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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Short-Circuit to Idiocy

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Icelandic artist Snorri Ásmundsson recently distributed a video on YouTube, that has since been publicized through most Icelandic-speaking news media. In the video, Snorri sings the Israeli national hymn, Hatikvah, in Hebrew. It seems objectively safe to say that the artist sings it badly: the unimpressive singing seems to be a deliberate part of the piece. The music was arranged and produced by Futuregrapher, while Marteinn Þórsson handled cinematography and editing. All that work is professional enough to be uninteresting compared with the video’s content. Ingredients The video starts with a close-up of a woman wearing a hijab or a

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A Constant Chorus Of Little Fuck Yous

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It’s fairly safe to assume that C-O-N-T-I-N-U-A-T-I-O-N, Peter Liversidge’s exhibition at i8, will only be comprised of a portion of what the artist originally intended to showcase. This is due to the introduction of an unwilling collaborator, namely the postal service. In fact, according to the artist, he’s only had about 70% success rate on his postal pieces. Said postal pieces are a collection of objects Peter sends individually via post to their intended destination, and whilst a 70% success rate is quite miserable, it’s entirely likely that the Icelandic postal service will be even less enthusiastic about this collaboration.

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Blue Sky Thinking

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Deciding on a finale for a festival whose theme is ‘art as a living process’ must have been something of a challenge. What could be a fitting work that’s at once suitably celebratory and attention-grabbing, and yet ephemeral, temporary or open-ended?  Enter young Icelandic artist Ragnheiður Harpa Leifsdóttir, whose practise fortuitously engages with all of these aspects at once. Her 2012 installation “Together We Are Nobody,” a collaboration with fellow artist Ragnheiður Maísól at Kaffistofan, used confetti, paper crowns and childhood toys to evoke a feeling of shared experience, remembrance and celebration. An ambitious theatrical piece entitled “The Void: A

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A Bunch Of Great People Doing Great Stuff

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Guðrún Lilja Gunnlaugsdóttir In Your Hands: three-dimensional creation and technique The theme of this year’s Reykjavik Arts Festival is “Not Finished”, referring to the continual nature of the artistic process. That said, how do you know when a work is finished? Work is a continuous circle. You can always make improvements, add knowledge, or ask more questions. You might decide to end a project for some reason but that doesnít mean it is finished. Can you describe your project/exhibition/performance in seven words or less? Creative minds, visual process, uncertain outcome. (Or: A bunch of great people doing stuff). Are there

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Not Finished

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Nestled between two fancy restaurants on Lækjargata is an impressive white house that overlooks the town pond, with a castellated tower called “Gimli.” It´s oddly discreet for such a grand building, semi-obscured by trees, and marked only with a small silver plaque. But it´s not another upmarket eatery – its the warren of white-cube offices that house the Reykjavík Arts Festival Team. The festival director Hanna Styrmisdóttir arrives at just the same time as I do, smiling and offering a whistle-stop tour of the building’s rooms and hallways, many of which are adorned with photographs of performances that have taken

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Not For The Faint-Hearted

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While conformity isn’t what typically comes to mind when thinking of contemporary Icelandic designers, Akureyri’s Jónborg Sigurðardóttir took unconventional to another level, once again, with Flóðbylgja (`Tsunami’), her latest art installation that was displayed at Ketilhúsið from March 1 through April 6. Flóðbylgja is a reflection on over-consumption and our object-glorifying society. Intrigued by the exhibition’s promotional self-portrait (which she entitled `Jonna Crowned With Trash,’ for the sake of this interview), I got in touch with Jónborg and luckily she was passing through Reykjavík and could answer some of my questions. A Thoughtful Maverick “Everybody knows who I am in

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