Review by Zoë Robert.
The third series of popular Icelandic television program Pressa (The Press) opens another round of six episodes in its usual dramatic fashion, this time with an arson attack on a Filipino restaurant in the suburb of Breiðholt, home to the largest proportion of immigrants in Reykjavík. Inside, a young Filipino worker kept captive by her employer, Jesus (played by Louieven Laurente Espiritu), tries to escape the flames.
The attack is the first in a string seemingly targeting foreigners in Iceland. Are they racist attacks, of the nature unprecedented in Iceland? A chain of racist videos released following the attack seems to indicate that much.
The main character, Lára (played by Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir), single mother and journalist at daily tabloid Pósturinn (The Post), and her colleagues are tasked with investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, Lára’s daughter Alda, who’s grown into a teen since the last series, gets involved with a criminal gang. Once again, Lára’s professional obligations intersect with those of being a mother, leading her to evaluate her priorities.
Some may argue that the plot is unrealistic and sensational, but criminal activity, including trafficking and racism—featured in Nordic crime series which the creators of Pressa no doubt aspire to—exist in Iceland too. Viewed purely from an entertainment perspective, the series delivers once again.
There are a few pieces missing, though, I felt. We don’t learn much about the gang of criminals and what exactly they are up to. They seem amateur and disorganized. It would also have been nice to follow up on the story of the Filipino family. What happens to Jesus and what is his side of the story?
I’m still not yet entirely sure how I feel about the portrayal of foreigners in the series but the writer does make an attempt at showing each of the characters in the series as more than one-dimensional, neither all bad nor all good.
The series also touches on the debate surrounding the relevance of online vs. print media. With online media being best placed to take the scoop, what is the role of the, arguably, dying print media?
Directed by Óskar Jónasson and written by Sigurjón Kjartansson, the series was broadcast on Stöð 2 in the autumn of last year. The series deservedly won Best Television Series and Best Actress (Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir) at this year’s Icelandic Film and Television Awards (Eddas), held in February.
Zoë Robert – [email protected]