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Icelandic films

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Can anyone suggest some good Icelandic films? I know the country hasn't churned out a whole lot of movies, but they must be some worthwhile films out there. I read a brief synopsis of Noi the Albino, and it seemed pretty interesting.

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Can't say I've seen any (although Noi the Albino looked...nnmm...mildy interesting) but there's a list here if you fancy it.


"Art is the most passionate orgy within man's grasp."

-- John Donne

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I've only seen 2 Icelandic films, Children Of Nature and Cold Fever, both by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Both are good, but Children Of Nature is absolutely gorgeous, probably one of the most beautiful and ethereal films I've ever seen. The cinematography and scenery are amazing, the storyline (two elderly people try to return to their childhood village before they die) is especially poignant (and perfectly handled by the subdued acting and pacing), and Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson's score is very haunting and evocative.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's available on DVD anywhere, but you should be able to get it on VHS from Amazon and other distributors.

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Thanks, guys.

Opus, I'll be sure to pick up Children of Nature sometime soon. Sounds good.

(Are you opus from Vagrant? If you are, I'm Skye.)

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Yes, yes I am. Good to see you here...


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Just watched Noi The Albino last night, and am still mulling it over. However, I think I really like it. At times, fairly absurd in a Wes Anderson-esque way, and other times slightly poignant in a similar manner. I greatly enjoyed the way the film completely subverts your expectations in the final 10-15 minutes.

Up until that moment, I was surprised and dismayed at how cliched the story felt. You've got Noi, your standard, misunderstood-yet-likable slacker whose guardians are worse than he is (his father's an alchoholic, his grandmother's not all there), he lives in a small town with no prospects for the future, he's a disrepectful and disaffected student... and yet, he could also be the most brilliant student in the school if only he were challenged more. And of course, he meets another disaffected youth, the young women who runs the town gas station, and he hopes to run off with her for a better life. I don't know, it all sounded so Good Will Hunting-esque to me.

However, the film undermines this in the final act. Suffice to say, the film doesn't exactly let Noi off the hook with regards to his rebellious behavior. Or rather, he ends up getting exactly what he wants, by the work of his own hands... but probably not in the way that he was expecting. There's one shot of Noi, where he realizes, perhaps for the first time, just what his future entails perhaps as a result of the way he's lived his life, that is absolutely amazing. I have to take some issue with the description on the DVD case, that a natural disaster gives Noi a chance at a better world, because that implies the film has an upbeat ending. I found it rather tragic, albeit it in an offbeat manner.

The film doesn't completely work... Some of the attempts to inject some humor into the film didn't quite work for me. Same goes for the relationship between Noi and the young women, which could've used just a bit more fleshing out to make it more palpable. But all in all, a delightfully subtle film that was not at all what I was expecting.

On more thing... after seeing Noi, I'm thoroughly convinced that every Icelandic film needs to give the Icelandic landscape top billing. Rarely have I seen films that are so defined by their landscapes.

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Different country, but same general geographic area: Greenland. I recommend Heart of Light, aka Qaamarngup uummataa. Also includes spectacular scenery, and a moving human story.

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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I just saw Noi as well, and I'm with Opus ... very good, but not quite great. Very well acted, beautiful visuals, very subtle ... I found it pretty interesting to contrast this with the way American film makers approach the same material, because like Opus says this basic mix of characters and scenario has been around a fair bit. I posted a full review a couple days ago on Twitch ...


twitch

independent and cult film.

news. reviews. discussion.

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spoilers1.gif

Alright, I've been working on my review, and the more I think about it, the more I'm troubled by the film's ending. Whilst perusing the film's official website, I came across these quotes from the director and lead actor.

Q: Without revealing the film

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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To those of you who have seen the film, do you think Noi caused the avalanche that destroyed his village and killed his father, grandmother, girlfriend, and everyone else he knew?  I got the impression that he had, albeit accidentally, based on the earlier scene in which he was shooting icicles on the mountain with the shotgun.  I know, it's tenuous at best, but it seemed plausible... which put the ending in a very tragic light for me, because Noi wasn't let off the hook but essentially forced to realize the consequences of his actions, something that hadn't happened at all with the rest of his behavior.

It never even occured to me that he may have caused it ... if he did it would have had to have been in some dramatically time-delayed fashion which implies pre-meditation and he certainly seems completely unaware that he may have. I think it was a random tragedy.


twitch

independent and cult film.

news. reviews. discussion.

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Hmmm... methinks I'll need to watch the film again.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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After 16 years, I figure it's time to revive this thread.  (P.S., I miss Opus.)

In the past two years, I've seen that many Icelandic films, and both impressed me as odd, idiosyncratic, and poignant.  Last year's Woman at War (which has its own thread) was a nicely done eco-fable.  This year's A White, White Day is an interesting exploration of grief, its straddling the knife's edge of sanity and madness.  Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/05/a-white-white-day-and-the-madness-of-grief/

In scanning the interwebs, with the exception of some earlier silents, it looks like Iceland's film industry is in its fledgling stages, only big enough to have their version of the Oscars since 1999.  I see that TIFF did a ten-film retrospective of Icelandic cinema last year; is anyone here familiar with other films from this country?


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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The one I recall is Of Horses and Men which was an entertaining series of vignettes. My brief review from back in HJ days: http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/of-horses-and-men/

I also recall seeing Rams, but don't remember much about it.

Iceland seems to have a rather dark view. Even in its comedy.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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21 minutes ago, Darrel Manson said:

The one I recall is Of Horses and Men which was an entertaining series of vignettes. My brief review from back in HJ days: http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/of-horses-and-men/

Ooh, that sounds very interesting!

22 minutes ago, Darrel Manson said:

Iceland seems to have a rather dark view. Even in its comedy.

I'm not ready to jump to that conclusion.  As I recall, the humor in Woman at War is not especially dark, and while A White, White Day deals with bereavement and jealousy in strange ways, there's hope to be found in its narrative.  Both are odd films, that's for sure.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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Great recommendations here. Metalhead (Malmhaus) is very relevant to A&F interests, as it involves adolescent trauma, Icelandic evangelicalism, and heavy metal. And Jar City is a great work of nordic noir, if that genre is your thing. I still have not caught The Deep, though I will now put that on the list for the next few weeks.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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1 hour ago, M. Leary said:

Metalhead (Malmhaus) is very relevant to A&F interests, as it involves adolescent trauma, Icelandic evangelicalism, and heavy metal. And Jar City is a great work of nordic noir, if that genre is your thing. I still have not caught The Deep, though I will now put that on the list for the next few weeks.

Metalhead definitely sounds like it would be in Jessica's and my wheelhouse, so thanks for the recommendation.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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