Baltasar Kormákur's Jar City (2006)
Need a break from the madness of the Tribeca Film Festival? We're pleased to offer a more chilled-out (get it?) alternative for audiences this weekend in the form of the largest survey of film from Iceland ever mounted stateside: Images From the Edge: Classic and Contemporary Icelandic Cinema. And with a combination of seminal masterpieces, new hits, and cult favorites, not to mention dozens of filmmaker appearances and two great opportunities to save (see below), there's something for everyone!
We can't recommend highly enough that you start your weekend off with Jar City tonight at 6:15pm. This crime thriller from the island of the weird was a blockbuster hit in Iceland and has gone on to become a cult favorite the world over. What starts off as a typical case for seasoned police detective Erlendur gets complicated by the discovery of a photo of a gravestone of a young woman whose murder was never solved. We don't want to give anything away, but a quick glance at the photo above should make it clear that things only get stranger from there.
Jar City director Baltasar Kormákur—who is poised to become a familiar name after his recent crossover success with Contraband and his upcoming 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington—will be in person at tonight's screening for a Q&A. And if you're feeling like a double feature, come early for the magical and provocative Rainbow's End at 4pm or stay late for the award-winning Ingaló at 8:30pm, both with filmmakers in person!
On Saturday, get your day started with the first Icelandic sound feature Between Mountain and Shore (1949) at 1:30pm, which was the culmination of the life-long efforts of director Loftur Guðmundsson to create a cinema that was uniquely Icelandic. Then at 3:45pm, see Noi the Albino, which triggered a flurry of arthouse interest in new Icelandic cinema when it hit the international festival circuit in 2003. Director Dagur Kári will be in person to discuss his auspicious debut feature. And if you're in the mood for an ultra-violent Viking adventure, you won't want to miss When the Raven Flies at 6:15pm.
International superstar Björk at 16 in Rock in Reykjavik (1982)
The highlight of Saturday's offerings has to be the influential music documentary Rock in Reykjavik, which follows the rise in international popularity of Icelandic music in the early 1980s. A mix of concert footage and interviews, this explosive film features an appearance by a then 16-year-old Björk, surely one of Iceland's most famous cultural contributions to the world. Oscar-nominated director Friðrik Thór Friðriksson (Children of Nature), who has a total of four films in our series, will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening.
Friðriksson will also be in person to discuss his portrait of mental illness Angels of the Universe this Sunday at 8:45pm. Earlier in the day, internationally acclaimed editor Valdís Óskarsdóttir (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) will present her directorial debut Country Wedding, an uproarious and improvisational comedy about a Icelandic wedding gone completely south. Also playing Sunday are international sensation Reykjavik Rotterdam, the family drama cum crime thriller that was remade into Hollywood mega-hit Contraband (see above), and 2011 Cannes Directors' Fortnight selection Volcano.
And whichever day you drop buy, don't miss the free exhibit in the Furman Gallery "Fabulous Iceland: From Sagas to Novel" about the country's rich literary tradition, as well as an appropriately "looping" display of Friðriksson's experimental piece The Circle, a technological feat that takes the viewer on a scenic voyage around Iceland's island-encircling Ring Road at the speed of sound.
Images From the Edge: Classic and Contemporary Icelandic Cinema continues through Thursday, which is great because we've got two special packages designed for you to save on multiple tickets. Do you know you want to come to a bunch of these fantastic offerings? See four films for the price of three! And as a special thank you to our Members and Patrons for their continued support, they can get two tickets to any film in this series (or a ticket each to two separate screenings) for the price of one!