Riget (English title: The Kingdom) is a Danish absurdist supernatural horror miniseries trilogy created by Lars von Trier and Tómas Gislason. Set in the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet (lit. 'The National Hospital', nicknamed "Riget", lit. 'the realm' or 'the kingdom'), each episode of the show takes place over a single day, and follows the hospital's eccentric staff and patients as they encounter bizarre and sometimes supernatural phenomena. The series is notable for its wry humor, its muted sepia colour scheme, and the appearance of a chorus of dishwashers with Down syndrome, who discuss in intimate detail the strange occurrences in the hospital. The main theme's song was written by von Trier himself.
|Also known as||The Kingdom II|
The Kingdom: Exodus
|Danish||Riget, Riget II, Riget: Exodus|
|Created by||Lars von Trier and Tómas Gislason|
|Written by||Lars von Trier (seasons 1-3)|
Niels Vørsel (seasons 1-3)
Tómas Gislason (season 1)
|Directed by||Lars von Trier (seasons 1-3)|
Morten Arnfred (seasons 1-2)
|Country of origin||Denmark|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producers||Svend Abrahamsen (season 1-2)|
Peter Aalbæk Jensen (season 1)
Vibeke Windeløv (season 2)
|Producers||Ole Reim (season 1)|
Bosse Lindquist (season 2)
Louise Vesth (season 3)
|Editors||Molly Malene Stensgaard|
Pernille Bech Christensen
|Running time||58-78 minutes|
Danmarks Radio (DR)
|Original network||Danmarks Radio (DR) (Riget, Riget II, Exodus)|
Viaplay (Exodus; Nordic countries)
MUBI (Exodus; Selected territories)
|Audio format||Dolby Stereo (1994-1997)|
ProRes HQ 4444 (2022)
|Original release||November 24, 1994 –|
October 30, 2022
The first series of four episodes premiered from DR in November to December 1994, and was followed by a second series, Riget II, which aired in November 1997. A belated third and final series of five episodes directed by von Trier and written by von Trier with Niels Vørsel, entitled Exodus, began filming in 2021, was screened out of competition at the Venice Film Festival and at the Serial Killer festival in September 2022, and premiered in the Nordics on streaming platform Viaplay with the first two episodes on October 9. The series premiered in select regions between November 27 and December 25 on streaming platform MUBI.
Von Trier has credited David Lynch's 1990 television series Twin Peaks and the 1965 French miniseries Belphegor as inspirations for the series. The Kingdom itself inspired an American series, Kingdom Hospital, developed by novelist Stephen King; the American version aired on ABC between March and July 2004, and was cancelled after a single season.
This article may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards, as the section's poor development. (December 2015)
Each episode of all three series opens with the same prologue, detailing how the hospital, Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, was built on the site of the "bleaching ponds", which recur in the name of the street of the hospital's official address, Blegdamsvej, although the exact significance of the reference is never explicitly discussed in the series.
The show begins with the admission of a spiritualist patient, Sigrid Drusse (Kirsten Rolffes), who hears the sound of a girl crying in the elevator shaft. Upon investigation, Drusse discovers that the girl had died decades earlier, having been killed by her father to hide her illegitimacy. In order to put the spirit to rest, Drusse searches for the girl's body and ultimately finds it preserved in a specimen jar in the office of the hospital's professor of pathology, Professor Bondo (Baard Owe).
Meanwhile, neurosurgeon Stig Helmer (Ernst-Hugo Järegård), a recent appointee from Sweden to the neurosurgery department, tries to cover up his responsibility for a botched operation which left a young girl in a persistent vegetative state.
Pathologist Dr. Palle Bondo (Baard Owe) attempts to convince the family of a man dying from liver cancer to donate his liver to the hospital for Bondo's research. (In fact, Bondo wants it as a trophy, as it is the second largest hepatosarcoma ever recorded.) When denied, Bondo has the cancerous liver transplanted into his own body (as the patient signed an organ donor form), so that the cancer will become his personal property and can be kept within the hospital.
Amongst other plotlines, a young medical student becomes attracted to the nurse in charge of the sleep research laboratory, a ghostly ambulance appears and disappears every night, a junior doctor runs a black market in medical supplies, and a neurosurgeon discovers that she was impregnated by a ghost and that the baby in her womb is developing abnormally rapidly. In every episode, two dishwashers (each with Down syndrome) in the cellar discuss the strange happenings at Riget, and Helmer screams his famous catchphrase: "Danskjävlar!" (subtitled as "Danish scum", but literally "Danish devils").
