14 years after her last major effort, “Jargo“, Icelandic director María Sólrún returns to cinemas with “ADAM“. The film will be shown in Bíó Paradís until the end of the week. The screening on Tuesday April 17th at 17:00 will be followed by a masterclass by María and her son, Magnús Maríuson, who plays the main character in the film.
María Sólrún has been living in Berlin since the mid-80‘s, studying film theory, art history and political science before venturing into filmmaking. She worked as a screenwriter for two decades and during the last years also as a consultant at the Icelandic Film Centre. Her new film “ADAM” explores the themes of euthanasia and the unfair burdens that parents can inflict upon their children. “We bequeath all kinds of stuff to the next generation and often, growing up into a healthy person means getting rid of that load,” María Sólrún explains. “I guess I am saying, you have a choice whether you want to suffer because of your parents or not. You even have the responsibility to make that choice because you will otherwise pass on the unresolved emotional burden to your children.”
Based On A True Story
In the film, the hearing-impaired main character Adam is burdened with death-wish of his mother who is hospitalised with irreversible brain damage due to alcohol abuse.
His life gets furtherly complicated by falling in love and searching for his father. “The genesis of the story comes from my real life,” says the director. “My own mother got dementia early and sat for 14 years with a diaper in a wheelchair before she died. Many of my friends told me they would rather die than be exposed to a fate like that. Unfortunately, on several occasions, I have actually heard someone say ‘Please, kill me if that happens to me’. This led me to wonder what it would be like to feel obliged to take such a request seriously.”
A Family Film
In many ways, this film is a very special one. Both María Sólrún’s son and daughter played a big role in creating the film. “From the very start, the production has been very personal and very collaborative,” she says. “Having just finished acting school in Finland, my son Magnús suggested that we should make a short film together. I said I would prefer to try to make a feature. Soon, my daughter Liina Magnea and her boyfriend Haraldur Þrastarson joined in and started working on the music for the film.”
Doing Things Differently
Also, the approach of making the film was very different to the director’s previous works. Doing things differently became the main foundation of the film. “I was fed up with rewriting scripts after years of working as a screenwriter.
We decided to do things more experimentally this one time and without a script,” María Sólrún explains. “We approached the project more like documentary filmmakers. We started with a character and his problematic situation, followed by how he is dealing with that.” Being around two years in the making, one of the first versions of the film consisted of 90 minutes with only few, but very long shots. Another version had musical interludes commenting on the story. “After having fun with all of this we decided to be more humble and unobtrusive in the storytelling to give this vulnerable and gentle character, who Adam turned out to be, the space he and his story needed,” the director adds.
Do It Yourself
Bíó Paradís will be screening the film until Monday 23rd April. The screening on Tuesday, 17th April, will be followed by a masterclass by María Sólrún and her son, Magnús Maríuson, on how to make a feature film with a bank overdraft.
“The receptions have exceeded our expectations. People have been crying in the audience because of the content and love the simplicity of the film,” the director tells me. “Many people have reached out to us and told us how they have felt inspired to make their own film, finish a project, and work on something with their family.”
Tickets for the film screening and the masterclass can be found on tix.is.