Your Post-Collapse Guide to the Movies

Published September 18, 2009

It is a sad fact of life that outside the glorious ten days of the Reykjavík International Film Festival, almost everything being served in the cinemas here is standard Hollywood fare. So, being forced to choose between shit and dirt, let us rummage through the droppings in search of nutrition.
Drag Me to Hell is a horror film set in an investment bank. No, not actually a zombie film, we have to wait until the film festival’s wonderful Nazi flick Död Snö for that. DMTH starts out as homage to rampant capitalism. A pretty young girl turns an elderly woman out of her home in hope of promotion. This is the setting for a series of fight scenes between young and old, beautiful and ugly, rich and poor, where we are supposed to root for the former in every case. The movie redeems itself by a last minute twist. A barely passable horror flick, but it is interesting to see how the banking collapse is infiltrating popular culture.
Although lacking Nazi zombies, Inglorious Basterds has just about everything else. One might be forgiven for coming to a Tarantino film set in the Second World War with certain preconceived notions. And we do get a more up-to-date Dirty Dozen, with scalping and a figure called “The Bear Jew” who likes to execute POW’s with a baseball bat. This is the film that we expect, but it is just Tarantino toying with us. For as the movie moves on, one can’t be sure of anything anymore. Almost every WWII movie cliché is exploded. The Brits Plot to kill Hitler is reneged to sub-plot and summarily taken care of. The far-fetched plan of getting into the building using a ruse is met with laughter from the Nazis who are not taken in. And then there is the glorious alternate history ending. Everywhere, Tarantino’s love of cinema shines through in a Hollywood movie that is surprisingly non-Hollywood, and, dare we say it, at times European.
For those who like their Hollywood straight up, with lots of explosions and little plot, GI Joe should get the job done. When all else fails, they just muddle through. Less visually impressive than Transformers, one is left with the nagging feeling that Hollywood peaked with the original Star Wars trilogy and has been remaking it ever since.
The Time-Traveller’s Wife is, at least, an interesting idea. Using a sci-fi notion as the basis for a love story is promising, but its possibilities are left largely unexplored. The idea of competing with yourself at various ages is particularly intriguing for a writer. The heroine cheats on her hubby with a younger him, but this is as profound is it gets. Nevertheless, a superior chick-flick that it inevitably inferior to the book.
One could do worse on a Sunday afternoon than Ice Age 3. Adding dinosaurs to the mix, while offending to palaeontology, promises to be pleasing to the eye. One the whole, though, we wind up with something that is more a cartoon version of Jurassic Park 3 than anything else. If that is good or bad is up to your tastes, but original it is not.
Not all is gloom, however, as RWWM is the first in a slew of Icelandic films to be released before the end of the year. Until then.



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Go PONG Harpa Now!

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Ever wanted to play arcade classic ‘Pong’ on the massive Harpa facade? Great, because until August 31st you can–so long as you have a smartphone. PONG is an interactive multimedia art piece by Atli Bollason and Owen Hindley. If you go to Arnarhóll (the grassy hill overlooking Harpa with a statue of Iceland’s founding father Ingólfur Arnarson at the top) you can log on to a special wireless network, join a queue and then take control of either pong-paddle by tilting your mobile device. The game itself is then rendered in real time on Harpa’s facade using the 714 LED

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When Dreams Become Realities

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In early 2012, 49-year-old Ármann Einarsson, a music school principal with a potbelly that he frequently, fondly, pats, sent a Facebook message to Brogan Davison, his son Pétur’s girlfriend, who is also a choreographer and dancer. “It said, ‘Hæ, Hæ: This is a formal request,” recalls Pétur, himself a theater artist and director. Having nursed a life-long dream to dance on stage, Ármann asked Brogan if she would be willing to help him achieve this goal. “I’d been thinking about dancing for so many years,” he says. “When I was sixteen years old, I loved going and dancing at balls.

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Everything Under The Little Sun

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Internationally renowned artist Ólafur Elíasson has always been a fan of a spectacle. Whether he’s pumping tens of thousands of litres of water out of New York’s East River to form waterfalls, painting the rivers of Japan fluorescent green, or designing the façade of Reykjavík’s own concert hall Harpa, his art has always been imbued with a sense of extravagance. It may therefore come as a surprise that his newest venture is a relatively unassuming solar-powered lamp that measures roughly five inches across. Little Sun is the name he and his design partner—and the company’s co-founder—Frederik Ottesen gave the yellow

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A Steady Heartbeat

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The Reykjavík Dance Festival is no stranger to flexibility and experimentation. Founded in 2002, the festival has provided Icelandic and international choreographers an unparalleled platform to showcase their work to an audience that may not have exposure to the world of contemporary dance. In 2012, when the festival turned ten, the coordinating board decided to shake things up and began inviting guest directors to curate the future iterations of the festival. With different curators asking different questions, the festival’s flavour has been distinct each year. This year’s curators and joint directors, Ásgerður Gunnarsdóttir and Alexander Roberts have lofty, daring plans

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The Creator Of Hangman’s Darker Relatives

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Hugleikur Dagsson, the controversial cartoonist famous for his satirical comic strips which often depict stick figures in violent situations involving murder, rape, religion, cannibalism, incest and suicide, enjoys huge popularity in Iceland, as well as an international cult following. Apart from his comic strips, he has also published multiple books, written a couple of stage plays, produced his own television show and done some stand-up comedy. It may be hard to believe, but Hugleikur’s success came almost by accident. As he tells it, he was participating in an art show in Seyðisfjörður during the summer between his second and third

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Poet Tattoos Demand That Minister Resigns

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Poet Bragi Páll Sigurðarson just disclosed his new tattoo. It is situated on his right thigh, just above the knee. Unlike most tattoos, this one is written in Times New Roman. One sentence, split in two lines, it reads: “Hanna Birna, segðu af þér.” That is: “Hanna Birna, resign.” Standard punctuation. The direct message is as clear-cut as the typography. The demand, of course, refers to the scandal surrounding Iceland’s Interior Minister in recent months, which has been duly covered in this paper. I caught Bragi Páll on Facebook to ask him some questions. Well, before

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