The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces lineup for IMAGES FROM THE EDGE: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ICELANDIC CINEMA,
The largest presentation of Icelandic cinema in North America featuring favorite Baltasar Kormákur; classic films and directorial debuts
New York, NY, March 14, 2012 – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today the schedule for IMAGES FROM THE EDGE: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ICELANDIC CINEMA (April 18-26). The upcoming series, the largest presentation of Icelandic cinema ever held in the United States, which will include Iceland’s first two features that debuted the use of sound in the ‘50s – BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND SHORE and LAST FARM IN THE VALLEY.
While Icelandic directors have been producing films since the silent era, it was the founding of the Icelandic Film Fund in 1978 that really sparked a cinematic movement that put Iceland on the map. Two years after the creation of the fund, director Ágúst Guðmundsson’s critically acclaimed LAND AND SONS, which will be shown in this year’s lineup, was released to major success, making the rounds of the international festival circuit and spotlighting Iceland as a cultural hub for quality, independent films.
“Since its international emergence in the early 1980s, Icelandic cinema has been screened in every corner of the globe, and with the success of CONTRABAND–adapted from the Icelandic film REYKJAVIK ROTTERDAM–it's clear that now even Hollywood is looking at Icelandic films,“ notes FSLC Program Director Richard Peña. “Fearless in their treatment of a wide range of subjects, and known for their brilliant use of some of the world's most startling landscapes, Icelandic films celebrate the vital and continuing importance of the cinematic production of “small nations.””
Iceland has held its own place in the face of considerable overseas competition. The average feature production in the past decade has been seven to eight films per year, for a population of about 320,000. Much like the borders of the continental shelves of Europe and North America that jut against each other, Icelandic cinema is one of harsh beauty and characters constantly pushed to their limits.
“’Glöggt er gests augad’ is an Icelandic proverb, meaning the visitor sees matters in a new and different perspective. This is very true when it comes to Richard Peña’s selection of Icelandic films for the Film Society of Lincoln Center´s IMAGES FROM THE EDGE series, says Laufey Guðjónsdóttir, Director of the Icelandic Film Centre. “This is the most extensive presentation of Icelandic films abroad so far in terms of variety and historical significance and we are grateful for the invitation.”
Tickets go on sale both at the box office and on-line at filmlinc.com on March 29. Ticket prices are $13 for the general public, $9 for students and seniors and $8 for members. Discount packages are available to purchase tickets to 4 different films for the price of 3 (except for the opening night screening of EITHER WAY on April 18.) Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater (located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway).
This series is organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Icelandic Film Centre.
Films and Descriptions for
IMAGES FROM THE EDGE: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ICELANDIC CINEMA
EITHER WAY (Á annan veg) (2011) 85m
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Two workers are assigned to paint white lines on a distant highway. One is Finnbogi, a thirty-something slacker who’s actually been doing this job every summer for a while; the other is Alfred, a younger man with sex constantly on his brain and who happens to be the younger brother of Finnbogi’s girlfriend. At first it seems the two just can’t hit it off, as every attempt at conversation ends with a thud or a quizzical look. But cracks in their respective shells begin to gradually appear. A terrifically endearing, very wry comedy, EITHER WAY features two standout performances by Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson (who also co-wrote the script) as Finnbogi and by Hilmar Guðjónsson as Alfred. Debut director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, a Columbia University graduate, carefully accumulates details and observations about his characters, weaving them into a rich comic tapestry.
Wednesday, April 18 at 6:15pm
Thursday, April 19 at 2:30pm
ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (Englar alheimsins) (2000) 100m
Director: Friðrik Thór Friðriksson
Based on Einar Guðmundsson’s prize-winning novel, Friðrik Thór Friðriksson’s finest film is the story of Páll (Ingvar Sigurðsson), a diagnosed schizophrenic, and his relationships to his family, childhood friends and the woman he loves–until his worsening mental state sends him to a psychiatric hospital. There, Páll meets a new cast of characters, including other patients as well as hospital staff. Friðriksson creates a wonderfully nuanced portrait of Páll, moving between his moments of calm and self-reflexion and times when he’s clearly out of control. The film was lauded at dozens of international festivals, while lead actor Sigurðsson won the “People’s Choice” prize for Best Actor at the 2000 European Film Awards.
Sunday, April 22 at 8:45pm
Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00pm
BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND SHORE (Milli fjalls og fjöru) (1949) 91m
Director: Loftur Guðmundsson
The first Icelandic sound feature is this charming tale of star-crossed lovers shot against the stunning backgrounds of central Iceland. Gunnar Eyjólfsson, later one of the country’s most popular actors, plays the son of an impoverished farmer who falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Said to be based on an actual incident, the film was the culmination of the life-long efforts of its director, Loftur Guðmundsson—who had made some silent short films—to create a genuinely Icelandic cinema.
