When filmmakers possess a signature style that can be identified across their body of work, they are sometimes referred to as an auteur of cinema. It’s a term that might get banded around too frequently, but one that is often used when discussing Icelandic visionary Baltasar Kormákur. His latest feature is crime thriller The Oath, a personal project which he amazingly produces, directs, co-writes and stars in. The story follows family man heart surgeon Finnur (Kormákur) who tries to rescue his daughter Anna (Hera Hilmar) from her thuggish boyfriend Óttar (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) when she becomes entangled in his dangerous, criminal lifestyle. Continue reading Baltasar Kormákur – Eiðurinn AKA The Oath (2016)
A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood. Continue reading Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson – Hjartasteinn AKA Heartstone (2016)
In Rams, writer-director Grímur Hákonarson mixes drollness and pathos with commanding matter-of-factness. The narrative is so inherently poignant that Hákonarson understands it requires a dry directorial counterpoint, which he provides in the guise of initially misleading authorial distance. A documentary filmmaker making his fictional feature debut, Hákonarson structures Rams with a sense of restriction that’s similar to that of certain documentaries, as if only some gestures could be captured within this rural Icelandic setting. There’s little exposition, though one’s given what they’re needed to orient themselves, as characters are observationally shown, at length, to engage in the processes that define their lives, particularly farming, sheep competitions, and tormented drinking. Continue reading Grímur Hákonarson – Hrútar AKA Rams (2015)
In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what’s dearest to them – their sheep. Continue reading Grímur Hákonarson – Hrútar AKA Rams (2015)
‘heima’ is sigur rós’s first ever film, filmed over two weeks last summer when the band undertook a series of free, unannounced concerts in iceland. they hauled 40-plus people round 15 locations to the furthest flung corners of their homeland for their debut venture into live film, to create something, well, inspirational.
on their way they went to ghost towns, outsider art shrines, national parks, small community halls and the absolute middle-of-nowhere-ness of the highland wilderness, as well as playing the largest gig of their career (and in icelandic history) at their homecoming reykjavik show.
‘heima’ (icelandic for “at home” or “homeland”), truly, shows sigur rós as never before. whereas seeing the group live is normally a large-scale and sometimes overwhelming experience, making full use of lights and mesmeric visuals, ‘heima’ was always intended to reveal more of what was actually going on on stage. it does this via long-held close-ups and a rare intimate proximity, without ever once breaking the spell. Continue reading Dean DeBlois – Heima AKA At Home [+Commentary] (2007)
Mýrin is based on a best-selling novel by Arnaldur Indriðason.
While a desperate, young father tries to find out what led to the death of his five year old girl, Inspector Erlendur investigates the murder of an elderly loner in a run-down basement flat. The investigation takes an unexpected turn when forensic evidence leads him on a trail of the past. Continue reading Baltasar Kormákur – Mýrin aka Jar City (2006)
Based on actual events, a fisherman tries to survive in the freezing ocean after his boat capsizes off the south coast of Iceland. Continue reading Baltasar Kormákur – Djúpið aka The Deep (2012)