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The Kingdom is an eight-episode Danish television mini-series, created by Lars von Trier in 1994, and co-directed by Lars von Trier and Morten Arnfred. It has been edited together into a five-hour movie for distribution in the United Kingdom and United States. It is currently available on DVD in the United States from Koch-Lorber Films, in the UK from Second Sight, and on Madman Entertainment’s Directors Suite label in Australia and New Zealand.
The series is set in the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, the city and country’s main hospital, nicknamed “Riget”. “Riget” means “the realm” or “the kingdom” and leads one to think of “dødsriget”, the realm of the dead. The show follows a number of characters, both staff and patients, as they encounter bizarre phenomena, both human and supernatural. The show 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 first quartet of episodes ended with numerous questions unanswered, and in 1997, the cast reassembled to produce another group of four episodes, Riget II.