In the third series, Exodus, sleepwalker Karen Svensson finds herself at Rigshospitalet, investigating the fallout of the fatal power outage at the end of the second series. Exodus also introduces Dr. Helmer, Jr. (Mikael Persbrandt), the neurotic son of the late Stig Helmer, and a new addition to the staff of Riget. Helmer Jr. is threatened with a lawsuit after making unwanted sexual advances to a female colleague in the hospital, has to consult an expensive son of Swedish lawyer (Alexander Skarsgard) and faces professional disgrace unless he pays compensation to the woman whose false nipples he had so admired.
|Søren Pilmark||Jørgen 'Hook' Krogshøj||Main|
|Ghita Nørby||Rigmor Mortensen||Main|
|Birgitte Raaberg||Judith Petersen||Main|
|Peter Mygind||Morten 'Mogge' Moesgaard||Main|
|Ernst-Hugo Järegård||Stig Helmer||Main||Archive|
|Kirsten Rolffes||Sigrid Drusse||Main||Archive|
|Holger Juul Hansen||Einar Moesgaard||Main||Archive|
|Jens Okking||Bulder Harly Drusse||Main||Archive|
|Baard Owe||Palle Bondo||Main||Archive|
|Bodil Jørgensen||Karen Svensson||Does not appear||Main|
|Nicolas Bro||Balder 'Bulder'||Does not appear||Main|
|Nikolaj Lie Kaas||Filip Naver||Does not appear||Main|
|Lars Mikkelsen||Pontopidan||Does not appear||Main|
|Mikael Persbrandt||Stig Helmer Jr.||Does not appear||Main|
|Tuva Novotny||Anna||Does not appear||Main|
|Ida Engvoll||Kalle||Does not appear||Main|
|Otto Brandenburg||Hansen||Main||Does not appear|
|Annevig Schelde Ebbe||Mary Krüger||Recurring||Archive|
|Udo Kier||Åge Krüger (human incarnation of Satan)
Little Brother / Frederik / Big Brother (the Antichrist)
|Vita Jensen||Female dishwasher||Main||Does not appear|
|Morten Rotne Leffers||Male dishwasher||Main||Does not appear|
|Jasmine Junker||Female dishwasher||Does not appear||Main|
|Jesper Sørensen||Male dishwasher||Does not appear||Main|
|Birthe Neumann||Fru Svendsen||Does not appear||Recurring|
|Erik Wedersøe||Ole||Does not appear||Main||Does not appear|
|John Hahn-Petersen||Secretary Nivesen||Does not appear||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Henning Jensen||Director Bob||Recurring|
|Laura Christensen||Mona Jensen||Recurring|
|Vera Gebuhr||Gerda||Does not appear||Guest||Does not appear|
|Ole Boisen||Christian||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Louise Fribo||Sanne Jeppesen||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Nis Bank-Mikkelsen||Chaplain||Guest||Does not appear|
|Thomas Bo Larsen||Falkon||Does not appear||Guest||Does not appear|
|Henrik Koefoed||Radiologist||Guest||Does not appear|
|Helle Virkner||Emma Mogensen||Guest||Does not appear|
|Stellan Skarsgård||The Swedish Lawyer||Does not appear||Guest||Does not appear|
|Alexander Skarsgard||The Swedish Lawyer's Son||Does not appear||Guest|
|David Dencik||Bosse||Does not appear||Guest|
|Willem Dafoe||Grand Duc||Does not appear||Guest|
|Lars von Trier||Himself
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2022)
Riget: Exodus (2022)Edit
In December 2020, Danmarks Radio announced that a third and final season, consisting of five episodes directed by von Trier and co-written by von Trier alongside original series co-writer Niels Vørsel, would begin filming in 2021 under the title Riget: Exodus. The same year, von Trier began showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease during an interview with Christian Lund of Louisiana Channel; afterwards, he continued to work while taking medication. Von Trier did not watch "all the old ones" before beginning work on Riget: Exodus, and had tried "to get rid of the ties from the old stuff", with the focus being on the characters.
