A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.
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The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

Published June 11, 2004

Although originally from Germany, director Roland Emmerich has long made a point of being more American than the Americans. Here, at least, he is a different kind of American. Whereas Independence Day and Godzilla´s apparent message was: Increase military spending, otherwise we´ll be attacked by space aliens and large firebreathing dragons, and The Patriot´s more simple statement was: Kill the English; here, we get “stop global warming.” This, then, is perhaps the first environmentalist action film since Steven Seagal´s On Deadly Ground, where he would beat up evil oil men before giving them lectures on environmental safety. Now, if only someone would take that approach to the Bush administration…
The adversary here, though, isn´t the bad guys. True, there is a vice president (who looks like Dick Cheney on a diet) that doesn´t seem to care about global warming, but even he repents before the end rather than being pickaxed by Dennis Quaid. And the good guys aren’t bullet-and-one-liner spewing muscle men. In fact, they seem verging on the pinko and the liberal. There are divorcées, intellectuals and even atheists (who still appreciate the cultural value of God) who prevail by their wits rather than by gunning down bad guys. Although the major message of the film is the environmental one, others creep in. Drop the debt. Be nice to the third world, we might need them someday. Snacks and sweets are not very nutritious. And, although it may be okay to burn books to keep alive, there are other uses for books. They even help you cure diseases. Is all this something we want our children to hear?
So even if characterisation is poor and the plot mostly nonsensical, it´s a relief to finally be able to enjoy a major Hollywood blockbuster guilt free, without feeling that you´re supporting American militarism. And any film that portrays the weather as the enemy is bound to strike a chord with people living in Iceland.



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RIFF 2014: Critic’s Picks

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‘Art and Craft’ dirs. Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker Mark Landis, one of the more prolific art forgers in American history, shopped for arts and crafts supplies at Hobby Lobby; painted, stained and varnished over photocopies from auction catalogues; and donated copies of the same works to multiple museums. While observing the ease with which the suggestion of largesse will open art-world doors, the film is less a meditation on creativity and originality than a sympathetic character portrait. Landis, a diagnosed schizophrenic often seen hunching over TV dinners in front of reruns, with few anchors in the world

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Meet The Directors!

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The Reykjavík International Film Festival (en.riff.is) runs through October 5, at Bíó Paradís, Háskólabíó, and elsewhere. The program encompasses features, documentaries, and short films by more than 100 directors–a handful of whom generously answered our questionnaire prior to bringing their films to Iceland. Heike Fink – ‘Home in the Ice’ This documentary tells the stories of German women who, during the lean years after WWII, responded to newspaper ads soliciting women to come work on Icelandic farms. Is there any specific aspect of the film you’re especially looking forward to sharing with an Icelandic audience? It was very interesting seeing the

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The American Indie Filmmaker’s Guide to Iceland

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The old man is describing how impressed he was with Geyser. “A cum shot to the sky,” he says, in his throaty good-old-boy accent. “Like the Devil’s exploding.” In ‘Land Ho!’, which opens the eleventh annual Reykjavík International Film Festival on September 25, Iceland is the backdrop for unlikely couplings. The film is codirected by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, two American filmmakers known for ambling, engaging indies featuring plenty of regional specificity, low-key drama, and off-kilter performers. In the film, ex-brothers-in-law Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson, the above-quoted) and Colin (Paul Eenhorn) take a trip to Iceland to “get their

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Who is Alice Olivia Clarke?

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Aside from the leads, most of the actors in ‘Land Ho!’  are either Icelanders in service jobs, or people associated with the production. Alice Olivia Clarke, who appears in a crucial late scene, is neither. Canadian-born, Alice Olivia has lived in Iceland for over 20 years, and in addition to acting (you maybe saw her in Dagur Kári’s ‘The Good Heart’, she works in Hafnarfjörður as a mosaic artist and designer. We discussed her experience with the film over email. You play a visitor to Iceland. How was it getting into that mindset? Did you think about Iceland in a

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Capturing Biophilia

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Way back in June 2011, English film editor Nick Fenton was one of the lucky few sitting in the crowd at the Manchester International Festival waiting to experience the live premiere of Björk’s epic Biophilia project. David Attenborough’s voice came over the speakers, the screens lit up, and the lights went down, and for the first time an audience was transported into the magical world of Biophilia: from the young and excited girl-choir to the specially constructed stage and dramatic new instruments, the dizzying array of nature footage, the firing Tesla coil and, of course, the grand dame herself, bobbing

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Remembrance and Re-Remembrance

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Following the astounding success of their last collaboration, “Dansaðu fyrir mig,” (‘Dance for Me’), collaborators (and fiances) Pétur Ármannsson and Brogan Davison have used their new show “Petra” to reapproach some of the former show’s more fertile topics—artistic creation and family—while also dipping into the more complicated aspects of memory, autobiography, and storytelling. Debuting as part of the Lókal international theater festival, “Petra” is ostensibly a glimpse into the life of Pétur’s great grandmother, Petra Sveinsdóttir, whose semi-obsessive passion for collecting lead her to amass thousands of stones in and around her home in Stöðvarfjörður, East Iceland. (Petra decided to turn her

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