Blast from the Past: Boycotting the Girls of Siglufjörður

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This March 19 marked the 75th anniversary of the Great Boycott of Siglufjörður women, by the men of said town….

Blast from the Past: The Comedy Ban of 1940

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Like most countries, Iceland has a long and illustrious history of censorship. A fun example can be found in the…

The Battle Over Beer

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Iceland’s Parliament is currently debating whether to allow alcohol to be sold in supermarkets, and everyone has a strong opinion…

Stockfish Festival: History Comes Alive in Bíó Paradís

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It probably says something about the zeitgeist that, as with the German Film Days, some of the most powerful films…

Learning From War: The German Film Festival Tackles Tough Questions

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If there is any theme to this year’s German film days, it is war. Or rather, the consequences of war….

The Beautiful Era Returns to Bíó Paradís

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In these Trumpian times, what better way to relax than to take a trip back to the Belle Époque, you…

Medieval Revival: Young Bands Play (Very) Old Songs

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Umbra Ensemble is a five-piece band whose repertoire consists of pop songs reaching back a thousand years. Among the newest…

The Gandhi of Punk: Sex Pistols Singer Opens the Icelandic Punk Museum

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Johnny Rotten is having a smoke outside Lækjarbrekka, traditionally one of Iceland’s fancier restaurants. It is somehow as I always…

Happening Tonight: Kris Kristofferson

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You may know him as the old dude from the Blade movies, as Barbra Streisand’s co-star in ‘A Star is…

Search And Rescue With Tom Cruise

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Most Reykvíkingar tend to think that being born outside of the capital is some terrible accident that needs to be…

Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs

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The most characteristic sound of Reykjavík is neither the desperate noise of drunkards during the weekend nor the lonely song…

Movie-Star, Painter, Man Of The World: The Story Of Muggur

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“From Iceland’s Frigid Shore, Where Women Vote, Come Wondrous Fairy Tales.” Thus read a headline in the Evening Sun on…

The Look Of Silence: Our Darkest Natures Exposed

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We all know what a communist victory in Southeast Asia can look like. But what would it look like if…

A Civilized Way to Die: A German director talks about his on-screen suicides.

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Everyone knows that Heartbreak Hotel is located down at the end of Lonely Street, but what happens if you keep…

The Brits Are Coming! Again!

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The British Occupation that started in 1940 has certainly been dealt with a lot in Icelandic culture, as we at…

Finding True Iceland Part 2: Dentist, Sailors, Soldiers, Smelters

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Entering the eastern fjords of Iceland, one gets a sense of being closer to Europe. They have ferries here, and…

An Almost Totally Random Selection Of David Cronenberg Films, Described

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Videodrome (1983) Back in the early 80s, we all believed VHS would slowly take over first our minds and then…

Film Review: ‘Everest’ Pits Man Vs. Mountain

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Things that once looked unassailable turned out not to be. Everest must have seemed impossible to climb until one day,…

A Heartfelt Love Letter To David Mitchell, On The Occasion Of Reykjavík LitFest

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No, the novel lies not dead. It‘s merely sleeping. And the person to rouse it for the 21st century is one…

Finding True Iceland Up North: The Sagas Of Skagafjörður, A Siglufjörður Gold Rush, Húsavík Whales

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There are many ways to get to the North from dear old Reykjavík. One entails flying, which provides an impressive…

Searching For New Iceland Part 5: The Mystery Of The Goolies

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Icelanders in Manitoba were nicknamed “Goolies,” which started out as a slur…

Origin Stories, Or: Why We Believe We Are Who We Think We Are

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Every nation has an origin story. Unique about Icelanders in this regard, at least from the European perspective, is that…

Scandinavia Explained To The English Speaker

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To the outsider, the Scandinavian countries tend to all look the same. This is, in fact, not entirely true. First…

What Does It Take To Become A “Friend Of Iceland”?

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The term Íslandsvinur, “Friend of Iceland,” first appeared in Iceland’s media in 1874, in the annual Fréttir frá Íslandi (“News from Iceland”)….

