From Iceland — Bjarnfreðarson



Published September 3, 2010

Georg Bjarnfreðarson is a fucked up, middle aged lunatic. And he’s in prison for murdering a woman. But, after Georg implements some “prisoner friendly” changes – mandatory daily fitness and the first smoke-free cell block in Scandinavia – guards and inmates form an unusual alliance to get Georg paroled. Starring Reykjavík’s esteemed mayor, Jón Gnarr, as the eponymous hero, “Bjarnfreðarson” tells the story of the child behind the man that no one likes. Young Georg was made to wear a girl’s coat to school, attend get-to-know-your-vagina sessions and listen to his mum shitting in the bathroom, which is missing a door. Thanks to Freud, we know that where there’s a screwed up male character there’s a mother to blame. And, yeah, in this case there really is! Trying to make life better for everyone and everybody hating him for that, the struggle of Georg continues. Out of jail, in the real world again, Georg finds himself living with two former acquaintances: lethargic family man Daníel and lady killer Ólafur. This odd trio, rounded out by Pétur Jóhann Sigfússon and Jörundur Ragnarsson, appeared together in a series of TV-shows previously. Watching Næturvaktin (Night Shift), Dagvaktin (Day Shift) and Fangavaktin (Prison Shift), Icelanders came to love Georg Bjarnfreðarson and his sidekicks. The result is 20% of the Icelandic population seeing the Ragnar Bragason directed “Bjarnfreðarson”, in cinemas. The DVD, released in May of this year, offers English subtitles, so now everyone can get a taste of Icelandic humour. Focusing on situational humour, “Bjarnfreðarson” is clearly a comedy show spinoff. The characters do experience a personal development, but they don’t develop beyond being clichés: the hippie with the goatee, the wannabe cool-guy in buffalo-boots and the shy guy stuttering. This movie isn’t the best movie ever made, but that’s not what to expect. The humour balanced between melancholically subtle and directly brute, this film does what a good comedy does: it gives you a real good time, but leaves you with bitter taste in your mouth. And don’t forget that there’s one added bonus: you are going to see Reykjavík’s mayor completely naked. 

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