Wednesday, April 18 at 2:00pm
Saturday, April 21 at 1:30pm
COUNTRY WEDDING (Sveitabrúðkaup) (2008) 99m
Director: Valdís Óskarsdóttir
An internationally acclaimed editor—among her achievements are Thomas Vinterberg’s THE CELEBRATION and Michel Gondry’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND —Valdís Óskarsdóttir turned to directing with this uproarious comedy of a wedding gone spectacularly haywire. Hoping to make the day special, Ingrid and Bardi decide to hold their wedding in a small rural church a few hours north of Reykjavik. The buses are hired, and after some expected moments of tension they’re on their way—until the groom’s intense claustrophobia forces them to travel the backroads instead of going through a tunnel that leads under the fjords. And that’s when the fun begins. Working with 4 HD cameras, Óskarsdóttir didn’t use a script, but instead set up a number of storylines and allowed her actors (many from theater) to improvise their dialogue.
Sunday, April 22 at 2:00pm
Wednesday, April 25 at 4:15pm
DREAMLAND (Draumalandið) (2009) 89m
Directors: Þorfinnur Guðnason and Andri Snær Magnason
Hoping to get the multinational Alcoa Aluminum Corporation to build a giant plant in western Iceland, the Icelandic government promised to build the largest dam in all of Europe to provide Alcoa with cheap electric power. Despite many warnings from various positions, the project went ahead – until the country’s economic collapse in 2008 left an unfinished project, serious environmental damage and massive debt. The documentary DREAMLAND looks at the Alcoa case within the context of Iceland’s economic history since its independence from Denmark in 1918, tracing a series of government stimulus projects that were sold on fear but rarely performed as they were predicted. An insightful look at the causes and consequences of short-sighted economic planning.
Thursday, April 26 at 8:35pm
THE GIRL GOGO (79 af stöôinni) (1962) 90m
Director: Erik Balling
Although director Erik Balling is Danish, THE GIRL GOGO is based on an Icelandic novel (by Indriði G. Þorsteinsson), shot completely in Iceland, and featured Icelandic actors. Both enormously popular and controversial (it was seen by over 35 percent of the population) the film is a revealing document of social transition. Abandoning the family farm, Ragnar (Gunar Eyjólfsson) moves to Reykjavik and becomes a taxi driver. His nightly rounds expose him to a different kind of Iceland. He’s drawn to a beautiful young woman, Gogo (Kristbjörg Kjeld), who seems to harbor a dark secret. The hidden subject of THE GIRL GOGO is the presence of U.S. military bases in Iceland, a Cold War imposition that wound up profoundly affecting the previously rather isolated Icelandic society.
Thursday, April 19 at 4:15pm
Wednesday, April 25 at 6:15pm
INGALÓ (1992) 96m
Director: Ásdís Thoroddsen
An interesting women’s perspective on the male-dominated fishing world, INAGLÓ features an award-winning performance by Sólveig Arnarsdóttir as the title character, who works alongside her brother Sveinn on their father’s small fishing boat. After a fight at a local dance, Ingaló leaves home for Reykjavik. Later, when her brother gets a job as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat, she joins the crew as a cook. But Sveinn isn’t really cut out for a life at sea, and Ingaló finds her protective feelings for her brother running up against her own complex relations with the other sailors.
Wednesday, April 18 at 4:00pm
Friday, April 20 at 8:30pm
JAR CITY (Mýrin) (2006) 93m
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2007 Karlovy Vary Film Festival, JAR CITY begins as world-weary, seen-it-all police detective Inspector Erlendur (Ingvar Sigurðsson) examines the flat of an old man who’s been found bludgeoned to death. A fairly typical crime scene, except for one detail: a photograph of a gravestone on a young woman whose murder was never solved. Erlundur decides to re-open that case, in the process revealing a thick web of corruption that extends from dishonest cops to the genetic mapping of Iceland’s inhabitants. A blockbuster in its native Iceland, adapted from novelist Arnaldur Indriðason’s 2000 bestseller, this compelling, sinewy police procedural by the talented actor-writer-director Baltasar Kormákur expertly ratchets up the tension throughout its crisp 93 minutes.
Friday, April 20 at 6:15pm
Tuesday, April 24 at 2:00pm
LAND AND SONS (Land og synir) (1980) 93m
Director: Ágúst Guðmundsson
Most critics would date the birth of the contemporary Icelandic cinema from the release of this powerful adaptation of Indriði G. Þorsteinsson’s novel. Despite the harsh conditions brought on by a disease ravaging the local sheep herds, the farmers in a remote northern family resolve to struggle on, pooling their resources and working together to get past the slump. But when his father dies, Einar sees the chance he’s been waiting for: to leave home and try his luck elsewhere. LAND AND SONS beautifully captures the waning of old bonds and values as a new generation dreams of creating new lives. Widely screened at international film festivals, LAND AND SONS is widely credited for putting Iceland on the cinematic map.
