Sacrificial Victim: Taking the Nation Apart in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Studies in European Cinema

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt (2012) transforms a homogeneous rural community in Denmark into a violent space where Lucas, an innocent man wrongly accused of indecent exposure, suffers physical violence and ostracism. The article analyses the film as an intervention in a ‘culture war’ and as a warning against New Nationalisms, or populist nationalism in the European Union and the United States. The film is contextualized within Danish film and political culture. The village’s peculiar construction as an isolated community is discussed in regard to the role that the countryside occupies in the Danish national imaginary. By linking the village community to both historical constructions of the Danish national community as well as articulations of the nation by New Nationalisms, the article proposes to read the film as a warning against the ideals of purity and homogeneity espoused by contemporary populist nationalisms and as a problematic national allegory. In the film, Lucas occupies the space of the Other of all the subjectivities excluded by neo-nationalist discourse. The violence and ostracism to which his neighbours and friends subject him signals the physical and discursive violence of New Nationalisms.