From Iceland — Selection of Old Masterpieces

Selection of Old Masterpieces

Selection of Old Masterpieces

Published November 3, 2006

After two film festivals in quick succession, the discerning film fan can find the rest of the cinematic year offers slim pickings. But the little-known Kvikmyndasafn Íslands (the National Film Archive of Iceland) in Hafnarfjörður comes to the rescue, with its rep programme, which runs from September to April. I say little known because attendances struggle to hit double figures.
Like Tjarnarbíó, the cinema itself feels like a cinema ought to, rather than the characterless if comfy boxes elsewhere. And the price is just 500 ISK, well worth paying to see an oldie the way it was meant to be seen, on the big screen.
Sadly it shows only one film twice a week but its selections are eclectic to say the least. As this is an English-language paper, I’ll leave out the films by Tarkovsky, Truffaut and Fellini and give a rundown of the English language flicks showing before the end of the year.
Comedy of Terrors (7th & 11th November) is a feast for fans of tongue-in-cheek, gothic horror. The film’s pedigree is impeccable. It’s directed by Jacques Tourneur who made the classic I Walked With a Zombie and Night of the Demon. The script is by Richard Matheson who wrote I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man. And as for the cast… Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone. What more could any horror fan want? It’s a shame it isn’t programmed for a week earlier as it would make the perfect Halloween treat. Oh and the plot concerns undertakers Price and Lorre indulging in murder to drum up business, but that hardly matters.
Cross of Iron (21st & 25th November) is one of Sam Peckinpah’s strongest and most respected films. It’s set on the Russian front during the Second World War and it tackles big themes: honour, loyalty and the senseless atrocity of war. Thirty years haven’t dimmed its power. Peckinpah was a true tyro director who mixed in real character development with slow motion hails of bullets in films like The Wild Bunch and The Getaway. James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner make a genuinely heavyweight cast too.
In Joseph Losey’s Eva (8th November and 2nd December) Stanley Baker’s Welsh writer travels to Venice where he falls into the clutches of an exotic foreign woman played by Jeanne Moreau (British films of this era sometimes showed a strange fascination and perhaps fear of licentious foreign women – Simone Sigornet in Room at the Top, Eva Bartok in Spaceways). The undoubtedly talented Losey, blacklisted in Hollywood, was seldom afraid to push his films in slightly deranged directions (The Servant, for example), so if a melodramatic, pot-boiler is your cup of tea…
Films are shown on Thursday evenings at 20:00 and on Saturday afternoons at 16:00.
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