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Film

Power of Nature: Kraftur – The Last Ride

Once a horse leaves Iceland it can never return. This is the topic of the 2009 documentary Kraftur – The Last Ride , which tells the story of Thórarinn Eymundsson and his fiery red, smooth and energetic stallion Kraftur frá Bringu, whose loving relationship ended after the 2007 World Championship...

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Georg?: Mr. Bjarnfredarson

Mr. Bjarnfredarson is a full-length feature film by director Ragnar Bragason and the rest of the gang from “The Shift” TV series. As the name suggests, the film centers on the character of Georg Bjarnfredarson, although his “sidekicks,” Ólafur Ragnar and Daníel, are included too. As a comedy with a...

A Crime Series with a Supernatural Twist: The Cliff

Directed by Reynir Lyngdal, The Cliff , a 2009 four-part TV series, follows two detectives as they try to solve the mysterious death of a local man. The episodes contain all of the standard crime drama storylines: one detective out to prove herself, another with a dark past, a power struggle and...

You Think You’ve Had a Bad Day?: Jóhannes

Jóhannes , directed by Thorsteinn Gunnar Bjarnason, is a comedy about a bad day, a really bad day. The film features Laddi, an Icelandic film and TV icon, in the title role and he portrays Jóhannes well. You really begin to feel for the poor guy as the unfortunate misunderstandings pile up. But...

The Verdict is In: Court is a Success

The made-for-TV series Court ( Réttur ), directed by Saevar Gudmundsson, opens with a news program running the shocking headline: “Friday Night Rapist” is on the loose in Reykjavík. It looked like yet another TV crime drama that desperately tries (and fails) to live up to the American prototypes...

Moldy Must-See Dramedy: The Good Heart

The premise of The Good Heart by Icelandic writer and director Dagur Kári is simple and familiar. Two people meet, an old and grumpy man (Brian Cox) and a young man consistently dealt a bad hand in life (Paul Dano), who enrich each others’ lives. The format seemed a little “done” to me so I was...

Love, Drama and Comedy at the Office: Ástrídur

Ástrídur , directed by Silja Hauksdóttir, follows a young single woman named Ástrídur who is beginning a new job at an office. The storyline has similarities to both The Office and Bridget Jones's Diary , yet Ástrídur does not reach the level of either of its popular predecessors and leaves me...

Maybe I Should Have Spoken Up?

Maybe I Should Have is a new documentary about the economic crisis in Iceland where director Gunnar Sigurdsson tells his own story of going bankrupt and looks for answers on where the Icesave money went. The film is fun and engaging, asks all the right questions but doesn’t provide enough hard...

A Jailhouse Laugh: The Prison Shift

The boys from director Ragnar Bragason’s The Night Shift and The Dayshift are back in a way they have never been seen before, and that is behind bars. The Prison Shift delivers plenty of those awkward and ridiculous moments that have made the television show a success, but this latest installment...

A Tribute to Iceland’s Gentle Giant: Larger than Life

Chances are you have heard of Jón Páll Sigmarsson, better known as “the world’s strongest man” (he won the World’s Strongest Man competition a total of four times between 1984 and 1990). The documentary Larger than Life pays tribute to the late Jón Páll’s incredible physical prowess and is in part...

Family, May Contain Nuts: Country Wedding

Country Wedding by director Valdís Óskarsdóttir has a fairly simple premise. The film takes place on the wedding day of a young Icelandic couple. The bride insists the wedding take place at a small countryside church and so two buses are hired, one for the groom and his entourage and another for...

A Tale of Two Film Festivals: RIFF and Nordisk Panorama

The film scene in Iceland is a lively one and has seen a lot of action this year. From the largest post-production company in Europe setting up camp in Iceland to Hollywood’s arrival on the island, the Icelandic film industry has rarely been as busy. On top of that, Reykjavík played host to two...

