The tenth annual Reykjavík International Film Festival runs from September 26 to October 6. Check riff.is for a full programme, and don’t forget to pick up the September 27 issue of the Grapevine for a full preview, with reviews and interviews. In the meantime, you might want to consider freeing up your schedule…
Local audiences get early peeks at notable films making an Icelandic stopover during their run through the international arthouse festival circuit. Among those taking the metaphorical cinematic Flybus to the Blue Lagoon: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ a vampire film starring Tilda Swinton is the latest by longtime RIFF favourite/hipster Jim Jarmusch; ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’ an emotionally and sexually realist coming-of-age coming-out drama which won top honours at Cannes. Other titles will be fresh off buzz-building appearances in Toronto.
Guests Of Honour
Three noteworthy auteurs are scheduled to appear at RIFF alongside their latest films, plus two hits apiece from their back catalogues. Swedish director Lukas Moodysson will show his new teen punk story, ‘We Are The Best!’; France’s Laurent Cantet brings his US-set girl-gang story ‘Foxfire’; and American neoclassicist James Gray screens his period drama ‘The Immigrant’ (starring Marion Cotillard, speaking apparently flawless Polish).
While these bigshots are celebrated, emerging filmmakers will vie for the coveted Golden Puffin. The ten fiction films in competition hail from nine different countries. Notable amongst them is Abdellah Taia’s ‘Salvation Army,’ the first Arab film to feature a gay protagonist.
Documentaries always comprise a large element of the film slate. This year’s selection of brain-filling nonfiction cinema includes, but is by no means limited to, sociopolitical reportage on life during wartime (‘My Afghanistan: Life in the Forbidden Zone’) and the hidden costs of aluminium (‘The Age of Aluminum’), as well as chronicles of indie rockers on tour (The National in ‘Mistaken for Strangers’), and essays on the politics of cinema (Slavoj Zizek in ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology’).
RIFF’s showcase of native films includes Gu›mundur Arnar Gu›mundsson’s short ‘Whale Valley,’ which received a special citation at Cannes this May. It’s about two brothers in the titular area north of Reykjavík, living through unexpected personal upheaval.
RIFF continues its tradition of unconventional, very Icelandic locations for special screenings. On September 28, the annual “Swim-In Cinema” will spotlight a “family-friendly classic” at Laugardalslaug’s indoor pool; October 2 marks the return of “Cave-In Cinema,” a cave tour outside Reykjavík with a film screening on-site (filmgoers are advised to dress warmly). And on September 29, the Icelandic director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson will welcome guests into his incredible junk-sculpture “Recycle House,” between Sæbraut and the water, for a viewing of his controversial 1980 film The Father’s Estate.