Great Expectations

Cécile Smetana Baudier

2020 - 2021


Great Expectations is a story of two sisters, Anna and Thea, during their first year attending school away from home during the last stages of the co-vid pandemic in Denmark.

Anna and Thea and their fellow 133 students have shared a strange year. Three out of ten months they have spent in isolation at home in front of a screen. The series follows Anna and Thea and their fellow students at efterskole which translates to “after-school” and is an optional final year of elementary school taken at specialized boarding schools.

It is a 150-year-old tradition based on Danish thinker Grundtvig’s principles of growth through self-enlightenment. Efterskole is meant to prepare young people for adulthood both academically, personally and socially.

The very antithesis to what efterskole is all about.

Online lessons robbed them from the most essential part of the efterskole.

“People can hide behind screens. In real life it is much easier to see how people are feeling,”recalls Anna. Spread out around the country, back with their parents, the students began losing that feeling of connection they had spent months building. Online friends cannot make it up for physical contact. Online girl- and boyfriends even less. Breakups make it even harder to stand the isolation. The students describe it as depression. Loneliness. Every day felt like a thousand years, one said.

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