Wednesday, April 18 at 8:30pm
Friday, April 20 at 2:00pm
THE LAST FARM IN THE VALLEY (Síðasti bærinn í dalnum) (1950) 93m
Director: Ævar Kvaran
This wonderfully light-hearted tale of the supernatural digs deep into local folklore and legends. In a beautiful, fertile valley, the evil trolls have managed to drive away all the farmers except for Björn and his family, who, thanks to the talisman kept by Björn’s mother manage to keep the trolls at bay. Determined to take over Björn’s land, the trolls come up with a devious solution: they will temporarily transform themselves into humans, and trick the family out the talisman. But not if a friendly dwarf and beautiful fairy queen can help it! Splendid with the most basic special effects, THE LAST FARM IN THE VALLEY remains one of the best-loved of all Icelandic films.
Thursday, April 19 at 6:15pm
Sunday, April 22 at 12:00pm
NOI THE ALBINO (Nói albínói) (2003) 82m
Director: Dagur Kári
In a small town tucked into a fjord that’s cut off from the rest of the world much of the year lives Nói (Tómas Lemarquis), tall, lanky and even blonder than the other inhabitants. For his birthday, his grandmother makes him a Polynesian themed party, which couldn’t be more appropriate: Nói spends a good art of every day imaging life on another island, preferably in the far away South Seas. But Nói has a plan of action which he’s preparing to unleash, provided he can get the young woman at the gas station to go along with him. Flavored with strains of David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, NOI THE ALBINO creates a world that seems much like ours, except perhaps just one step away and we begin to see why Nói refuses to accept as “normal” the everyday reality he shares with his family and neighbors. An impressive debut from a director who has gone on to become one of Iceland’s most important filmmakers.
Saturday, April 21 at 3:45pm
RAINBOW’S END (Á hjara veraldar) (1983) 112m
Director: Kristín Jóhannesdóttir
One of the most singular artists in Iceland, Kristín Jóhannesdóttir studied literature and cinema in France, creating several short films before returning to Iceland to embark on her first feature. Drawing on motifs from Icelandic sagas and eddas, RAINBOW’S END tells the story of inter-generational family conflict. Yet the dramatic elements just provide a framework for Jóhannesdóttir’s reflection on topics ranging from magic to individualism to Iceland’s special place in the world. Always lyrical and never less than provocative, RAINBOW’S END is a haunting work that remains as affecting and original today as when it was first released.
Friday, April 20 at 4:00pm
Thursday, April 26 at 6:15pm
REYKJAVIK ROTTERDAMN (2008) 88m
Director: Óskar Jónasson
Just re-made by Hollywood as the mega-hit CONTRABAND (directed by Baltasar Kormákur, star of REYKJAVIK ROTTERDAMN), this international sensation seamlessly combines an affecting family drama with a razor’s edge crime thriller. Fresh from a stint in prison, Christopher (Kormákur) tries to start a new life while patching up his relationship with his wife. But when he discovers that his thick-headed brother-in-law has crossed the mob in a smuggling deal, and now owes an insane amount of money, Christopher has no choice but to return to the criminal life, getting a job on board a ship with the hope of relieving it of some of its cargo. An engaging cat-and-mouse game, with some affectionate hat-tips to the films that inspired it.
Sunday, April 22 at 4:15pm
ROCK IN REYKJAVIK (Rokk í Reykjavík) (1982) 83m
Director: Friðrik Thór Friðriksson
Just as Icelandic cinema was beginning to emerge onto the world's screens, new music from Iceland was finding a wide array of international fans and supporters. Shot in the crucial season of 1981-82, ROCK IN REYKJAVIK captures the music scene just as it was finding its groove. The film features live performances by Tappi Tíkarrass (featuring a teenaged Björk), Ego, Q4U, Purrkur Pillnikk and other key bands of the era–19 in all–plus interviews with some of the key figures.
B.S.I. (2001) 18m
Director: Thorgeir Guðmundsson
As all of Iceland gathers for a major music festival, two escapees have a chance encounter in a fast-food joint.
Saturday, April 21 at 9:00pm
UNDERCURRENT (Brim) (2010) 95m
Director: Árni Ásgeirsson
A woman hires on to work on a fishing vessel. Her presence causes some of the expected tension on board, but she soon discovers that what’s upsetting things is not her sex but the fate of the person she’s replaced on board. A graduate of the Polish National Film School, Árni Ásgeirsson has created a rich psychological drama largely set in the narrow confines of the ship, increasing the ongoing tension through the inevitability of contact. A tour-de-force of ensemble acting, led by Ingvar Sigurðsson as the ship’s skipper, UNDERCURRENT is full of reversals and revelations, until a sudden turn of events sets the action off in an unexpected direction.