Gore on the Open Waters: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

I did not know what to expect as I sat in the movie theater, waiting for Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre to begin. But one thing was for sure, I was nervous. As it turns out, I did not have to worry about jumping out of my seat because I found the poster for the film more frightening than the...

Welcome to the Dark Side: Jar City

Set during the eternal dusk of the Icelandic winter, Baltasar Kormákur’s 2006 feature film, Jar City ( Mýrin ), is dark, both in its look and content. The story, acting, music and look all combine to create the film’s distinctly dramatic and dreary atmosphere. The story is solid, a fact that can be...

Angels in the Trenches: Circledrawers

One thing is for sure, compared to other Icelandic productions, Circledrawers , an online mini-series by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, is in a class of its own and is certainly not lacking in originality. The series centers around Oleg, a Russian angel who has been sent from the Angel Station in...

A Series of Near Misses: Black Angels

The thrilling opening scene of director Óskar Jónsson’s television crime series Black Angels immediately grabs your attention as you prepare to hold onto the edge of your seat for the rest of what will surely be an exhilarating series. Unfortunately, you need not prepare. The excitement contained...

All in a (Hilarious) Day’s Work: Dagvaktin

About a year after going their separate ways, the characters from Naeturvaktin find themselves together again in a country hotel in Iceland’s West Fjords. Although the cast of main players is the same, Dagvaktin is by no means a simple regurgitation of the first series’ jokes and comedic shticks...

Another Side to the Grand Master: Me & Bobby Fischer

The premier of the Icelandic documentary Me & Bobby Fischer by director Fridrik Gudmundsson marked the beginning of this year’s Green Light Films festival. It follows the charismatic, easy going and eternally optimistic Saemi Pálsson on his journey to Japan in 2004 to help free his old friend...

Maybe Mom and Dad Don’t Always Know What’s Best: Foreldrar (Parents)

Foreldrar is director Ragnar Bragason’s follow-up feature film to Börn . Both films explore the dysfunction of the family dynamic; a world full of secrets, disappointment and frustration. However, rather than the big outbursts and profusion of blood and tears seen in Börn , the stories of Foreldrar...

Definitely Not Child’s Play: Börn (Children)

A hired thug forces his way into a house to assault the tenant and delivers a vicious head-butt to his boss… Children , directed by Ragnar Bragason, serves as a reminder that families can bring out the best and the worst in us. The film delivers a mix of superb acting, a great story and beautiful...

A Journey into Autism: The Sunshine Boy

The Sunshine Boy is Fridrik Thór Fridriksson best documentary. It echoes the technique of his feature films—a certain quietness. Much is being said through the lens only, with beautiful shots taken by Jón Karl Helgason. The music of Sigur Rós and Björk is applied in a subtle but very affective way...

An Icelandic Whodunit: I Hunt Men

Two detectives attempt to track down a serial killer who is murdering hunters in the Icelandic countryside. The killer’s weapon of choice: a shotgun delivering fatal blasts at point blank range. I Hunt Men is a distinctly Icelandic production that tackles some major issues of substance and should...

Pure Storytelling: Three Films by Fridrik Thór Fridriksson

Fridrik Thór Fridriksson’s Children of Nature , Cold Fever and Devil’s Island were recently re-released with English subtitles. The 1990s were Fridriksson’s most productive years, in which he directed four successful films. The three titles above all feature his pure form of storytelling,...

The Pressure is on: Pressa

Pressa (English title: The Press ), one of few Icelandic drama series on television, looks promising right from the flashy opening sequence. The show introduces a range of actors who Icelanders have rarely seen on screen before and all deliver surprisingly good performances. The Press has certain...

A Semi-Epic: Reykjavík-Rotterdam

Two heavily armed policemen franticly fire their impressive automatic weapons while a hooded figure mysteriously tilts its head up towards the viewer. A huge freighter floats in the dark by an empty dock while rain pounds the water below. With believable characters and fulfilling back stories, and...

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