Returning cast members Ghita Nørby, Søren Pilmark, Peter Mygind, Birgitte Raaberg, Laura Christensen and Udo Kier are joined by newcomers Bodil Jørgensen, Nicolas Bro, Lars Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Mikael Persbrandt, Tuva Novotny, Ida Engvoll, Asta August, David Dencik and Alexander Skarsgard. Von Trier had a "rotten time" filming the series, as he suffered from the effects of Parkinson's disease during the shoot, but hoped the actors "didn't notice".
In September 2022, Exodus (presented as a "five hour feature-length film") screened out of competition at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, alongside Nicolas Winding Refn's miniseries Copenhagen Cowboy.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||4||November 24, 1994||December 15, 1994|
|2||4||October 10, 1997||October 31, 1997|
|3||5||October 9, 2022||October 30, 2022|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Den hvide flok (The Unheavenly Host)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason||November 24, 1994|
|Mrs. Drusse, a hypochondriac psychic, gets herself admitted to the Kingdom because she believes the hospital is haunted. Meanwhile, Dr. Helmer, a Dane-hating Swede under investigation for malpractice, joins the hospital's secret brethren.|
|2||"Alliancen kalder (Thy Kingdom Come)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason||December 1, 1994|
|Mrs. Drusse continues her investigation, Krogshøj steals the severed head from Mogge and uses it to blackmail him, while Bondo is at his wits' end when a patient's relative refuses to hand over his liver, which is infected with a rare cancer.|
|3||"Et fremmed legeme (A Foreign Body)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason||December 8, 1994|
|Dr. Helmer decides to steal the incriminating report but unbeknownst to him, Krogshøj has the same plan, Bondo wants to transplant the cancerous liver into himself, and Mrs. Drusse finds out Mary didn't die of tuberculosis as reported.|
|4||"De levende døde (The Living Dead)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason||December 15, 1994|
|Helmer goes to Haiti which angers his gun-wielding girlfriend, Judith may be pregnant with a ghost, Mrs. Drusse reburies Mary's remains but her troubles are only just beginning, and Operation Morning Breeze turns into a farcical disaster.|
Riget II (1997)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|5||"Mors in Tabula (Death on the Operation Table)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 10, 1997|
|Helmer returns from Haiti with the zombie poison, but has trouble administering it, Mrs. Drusse is back in the Kingdom after being struck by a van, and Judith has to learn to love her deformed son, who is the reincarnation of Age Krüger.|
|6||"Trækfuglene (Birds of Passage)"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 17, 1997|
|Mrs. Drusse has a new spiritual mystery to solve, and Judith has just given birth to a deformed baby with a fully formed adult head and a rapidly growing body.|
|7||"Gargantua"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 24, 1997|
|Krogshøj is revived, Christian becomes the new Falcon, the Little Brother wants to die, and Mrs. Drusse, inspired by her son's dream, takes a flight around the hospital.|
|8||"Pandæmonium"||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 31, 1997|
|Helmer, blackmailed into marriage by Rigmor, kidnaps Mona, Krogshøj considers eugenics, Mrs. Drusse discovers a satanic sect beneath the hospital, Judith won't let her son die, Bondo finds his half-brother, and Christian races blind.|
Riget: Exodus (2022)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|9||"Halmar"||Lars von Trier||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 9, 2022|
|A mysterious voice calls upon the sleep walker, Karen, during a nightmare. The Kingdom is in need of her assistance, and at the hospital, she finds an ally in the porter, Bulder.|
|10||"The Congress Dances"||Lars von Trier||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 9, 2022|
|Karen has a new vision that could possibly aid her in locating the voice. At The Kingdom, preparations are being made for the annual pain congress, but it seems that the demon, Grand Duc, is on the guest list.|
|11||"Big Brother"||Lars von Trier||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 16, 2022|
|Karen locates the spiritual core of The Kingdom. Helmer discovers what he was looking for at the hospital, but after a violent clash with Naver, he realizes that things do not always proceed according to plan.|
|12||"Barbarossa"||Lars von Trier||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 23, 2022|
|Karen attempts to solve the task that was given to her, but evil forces work against her and Bulder. Helmer has had it with the Danish stupidity and plans an act of terrorism against the Danes and The Kingdom itself.|
|13||"Exodus"||Lars von Trier||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||October 30, 2022|
|Karen, Krogen and Bulder are fighting against the clock. The time has come to clean The Kingdom of all evil spirits once and for all, but much can still go wrong.|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2017)
The four-episode first series of Riget was aired by Danish broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) from 24 November to 15 December 1994.
