In person: Friðrik Thór Friðriksson!
Portraits of mental illness are very tricky: it’s difficult to strike a balance between the pain, suffering and even horror while avoiding either sentimentalizing or sensationalizing it. 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.