Wednesday, April 25 at 8:15pm
VOLCANO (Eldfjall) (2011) 95m
Director: Rúnar Rúnarsson
Selected for the 2011 Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, VOLCANO offers a tender look at aging as well as a lesson that it’s never too late to change. Hannes has just retired after 37 years working as a janitor. A distant man with little relationship to his family, he’s incapable of imagining what to do with the rest of his life. Then one evening during dinner, his wife collapses from a stroke. The doctors give her little chance to live, but he insists on bringing her home and caring for her himself. Hannes’ gradual transformation is beautifully expressed by actor Theodór Júlíusson, who reveals the slow emotional awakening of a long-dormant man.
Sunday, April 22 at 6:30pm
Thursday, April 26 at 2:00pm
WHEN THE RAVEN FLIES (Hrafninn flýgur) (1984) 110m
Director: Hrafn Gunnlaugsson
Setting out to offer a rejoinder to the Hollywood image of the Vikings, Hrafn Gunnlaugsson’s first film recounts the adventures of Gestur, an Irishman who as a boy witnessed the murder of his two parents and the abduction of his sister during a Viking raid. Working his way into the graces of one of the bands, Gestur gets to know the two Norwegian brothers, Thor and Erik, who led the raid and now keep his sister between them. The film doesn’t back off from the violence of the era, but it does provide more of a context for understanding the workings of that long-ago world. Meticulously recreated, WHEN THE RAVEN FLIES was voted one of the outstanding films of the Eighties at the Tokyo International Film Festival
Saturday, April 21 at 6:15pm
Thursday, April 26 at 4:00pm
WHITE WHALES (Skytturrnar) (1987) 73m
Director: Friðrik Thór Friðriksson
After a number of prize-winning documentaries, including the seminal ROCK IN REYKJAVIK, Oscar-nominated director Friðrik Thór Friðriksson (CHILDREN OF NATURE) made his debut fiction feature with this unexpectedly touching portrait of two friends down and almost out in the big city. Grímur and Bubbi are experienced whalers who, after months out at sea, decide to take a break in Reykjavík. But something has changed: they no longer feel at home, or welcome, and wind up getting thrown out of one establishment after another. Yet neither is the type to simply accept what’s been going down, and the two prepare themselves for what they know will be a confrontation. Friðriksson’s skill as a docmentarist is everywhere evident, from the lovely scenes on the whaler to the careful observation of Reykjavík nightlife.
Thursday, April 19 at 8:45pm
Tuesday, April 24 at 4:00pm
Public Screening Schedule for IMAGES FROM THE EDGE: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ICELANDIC CINEMA
The Film Society of Lincoln Center – Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam (upper level)
Wednesday, April 18
2:00pm BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND SHORE (91m)
4:00pm INGALÓ (98m)
6:15pm EITHER WAY (Opening) (85m)
8:30pm LAND AND SONS (93m)
Thursday, April 19
2:30pm EITHER WAY (85m)
4:15pm THE GIRL GOGO (90m)
6:15pm THE LAST FARM IN THE VALLEY (93m)
8:30pm WHITE WHALES (80m)
Friday, April 20
2:00pm LAND AND SONS (93m)
4:00pm RAINBOW’S END (112m)
6:15pm JAR CITY (94m)
8:30pm INGALÓ (98m)
Saturday, April 21
1:30pm BETWEEN MOUNTAIN AND SHORE (91m)
3:45pm NOI THE ALBINO (93m)
6:15pm WHEN THE RAVEN FLIES (110m)
9:00pm B.I.S. (17m) & ROCK IN REYKJAVIK (83m)
Sunday, April 22
12:00pm THE LAST FARM IN THE VALLEY (93m)
2:00pm COUNTRY WEDDING (95m)
4:15pm REYJAVIK ROTTERDAM (90m)
6:30pm VOLCANO (95m)
8:45pm ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (100m)
Tuesday, April 24
2:00pm JAR CITY (94m)
4:00pm WHITE WHALES (80m)
Wednesday, April 25
2:00pm ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (100m)
4:15pm COUNTRY WEDDING (95m)
6:15pm THE GIRL GOGO (90m)
8:15pm UNDERCURRENT (95m)
Thursday, April 26
2:00pm VOLCANO (95m)
4:00pm WHEN THE RAVEN FLIES (110m)
6:15pm RAINBOW’S END (112m)
8:35pm DREAMLAND (90m)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow #filmlinc on Twitter.
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