The four-episode second series, Riget II, aired on DR between 10 and 31 October 1997.
The five-episode third series, Riget: Exodus, premiered on streaming platform MUBI on 27 November 2022, with its fifth and final episode premiering on Christmas Day.
The series was edited into a five-hour, two-part film, which received some theatrical exhibition, and was released on home video in America and the United Kingdom. It is available on DVD in Australia and New Zealand on Madman Entertainment's Directors Suite label, in the UK from Second Sight, and in the United States from Koch-Lorber Films.
Newly restored HD editions of the first two series premiered on MUBI on 13 November and 20 November 2022, respectively; the debut of the restored series is a precursor to the premiere of Exodus on the platform on 27 November.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2017)
On Metacritic, all three seasons has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100 from 9 reviews, indicating "generally positive reviews".
I and IIEdit
Film critic Leonard Maltin, who reviewed the two-part theatrical version, awarded it three and a half out of a possible four stars, calling it "a must-see for those who think they've seen everything".
Despite being a miniseries, The Kingdom appears in the best-selling book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, where it is called "a medical horror epic", with its supernatural elements described as being both eerie and magical.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 86% with a "Certified Fresh" based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 6.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "An acquired taste for newcomers and comfort weirdness for Lars von Trier's devotees, The Kingdom: Exodus is a cheeky delicacy infused with cosmic horror that reaches biblically insane proportions."
Exodus was warmly received by critics following its premiere at the Venice in September 2022, with Variety calling it "over-the-top" and "fun", and the Italian Post praised the series, saying it "amuses and disturbs", and comparing it positively to Twin Peaks. The Upcoming gave the series 3/5, praising its "dark humour" and noting that it feels like a "tribute to Lars von Trier's career, a revisiting of his early work... filled with the wobbly handheld shots that distinguished the Dogme 95 movement". Giving it 3/5 stars, The Guardian called the series "a nightmarish revue, peppered with familiar faces in brief walk-on roles", and said that it is "fun to a point and richly textured to a fault, with a plot that’s entirely driven by what has gone before".
|1995 Bodil Awards||Best Danish Film||Riget||Won|||
|Best Actor||Ernst-Hugo Järegård||Won|
|Best Actress||Kirsten Rolffes||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Holger Juul Hansen||Won|
|30th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival||Crystal Globe||Riget||Nominated|||
|Best Director Award||Lars von Trier||Won|
|Best Actor Award||Ernst-Hugo Järegård||Won|
|12th Robert Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Won|||
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Kirsten Rolffes||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Eric Kress||Won|
|Best Score||Joachim Holbek||Won|
|Best Sound Design||Per Streit||Won|
|Seattle International Film Festival||Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film||Riget||Won|||
|1996 Adolf Grimme Awards||Series/Miniseries||Lars von Trier||Won|||
|1996 Golden Cable Awards||Bronze Cable for Innovation||Won|||
|1996 Bodil Awards||Best Actor||Holger Juul Hansen||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actress||Birgitte Raaberg||Won|
|1999 Fantasporto||Best Screenplay||Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred||Won|||
|Best Director||Lars von Trier||Won|
|40th Robert Awards||Best TV Series||Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, and Louise Vesth (producer)||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Leading Role - TV series||Mikael Persbrandt||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role - TV series||Bodil Jørgensen||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Leading Role - TV series||Lars Mikkelsen||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Leading Role - TV series||Tuva Novotny||Nominated|
Horror novelist Stephen King discovered the five-hour theatrical edit of Riget in a video store during production of the 1997 TV miniseries adaptation of The Shining, and, finding it "both funny and scary", promptly set out to obtain the rights to the series for an American adaptation. At that time, the rights were owned by Columbia Pictures, who had intended to adapt the series as a two-hour theatrical film. King negotiated with Columbia for the rights, ultimately exchanging them for the option to his novella "Secret Window, Secret Garden" (which Columbia adapted in 2004 as the feature film Secret Window).
