Iceland used to be a place that celebrated the Hollywood blockbuster—eager movie fans here even shelled out to see Catwoman and, dare I say it, Alexander. But the scars inflected by such movies, and the pure drivel of the 2005 season, have hardened the local movie-goer. The consequences aren’t as bad as you might think: we now have two movie festivals, and, starting in August 2005, Iceland has a hearty matinee culture.
The first of the movie festivals starts this September. The younger of the local festivals, the Reykjavík International Film Festival offers alternative and aggressive festival fare, with a particular focus on human rights. Attracting the most international attention will be a screening of the Canadian film What Remains of Us, a film censored by the Chinese government, with only three copies in existence.
If you want to see mainstream cinema: the matinees are only a weekend thing as of yet, but you can see most recent releases on weekends for half price at around 2 or 3, depending on the theatre. It’s best to get there a little early, as, while locals won’t line up to see Skeleton Key, they will line up around the block to get 400 ISK off.
The Reykjavík International Film Festival runs from September 29 to October 9.
For more information, log on to www.filmfest.is or www.kvikmyndir.is.