Home Of The Prairie Wind: Searching For New Iceland Part 4

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Prairie. Nothing but prairie as far as the eye can see. It must have been terrifying for the New Icelanders…

How To Insult An Icelander: Searching For New Iceland Part 3

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What do you call an Icelander? Would an Icelander by any other name still smell as sweet? Being small island…

Searching For New Iceland Part 2: At The Heart Of It All

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Somewhere between Selfoss and a Springsteen song lies the town of Gimli, Manitoba. If any town can be said to…

Searching For New Iceland Part 1: Celebrating June 17 In Toronto

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Maybe it’s the friendliness of the bus driver, or perhaps just the scorching heat, but it’s pretty clear I’m not…

What Can The Recent British Elections Teach Us About Icelandic Politics?

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Two things of note happened in the United Kingdom on May 7. One of them, as you may have heard,…

Film Review: A Dark Horse With A Good Heart – ‘Fúsi’ (“Virgin Mountain”)

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Icelandic cinema seems to be doing rather well with upwards of twelve premieres expected this year. For those who worried…

Does the West Pass the Test? A Great New German Film Re-examines The Cold War In The Shadow Of Snowden

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The current spate of movies set in East Germany started as far back as 2003 with the comedy Good Bye,…

Dark Valley: A Sauerkraut Western Renounces Religion

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Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained was not the first German (or Austrian) to discover the Wild West. In the late…

A Legend Attempts Real Life: Handball Hero Ólafur Stefánsson Portrayed In New Doc

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One of the many, many things Icelanders like to brag about to foreigners are the merits of our handball teams….

Critics On A Plane And Other Tales of Mayhem and Murder: Wild Tales Is Great

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One of the leftovers of the smörgåsbord that was the Stockfish Film Festival is Wild Tales, still being screened at…

We Met The Men Responsible For The Grumpiest Finn

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Grumpy old men seem to be all the rage in the Nordics these days. The Swedes have their 100-year-old who…

Baby Steps To Freedom: Palestinian Filmmaker Najwa Najjar And The Power Of Cinema

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“These are the darkest times for Palestine and I think it may get worse.” Filmmaker Najwa Najjar, rather like her…

A Very Good Idea And A Little Luck: An Interview With Norwegian Director Bent Hamer

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Can Norwegians be funny? This question was first addressed in the 1968 film The Man Who Couldn’t Laugh, which actually…

Norway After Breivik: Eskil Vogt And His Movie Blind

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The Swedes and the Danes have usually taken turns winning the Nordic Council film awards, that is, until Iceland’s Benedikt…

It Only Takes A Little Discrimination To Make A Revolutionary

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Everyone dreams of making a movie that will change the world, but one of the few who actually has is…

Does the West Pass the Test? A Great New German Film Re-examines The Cold War In The Shadow Of Snowden

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The current spate of movies set in East Germany started as far back as 2003 with the comedy Good Bye,…

The Dogs D’Amour

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Whether by accident or design, each year’s French Film Festival seems to be arranged around a certain theme. In 2012,…

The Puffinisation Of A Country: Tourism Today

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When Grapevine started in 2003, we were in the midst of what at the time seemed like a considerable tourism…

Iceland On The Brain: 1200 Years Of Tourism

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Everyone knows that Ingólfur Arnarson (that chap with the spear thing on the hill overlooking the city centre) was Iceland’s…

The Liverpool Of The North

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According to legend, it was the proximity to the US base that made Keflavík the birthplace of Icelandic rock and…

Love In The Land Of The Midnight Sun

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It’s nearing four o‘clock and the boys at the bar are tearing their shirts off. Bare chests multiply on the…

Icelandic Punkers Grow Old Gracefully

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Punk rock faced the same problem everywhere. Whereas rock music grew up and became the soundtrack of Western capitalism, punkers…

Icelandic Rock and Roll in the Land of Lordi

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A little bit like Liverpool in the ’60s, Reykjavík is a small coastal town that managed to turn local music…

Why Is There No Dating In Iceland?

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“So how did you meet your boyfriend,” one of the girls asked. “At Prikið,” one answered. “At Vegamót,” another said….

1993: Last March Of The Supergroups

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The year 1993 might not seem like a pivotal time in popular music, but in retrospect, a lot of narratives…

Hollywood Dreams Come True

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Baltasar Kormákur just could be to Icelandic film what Björk is to Icelandic music. In the same way that Björk…