Baltasar Kormákur Making Movie About The Basque Massacre In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Baltasar Kormákur Making Movie About The Basque Massacre In Iceland

Published September 20, 2016

Photos by
Christian Schulze

The renowned Icelandic director is turning his attention to a dark and gruesome chapter in Icelandic history: the massacre of some 32 Basque whalers in early 17th century Iceland.

Variety reports that Baltasar’s outfit, RVK Studios, will team up with “Basque producer Eduardo Carneros CEO of Euskadi Movie AIE, who originated the project, and Madrid-based Tornasol Films” for the making of the film, titled “Red Fjords”. As Variety explains:

“Red Fjords … chronicles the adventures of Ishmael, a young hunter who buries his wife and his son and enlists in a Basque whaler that sets sail for Iceland which is ravaged by famine. Although a law forbids trading with foreigners, a local chief sells whale fat to the Basques but a storm sinks their galleon. Suddenly, still in Iceland, they represent an incriminating threat for the local lord.”

If the plot sounds familiar, it should. In 1615, Basque whalers ran aground in Strandir, in the far northern reaches of the Westfjords. They were not exactly warmly welcomed. The Westfjords sheriff at the time, Ari Magnússon, declared that any Basque people found in the Westfjords could be legally killed on the spot. 32 sailors were killed in all, with murders extending over a wide swath of the Westfjords.

In fact, the “open season” murder free-for-all was not officially rescinded until last year, although no Basques were murdered in Iceland in the intervening time.

Red Fjords is tentatively set to hit select screens some time next year.


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