King's thirteen episode television adaptation, titled Kingdom Hospital, broadcast between March and July 2004 on ABC. Often directly adapting storylines from the original series, Kingdom Hospital was set in a hospital in Lewiston, Maine, which was on the site of a mill built before the Civil War. Many character names were derived from their Danish equivalents, e.g., Sigrid Drusse became Sally Druse and Stig Helmer became Dr. Stegman. In a departure from the plot of Riget, the American series introduces a new protagonist, a comatose patient, Peter Rickman, inspired by King's own experience of being hit by a minivan, and a talking giant anteater, the spirit guide Anubis/Antubis.
Although King and co-writer Richard Dooling developed an outline for a second series, ratings dropped throughout the season. Kingdom Hospital was placed on indefinite hiatus following a "major network shake-up", and was never picked up for a second series.
- ^ Pham, Annika (17 December 2020). "Lars von Trier prepares The Kingdom Exodus for Viaplay/DR". Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
- ^ a b Møller Hansen, Lars (17 December 2020). "'Riget' vender tilbage". DR. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
- ^ a b c Macnab2022-09-05T09:40:00+01:00, Geoffrey. "Lars von Trier talks 'The Kingdom: Exodus', cancel culture and teasing Sweden". Screen. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
- ^ Brizi, Ilaria (5 September 2022). "5th Serial Killer Festival Brings Exclusive Previews of Major TV Series To Brno Screens". Brno Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
- ^ a b Lattanzio, Ryan (29 September 2022). "'The Kingdom Exodus' Trailer: Lars von Trier Is Up to His Old Tricks Again". IndieWire. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
- ^ Mars-Jones, Adam (28 December 1995). "All stitched up – well, nearly". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- ^ a b Debruge, Peter (1 September 2022). "'The Kingdom Exodus' Review: Lars von Trier Is Back to His Old Tricks, Unleashing Hell on a Danish Hospital". Variety. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ Lars von Trier: The Burden From Donald Duck, 23 December 2020, retrieved 16 October 2022
- ^ a b c "Danish director Von Trier getting used to life with Parkinson's". Reuters. 1 September 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ Stiesen, Henriette (17 May 2021). "Von Triers kultserie 'Riget' vender tilbage: Nu løftes sløret for stjernespækket rolleliste". DR. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
- ^ Keslassy, Elsa (2 June 2021). "Lars Von Trier's 'The Kingdom' Adds Danish Stars Lars Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas to Cast". Variety. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
- ^ Bjerre, Britta (12 July 2021). "Birgitte Raaberg: Jeg tror aldrig, jeg bliver træt af det". Femina. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
- ^ Feder, Michael (11 August 2021). "Mona og Lillebror er tilbage i Lars von Triers RIGET EXODUS" (PDF). Zentropa. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
- ^ Roxburgh, Scott (9 September 2021). "Alexander Skarsgard to Guest-Star in Lars Von Trier's 'The Kingdom Exodus'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
- ^ a b c d Devine, James (24 June 2017). "The Graveyard: Digging up Stephen King's 'Kingdom Hospital'". 1428 Elm. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ "Classic Films on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand". Second Site Films. UK.
- ^ The Kingdom (Riget), retrieved 16 October 2022
- ^ Leonard Maltin (3 September 2013). Leonard Maltin's 2014 Movie Guide. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 760. ISBN 978-1-101-60955-2.
- ^ Stephen Jay Schneider (2005). 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, 6th edition. ISBN 978-1-4380-6814-5.
- ^ The Kingdom Exodus, retrieved 5 November 2022
- ^ ItalianPostNews (1 September 2022). "RIget Exodus, the review of the TV series by Lars Von Trier out of competition in Venice 79". Italian Post. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ Sondermann, Selina. "Venice Film Festival 2022: The Kingdom: Exodus (Riget: Exodus) | Review". The Upcoming. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ "The Kingdom: Exodus review – return of Lars von Trier's cult hospital horror". the Guardian. 1 September 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ a b Piil, M. (2008). Gyldendals danske filmguide (in Danish). Gyldendal. p. 469. ISBN 978-87-02-06669-2. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
- ^ "History – 30th festival". kviff.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- ^ "Bodil Awards (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ "Fantasporto (1999)". IMDb. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ "Danish Film Awards (Robert) (2023)". IMDb. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
- ^ a b February 01, Stephen King Updated; EST, 2007 at 05:00 AM. "Stephen King on the failure of Kingdom Hospital". EW.com. Retrieved 2 October 2022.