Film at the Arctic Circle: Icelandic Cinema of the Past 25 Years

Programmed by Eyjólfur Guðmundsson

Icelandic cinema has seen immense growth in creative output and international reputation over the past 25 years, with film-makers portraying the unique aspects and eccentricities of urban and rural life in a country with an unforgiving climate and a population tenth of that of the city of Chicago. This introduction to the young but burgeoning tradition of Icelandic film-making includes the Academy Award-nominated Children of Nature, as well as the more recent Of Horses and Men and Rams.

1/3/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Of Horses and Men

(Benedikt Erlingsson, 2013) · Icelandic horses, who share the main credit list alongside their human counterparts, play the main role in this love story set in a countryside community. Manipulating camera angles and editing, Erlingsson tells the story from the horses' points of view, adding a comical spin on human behavior and relationships. As a result, this ode to the Icelandic horse is both crafty and original in its approach to the age-old subject matter of romance and human relationships.

runtime: 81m format: Digital


1/10/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Children of Nature

(Friðrik Friðriksson, 1991) · Spectacular landscapes and beautifully crafted scenes abound in this film about an elderly couple's escape from a retirement home to the abandoned farm where they spent their early years as childhood sweethearts. Both heartwarming and moving, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's breakthrough film set the tone for his dominance of the Icelandic film scene in the 1990s. Iceland's first and so far only nominee for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film.

runtime: 82m format: DCP


1/17/2017 @ 7:00 PM

101 Reykjavík

(Baltasar Kormákur, 2000) · Hlynur is almost thirty, unemployed and living with his mom in downtown Reykjavik. His life changes when introduced to his mom's friend Lola, a Spanish flamenco dance instructor. Baltasar Kormakur's directorial debut signalled a change in style from the Icelandic cinema of the 1990s and put him on the map as one of Iceland's most important directors. Reykjavik nightlife features heavily in this comedy-drama full of wry humor and sarcastic commentary on modern life.

runtime: 92m format: 35mm


1/24/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Either Way

(Hafsteinn G. Sigurðsson, 2011) · Two road workers spend their summer in the remote north of Iceland painting lines and setting up reflective posts alongside highways. A weekend spent in town by one of them proves to be fateful, requiring each of them to take stock of their lives and come to grips with the unknown. Full of witty dialogue, this comedy depicts the possibility of bonding and friendship developing between contrasting characters.

runtime: 84m format: DCP


1/31/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Devil's Island

(Friðrik Friðriksson, 1996) · Memorable scenes abound in this unique and often comical window into the struggles of the working class in mid-twentieth century Iceland. Set at a time when the influence of American pop culture on the small island nation was increasing greatly, this film showcases the clash of cultures sometimes evident in the lives of everyday people at the time. Baltasar Kormakur stars as Baddi, a restless youth living in a working-class neighborhood during the years following WWII. Note: Due to a format error, this is now a free screening

runtime: 104m format: DVD


2/7/2017 @ 7:00 PM


(Ragnar Bragason, 2013) · Hera is a young teen when her older brother tragically passes away on her family's farm. Devastated by her loss, she adopts his interest in heavy metal music and blocks out her family and friends. Years later, she is challenged by a young priest, who shares her interest in heavy metal, to open up and make more of her life and interests. A tale of overcoming loss and sorrow, Bragason's film shows the different paths people take to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

runtime: 100m format: DCP


2/14/2017 @ 7:00 PM


(Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2015) · Ari is sent to live with his estranged father in the small town where he grew up. He tentatively tries to connect with his childhood friend Lara, while his alcoholic father makes feeble attempts to reconnect with his son. A conventional coming-of-age film at first glance, Runarsson's adept drama challenges the audience with chilling undertones in this tale of a teenage boy's abrupt transition from adolescence to adulthood.

runtime: 99m format: DCP


2/21/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Angels of the Universe

(Friðrik Friðriksson, 2000) · Páll is a painter who, after descending into depression when his girlfriend leaves him, is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. After being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, he plots a break-out with some of his fellow inmates. Based on a well-received novel, Fridriksson's film is a visually mesmerizing portrayal of the stigma surrounding psychological disorders in modern society, and the difficulties faced by sufferers of mental illness and their loved ones. Note: Due to a format change, this screening is now free.

runtime: 100m format: DVD


2/28/2017 @ 7:00 PM

Life in a Fishbowl

(Baldvin Zophoniasson, 2014) · Set in the years leading up to the Icelandic financial crisis in 2008, Baldvin Zophoniasson's film depicts the extreme excess and immoralities of the lives of some of the ultra rich, while also touching on the sensitive subjects of child abuse, alcoholism, and prostitution. Thorsteinn Bachmann and Hera Hilmars give stellar performances respectively as the alcoholic writer Mori and Eik, a single mother struggling to support herself and her daughter.

runtime: 130m format: DCP


3/7/2017 @ 7:00 PM


(Grímur Hákonarson, 2015) · Two brothers, who haven't spoken in 40 years, as neighbors in a remote valley, take pride in their respective flocks of sheep. After an infection spreading in the valley requires their sheep to be put down, they finally work together to save their livelihood and dignity. This dry-humored drama showcases the effects of loneliness and isolation, as well as the resourcefulness and spirit of people under threat of losing that which they hold dearest.

runtime: 93m format: DCP


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