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Sunday, November 25, 2007

While in Copenhagen...

Two days ago, I was in the neighborhood of Assistens Kirkegaard, the "assisting cemetery," which opened November 6th., 1760 to alleviate the crowded town of Copenhagen from the pressure of burials within the city walls. Since it is relatively close to the city center, I pass this cemetary regularly--our studio has been facing it back in 1990, and right now it's less than a mile away--but I now finally got myself to go inside. Nowadays, it is mainly used as a large park, but people are still being buried here. It's a clean park, but hardly well groomed.

My specific reason to come here was to pay hommage to that great Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, here called H.C. Andersen - pronounced Ho Say (like José!) Andersen. Of course, we remember HCA from Disney's The Little Mermaid, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling, and we at A. Film produced The Ugly Duckling and Me (loosely based on his story, as feature and series), The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep as a 12 minute CG film for Danish TV and Channal Four and we made a TV series from lots of his works (which I found recently at Best Buy) - as did Mike Sporn. In 2005, the H.C. Andersen Year, we received the H.C. Andersen Award for our efforts. Andersen's famous stories are plentiful: The Emperor's New Clothes, The Red Shoes, The Emperor's Nightingale, Thumbelina (we worked on Don Bluth's version as well), The Princess and the Pea. In 1946, The Tinder Box (Fyrtøjet) was the first Danish animated feature and the first Danish feature in color.
I draw the line at Klods Hans (Clumsy Hans), though, come to think of it, he did get the princess...

Below are a shot of his modest plot in the cemetary, a closeup of his stone, a quick portrait of myself with it to give it some dimension and a little map to show the plot in the cemetary and the entrances.
The stone reads (directly translated, though in Danish it rhymes):

The poet
HANS CHRISTIAN
ANDERSEN
B. April 2nd. 1805
D. August 4th 1875
The soul God in his image has created
Is unhurtable, cannot be lost
Our earthlive here is eternity's seed
Our body dies but the soul cannot die
HCA

There is a school very near by, and the noise from the kids in the schoolyard seemed strangely fitting with the image we have of Denmark's Great Poet, however wrong this image may be...
1234
I thought some of you might like to see this...
A final note: other famous people buried here range from scientists (Niels Bohr, H.C.Ørsted) to jazz greats (Ben Webster, Kenny Drew).
Don't fear: more Alice to follow shortly!

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