From Iceland — Top 8 Movies

Top 8 Movies

Top 8 Movies

Published July 9, 2004

Undoubtedly the most entertaining Icelandic movie ever made and the first movie I paid twice to go to see. It was made by people who were determined to entertain the audience and they were having tremendous fun doing it. It is filled with such joi de vivre and fluent sense of humor that even the headstrongest fýlupúkar are bound to lighten up.
Með allt á hreinu brought a fresh and powerful feel into the Icelandic film environment, although it wasn´t much of an environment at the time. At least we the teenagers thought Icelandic films were quite lame and boring with bad acting and terrible sound. I think few musicals have such a high number of hit songs as this one does. Almost all the songs of the film went straight to that place in your head where songs that will not be forgotten go to. And every single scene of the film is memorable. It is hard not to admire the big thinking. I´m not sure any film producer today would approve to sending two pop bands and Eggert Þorleifsson and no script on a tour around Iceland. Oh, and we mustn´t forget to thank this movie for making an actor out of Eggert Þorleifsson.
1. On Top (Með allt á hreinu) by Ágúst Guðmundsson (1982).
2. Regina (Regína) by María Sigurðardóttur (2001). Of course it would have been in my nature to put my own offspring in first place on the list but I decided to show a little bit of modesty. It is, on the other hand, maybe not so illogical to put Regina second after Með allt á hreinu because it is not unlikely that my obsession to bring that song-crazed girl into the world can in some way be traced back to the impact MAÁH had on me back in the old days.
3. Dot Dot Comma Dash (Punktur, punktur, komma strik) by Þorsteinn Jónsson (1980). I was 12 years old when this film was made and because my father was one of the producers I could be around and watch the preparation and shooting. That´s probably where it all started, when I became interested in film making.
4. Rainbow´s End (Á hjara veraldar) by Kristín Jóhannesdóttur (1983). When Rainbow´s End was released I was passionately into European films and this film was in harmony with that. I found it deliciously weird and beautiful and it spoke strongly to me even though I didn´t really understand it.
5. Rock in Reykjavik (Rokk í Reykjavík) by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (1982). It felt like Rock in Reykjavik was sent from heaven to give you the message that you actually had a chance in this world. What a treasure!
6. Pigen Gogo, aka Taxi (79 af stöðinni) by Erik Balling (1962).I don´t know what it is with this film. Maybe it is my weakness for black and white movies with creaking sound, but more likely it is the delight of watching Kristbjörg Keld who is so strikingly beautiful that you instantly forget that you have ever set eyes on Ava Gardner.
7. The Icelandic Dream (Íslenski draumurinn) by Róbert I. Douglas (2000).When I saw The Icelandic Dream I remembered how much fun it can be to go to the movies. This is one of the funnier pictures I´ve seen and it´s a relief to finally get this relaxed atmosphere into acting and dialogue, which is one of the major complaints you can have about Icelandic filmmaking, even though it is getting much better.
8. Magnus (Magnús) by Þráinn Bertelsson (1989). Þráinn Bertelsson manages in Magnus to procure a very balanced atmosphere that it is difficult to master. It is both light and funny and bittersweet and human.

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