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Dead Girls in the Snow

Dead Girls in the Snow

Published September 28, 2009

Every film festival has one semi-pornographic film to generate debate. Last year it was Short Bus, this year it’s Lars von Trier’s Antichrist that gets the job done. Trier seems, like his compatriot Lukas Moodyson, to believe that the filmmaker’s task is to make his audience as uncomfortable as possible. This he succeeds in, admirably. But what is the point? For a while, it seems to be posing an interesting question. Satanists tend to believe that Satan is a metaphor for nature and hence good. But what if nature is, in fact, truly Satanic? Instead of dealing with this question, we get an orgy of genital mutilation which quickly becomes tiresome. Skip the movie, go look at the stills in the Reykjavík Art Museum instead.
At the other end of the spectrum is Patrik 1.5, as much of a feelgood movie as they come. A gay couple adopts a teenage problem child. It is enjoyable to watch, compare and contrast with similar scenes from TV show Six Feet Under.
It used to be that documentaries critiquing capitalism were only shown at underground gatherings where you would look both ways before entering. It says a lot about the changing mood of our times that they have now become a staple at film festivals. Food Inc, which includes Eric Schlosser, the man who gave us Fast Food Nation, is a decent stab at the meat industry. Really, why is a hamburger, which costs a lot to make, cheaper than a bag of carrots? Why do we subsidise junk food but not vegetables?
Another documentary that does a good job of enlightening the viewer on some of the issues of the day is Defamation, about how anti-Semitism is being used in Israel. The scenes of the students travelling to Auschwitz in a closed bus say more than many a news story about the problems in the Middle East. “I want to learn to have that look in my eye, which says ‘Never Forgive,’” says one of the children.
Being a Finnish drunk seems to be a pleasant prospect. Mika Kaurismäki steps out of big brother Aki’s shadow for Three Wise Men. The film takes place among three drunk men at a karaoke bar on Christmas Eve, all sharing their hard luck stories. It doesn’t come to much more than a mildly interesting evening at the bar, but at least you skip the hangover.
One of the festival’s more interesting experiences was the Norwegian art film Dead Snow, which poses the question: “What would happen if a group of teenagers ran into a group of Nazi zombies while hiking?” The film answers this question in considerable detail. Being able to see it in a swimming pool (one of the fest’s gimmicks) was fun, even if the sound was a bit off.
Storm is one of this festival’s pleasant surprises. One just doesn’t see enough of films about European bureaucrats who all speak English with various strange accents. In fact, it is a gripping story about a lawyer who tries to get a Serbian War Criminal convicted in spite of corruption and politics on her side. Perhaps they’ll soon make a similar movie about Eva Joly.
Franceska, however, is one of this year’s disappointments, despite having offended Alexandra Mussolini. A film about Romanian immigrants in Italy is promising. Sadly, they never get there and it is hard to feel sympathetic for people who seem to have no idea what they are doing.
Deadgirl was this year’s Midnight movie. It is an interesting take on the vampire myth, and a juxtaposition of the Twilight series. A group of teenagers find a living dead girl and decide to use her as a sex slave. The film probably says more about the strict caste system in American sexuality than it intends, and is in any case more realistic than Revenge of the Nerds.



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Movies & Theatre
The Attack Of Comic Realism

The Attack Of Comic Realism

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Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s second feature film, ‘París Norðursins’, or ‘Paris of the North’, revolves around a 37-year-old man, disoriented, as it seems, after a breakup, and his relations to various people, not least of all his chaos-factory of a father. While the son fled his hardships into a small town on the countryside, the father seems to have fled all over the place—last stop: Thailand. The father comes for a visit just at the start of the son’s summer vacation, boozes, and flirts with a woman the son had intermittently been involved with. The male animal The film touches on

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Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

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My brother is a fourteen-carat, stone cold wanker. At age twelve he spoke fluent French, at fourteen he was the fastest 100-metre runner in Ireland for his age, at eighteen, he captained our school choir and won a scholarship to university for academic excellence, by nineteen he spoke fluent mandarin. My name’s Tom and I’m his older brother. Yesterday I started putting raisins into my porridge. Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients that can improve your ability to see in the dark, and in Iceland around this time of year I reckon that it’s a shrewd bit of thinking. But society wouldn’t notice.

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Movies & Theatre
Across the Isle With A Smile

Across the Isle With A Smile

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In true Icelandic fashion, the night’s festivities got off to a late start. Not that anyone minded. As such, there was an air of casualness and joviality that permeated the night—making it the perfect vibe to launch the Reykjavík Comedy Festival. English comedian Sean McLoughlin  MC’d the night, and performed his routine in between acts. His shtick was your typical dark-humoured, down ‘n’ out twentysomething, which proved a hit with the audience. Especially funny were his gags about his 36-year-old girlfriend, who he said was “a constant reminder that the good times end.” Seasoned performer Joel Dommett (y’all may remember

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Movies & Theatre
On Thick Ice With Kitty Von-Sometime

On Thick Ice With Kitty Von-Sometime

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Artist Kitty Von-Sometime and a crew, including a friend brought along to monitor Kitty’s temperature in the cold, watched uncomfortably as their trailer full of film equipment, an ice sculpture, soda, and other potentially hazardous refreshments bounced in and out of sight in the rearview window as they approached Langjökull glacier. They were on their way to shoot ‘Opus,’ more than a year after Kitty produced her last installment of the Weird Girls Project. Originally conceived to encourage her female friends to push their boundaries, The Weird Girls Project began as a one-time event: the participants showed up with costumes

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RIFF 2014: Critic’s Picks

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!

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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