Published March 16, 2017
Ísold Uggadóttir is a scriptwriter and director who’s putting the finishing touches on her first feature film, ‘Andið eðlilega’ (‘Breathe Normally’). Ísold has a masters degree in directing from Columbia University in New York, where she lived and worked for a decade. Her critically acclaimed short films have been screened at festivals across the world.
A sense of humanity and authenticity is a quality shared by all of the films below. Many tackle class and social status, while others depict characters of the more vulnerable and sensitive type. All of these films convey true cinematic experiences with layered and unique characters at the forefront.
Authentic and charming, ‘Virgin Mountain’ offers nuanced and delicate performances that remain with you long after the screen has gone dark. Gunnar Jónsson as Fúsi is a mountain of discovery, in Dagur Kári’s best and most mature film to date.
2. Börn / Foreldrar
Black and white, gritty and effective, Ragnar Bragason’s “twin” films, ‘Children’ and ‘Parents’ paint a bleak picture of life in Reykjavik. Intertwining stories of misguided individuals feel layered and authentic.
3. Nói Albinói
‘Nói Albinói’, poetic, engaging, and visually exciting, was a critical hit when it came out in 2003. With its wry humor and original characters, this first feature by Dagur Kári remains one of Iceland’s most interesting films.
4. Ungfrúin góða og húsið
Based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner, Halldór Laxness, ‘Honor Of The House’ is perhaps Gudny Halldorsdottir’s best film yet. Perfectly cast and visually stunning, this film tackles topics such as class, honour and social status in Iceland’s early 1900s.
Árni Óli Ásgeirsson ‘Thicker Than Blood’” is underappreciated in Iceland, but deserves much praise for its skillfully nuanced performances, a delicate script, and scenes artfully photographed. A husband discovers he is not the father of his son, resulting in a fair amount of personal turmoil.
Winner of Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2015, the tragi-comedy ‘Rams’ is a delightful story of two brothers sharing farming land, but unable to speak to one another—until drawn together in their darkest hour, by their mutual love for sheep.
7. Svo á jörðu sem á himni
Kristin Johannesdóttir’s artistically courageous ‘As in Heaven’ screened out of competition at Cannes in 1992. Taking place in a remote Icelandic fishing village in the 1930s, Kristin’s film depicts a young girl’s vivid imagination and sense of clairvoyance, bringing her back to events of the 14th century.
8. Börn Náttúrunnar
‘Children of Nature’, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s lyrical Academy Award nominee about death and nostalgia, is a magical journey. An elderly couple takes off from their elderly home, taking destiny into their own hands.