Northern Light; New Films from Iceland

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December  3 – 9, 1999

For Information Contact:
Box Office: 212 255-8800
Hotline: 212 591-1840

A Promotion Project
for International Film


The Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street (5th-6th Ave.)

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Drama / 110 min / 1999
Director: Gudny Halldorsdottir

Adapted from a 1933 story by Iceland’s Nobel Laureate, Halldor Laxness, HONOUR OF THE HOUSE is ably directed by his daughter. A sumptuously photographed period film featuring many of Scandinavia’s finest actors and set in a spectacular landscape, the film uncovers a family’s darkest secrets. Elder daughter Thuridor (married with kids) is consumed by frustration and discontent, while her younger sister Rannveig goes off to exciting studies and love affairs in Copenhagen. Repeating endless admonitions about the family’s honour, Thuridor goes to extraordinary lengths to destroy her sister’s happiness. Movingly narrated by their mother in recollection, she expresses her deep regret for not having intervened.

Screenings: December 3, 7pm; December 5, 9pm; December 7, 7pm

Drama / 87 min / 1998
Director: August Gudmundsson

Set in 1913 on the sparsely populated Faroe islands, the film’s narrator recalls an extraordinary wedding celebration. As the revelry commences, the free-spirited and beautiful bride, Sirsa, is eager to begin the ritual dance. Interrupted by a sinking ship offshore, the men go off to save its crew. Meanwhile, Sirsa is pursued by her former suitor, and a small group organizes a salvage expedition to the ship. Throughout the long night, the guests continue the dance ritual of the wedding, despite howling winds and driving rain. The film’s mesmerizing and and haunted atmosphere is enhanced by a beautiful score, including traditional folk melodies. Variety lauded the director for his “maturity…and graceful, precise style.”

Screenings: December 4, 7:30pm; December 5, 3pm; December 7, 9:30pm

Music documentary
/ 103 min / 1998
Director: Agust Jakobsson

With the recent international success of performers like Bjork and The Sugarcubes, Iceland’s vibrant pop music scene has gained a worldwide following. Showcasing 20-plus new bands and performers, POP IN REYKJAVIK combines beautifully-shot concert footage with intimate backstage interviews of a cross-section of young musicians hoping to be on the threshold of international fame. To top things off, gay celebrity Paul Oscar takes the audience on a witty, not-to-be-missed guided tour of Reykjavik’s supercharged nightlife.

Screenings: December 4, 9:30pm; December 6, 9:30pm; December 9, 5pm


Thriller / 93 min / 1998
Director: Hilmar Oddsson

In this taut suspense thriller, five longtime friends come together for a celebration that goes terribly wrong. After a night of intense partying, shot like a hallucinatory dream, they wake up to discover the naked dead body of a beautiful young woman. No one knows who she is or how she got there, but clearly someone is responsible. Thus begins a rapid and ominous chain of events leading ultimately to the discovery of deception, manipulation and murder. NO TRACE is the latest effort from this versatile and experienced director who made TEARS OF STONE.

Screenings: December 5, 7pm; December 7, 3pm; December 9, 7pm

Drama / 114 min / 1996
Director: Hilmar Oddsson

Based on a true story set in turbulent 1930s Germany, Icelandic composer Jon Leifs marries a beautiful Jewish girl with a promising musical future of her own. After a concert in Potsdam to which his wife is not admitted, he manages to get exit visas for her and their two children. As they depart, he is forced to reveal the fate of their grandparents, and the fact that he too must leave. Handsomely shot and accompanied by a powerful musical score of the composer’s work, TEARS OF STONE won numerous Festival awards, including the Nordic Prize at the Gothenburg Film Festival and the Best Cinematography Award at the Prague Film Festival.

Screenings: December 4, 5pm; December 6, 7pm; December 8, 9:30pm

Family / 78 min / 1998
Director: Ari Kristinsson

On her 10th birthday, Hrefna sets out with her best friend Yrsa to track down the father she never knew. Set in the real world of broken homes and fleeting relationships, the two adventurous girls manage to find him, kidnap his new baby, and set off a police manhunt. Given a rave review by Variety, the film was described as “funny, emotional and poignant.” World renowned for the quality of its children’s films, Iceland’s COUNT ME OUT is among the best of recent years.

Screenings: December 4, 1pm; December 6, 5pm; December 8, 3pm

Drama / 96 min / 1991
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

Nominated in 1992 for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film) and winner of 23 international prizes, CHILDREN OF NATURE is a lyrical, dreamy film with the feel of an adventure story – praised by the New York Times for its “a spectacular, chilly beauty…” An aging couple, once childhood sweethearts, escape from their retirement home and head for the treacherous terrain of Iceland’s northern coast, where they grew up. Their bold journey home is full of surprise and opportunity, offering them a chance to once more take control of their lives.

Screenings: December 3, 9:30pm; December 5, 1pm; December 8, 5:30pm

Drama / 90 min / 1994
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

Acclaimed as Iceland’s answer to AMARCORD and CINEMA PARADISO – this film is a nostalgic celebration of both the power of cinema and the Iceland of the director’s youth. MOVIE DAYS chronicles the adventures of Thomas, a city boy who comes of age during a colorful summer on a farm. The cultured ambience of 1960’s Iceland is wittily explored as Thomas discovers his homeland’s ghosts and traditions along with American television and Roy Rogers. MOVIE DAYS was awarded the “Nordic Amanda” prize as best Nordic film of 1994.

Screenings: December 3, 5pm; December 6, 3pm; December 9, 9pm

Music Documentary
/ 83 min / 1982
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

Fridriksson’s flashy documentary about Icelandic punk rock circa 1982 showcases rebellious youth (with great cheekbones) and thrashing guitars. The film records bands in performance and interviews players. High points include a 16-year-old Bjork fronting a group called Tappi Tikarass; the glue-sniffing adolescent members of a band called The Masturbators; and a remarkable segment involving live chickens and a paper cutter.

Screenings: December 3, 3pm; December 5, 5pm; December 9, 3pm

Comedy Drama / 87 min / 1995
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

A young Tokyo executive (Masatoshi Nagase from Jarmusch’s MYSTERY TRAIN) looking forward to his annual golf vacation in Hawaii instead finds himself en route to a remote river in Iceland to perform a memorial service for his parents at the location of their death. His adventures on the road run the gamut of tour bus torture, native cuisine and drink (Black Death), a hymn-singing cab driver, along with two bizarre American hitchhikers (Lili Taylor & Fisher Stevens) who communicate via puppets, and at least one encounter with a ghost. Set amid the harsh and beautiful landscape of gray sky, white glaciers and brown earth, COLD FEVER was praised by the New York Daily News as “a spiritual journey in the guise of… a road movie”.

Screenings: December 4, 3pm; December 7, 5pm; December 8, 7:30pm

Sponsored by:

Icelandic Film Fund
and Leifur Eiriksson:
Millennium Commission of Iceland

Supported by:
Embassy of Iceland, Overseas Business Service
Icelandic Tourist Board
Coldwater Seafood Company
Icelandic American Chamber of Commerce
The Village Voice