidslinje

By Christian Monggaard, film critic and reviewer at Information, 2006

A man gets off the train

The year is 1929. A man and his little son get off the train in the imaginary provincial town of Korsbaek. Nothing is ever quite the same again. The TV series Matador written by writer and journalist Lise Noergaard and directed by Erik Balling is still the best Danish TV series ever made. All 24 episodes of the saga were produced by Nordisk Film and have been shown five times on Danish television since the premiere in 1978. In a vivid and gripping way, Matador describes life in Korsbaek over almost 20 years through two generations of the families Andersen-Skjern and Varnaes. 
The series is full of popular humour and drama featuring a large and colourful gallery of memorable, lovable and not least sharply delineated characters. It features some of the greatest and best Danish actors of that time:Joergen Buckhoej, Ghita Noerby, Holger Juul Hansen, Ove Sprogoe, Helle Virkner, Malene Schwartz, Jesper Langberg, Kirsten Olesen, Bent Mejding and so on... 

Tradition and progress 

In Copenhagen, the Social Democrats headed by Thorvald Stauning have just succeeded the Liberal Party in government. In Korsbaek, Mads Andersen- Skjern upsets the social applecart by opening a clothes shop for ordinary people. In this way he challenges the prominent citizens, the rich old families, the social standards and the hierarchic social order that have characterised Korsbaek for centuries. 
Later on, the Second World War and the German occupation of Denmark create new enemies and allies. And in the end, Mads Andersen-Skjern is challenged by his son, Daniel, who is homosexual and does not intend to follow in the footsteps of his strict father. 

Comedy and satire 

Erik Balling was one of the most prominent film directors in Denmark. He portrays the Danish mentality with great ingenuity, his preferred genres being comedy and satire. Balling was also capable of being sharp, for instance in the very popular Olsen Gang (Olsen-Banden) films, which are about the little man’s fight against the prevailing social system, with its bigotry and arrogance. 
Although Matador was made for television, the series was produced like a feature film, with full visual expression. The series is also one of the few Balling film projects in which the director successfully creates pure drama and realism. 

Jørgen Buckhøj and Kristian Steen Rem in Matador. Photo: Rolf Konow. © Danmarks Radio. total of 1601 min. Manuscript: L. Nørgaard, P. Hammerich, K. Smith and J.L. Petersen. Producent: Nordisk Film a/s for Danmarks Radio.
Malene Schwartz as Maude. Photo: Rolf Konow. © Danmarks Radio. total of 1601 min. Manuscript: L. Nørgaard, P. Hammerich, K. Smith and J.L. Petersen. Producent: Nordisk Film a/s for Danmarks Radio.
Film

Vidste du?

Kilde: "Korsbæk Tidende" på Matadoronline.dk

Tolkien mapped the Lord of the Rings universe, and so did Lise Nørgaard with Korsbæk and surroundings. The purpose of the map was to help the team behind the series to form a picture of where all the persons lived and how the different places were in relation to each other. The map can be experienced in episode 16 in connection with Mayor of Victory's plans for a public park. The fictitious name Korsbæk has arisen from a contraction of Korsør and Holbæk.

The committee's justification

By the Committee for Film, 2006

The TV series Matador is an essential inclusion in a canon for longer fictional films. Matador is the greatest Danish film story yet created and it is a unique achievement. Over the course of its 24 episodes – a total of 27 hours – viewers follow the residents of Korsbæk in a small piece of Danish history, from the moment the local citizenry are awakened from their sleepy existence by the arrival of the ambitious Mads Skjern in 1929 up until modern life really sets in 1947.
The basic entertaining and humorous story was written for TV by journalist Lise Nørgaard, inspired by her childhood memories of Roskilde. In addition, there are contributions from one of the most notable writers of our time, Paul Hammerich. A crucial element in this work is Erik Balling’ directing. He has influenced popular Danish film for a generation, and the series marks his artistic high point. 

Matador was watched by record numbers of TV viewers on state channel Danmarks Radios Fjernsyn and as the TV series unfolded, the residents of Korsbæk became an essential part of Danes’ “film family”. A large gallery of highly popular actors took part and provided many outstanding performances. The series has a sharp eye for women’s dawning liberation and middle-class cliquish bigotry, despite the fact that the genre-esque happy ending is characterised by a posited harmony between the differing social classes. However, Matador’s real stroke of genius is that it embraces both Denmark’s huge societal changes and Korsbæk’s individual residents’ lives in a simply framed, grand and epic story.
The basic entertaining and humorous story was written for TV by journalist Lise Nørgaard, inspired by her childhood memories of Roskilde. In addition, there are contributions from one of the most notable writers of our time, Paul Hammerich. A crucial element in this work is Erik Balling’ directing. He has influenced popular Danish film for a generation, and the series marks his artistic high point. Matador was watched by record numbers of TV viewers on state channel Danmarks Radios Fjernsyn and as the TV series unfolded, the residents of Korsbæk became an essential part of Danes’ “film family”.

 

A large gallery of highly popular actors took part and provided many outstanding performances. The series has a sharp eye for women’s dawning liberation and middle-class cliquish bigotry, despite the fact that the genre-esque happy ending is characterised by a posited harmony between the differing social classes. However, Matador’s real stroke of genius is that it embraces both Denmark’s huge societal changes and Korsbæk’s individual residents’ lives in a simply framed, grand and epic story.

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