The film Heartstone (Hjartasteinn) by Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival yesterday as one of 12 films in the Venice Days category. The film was well received by both attendees and critics.
“The theater was full, people were laughing and applauding,” Guðmundur said in description of the atmosphere to Morgunblaðið. “It’s a lot of fun and also a huge relief when you have worked on a project for so long,” the director added when asked about his feelings at the premiere.
The film travel to Canada next, where it will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 12.
On tiff.net, the plot is described by Steve Gravestock thus:
“In a small village in rural Iceland, Thor and Christian are best friends whose home lives are unsatisfactory, to say the least. Thor is ruthlessly mocked by his elder sisters, while his mother can't be bothered to hide her frustration at having to sacrifice her pleasure for the sake of her children. While Thor suffers from absentee parenting, Christian’s drunken and abusive father is, unfortunately for him, all too present. When the two friends strike up romantic relationships with a pair of girls, the events that follow threaten to destroy the longest and most meaningful relationship either has ever had.”
Gravestock concludes his review by saying: “Well-crafted and very affecting, Heartstone is the finest debut by an Icelandic director since Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Volcano .”