Moviegoers And Fanatics Unite: It’s RIFF O’clock —

Moviegoers And Fanatics Unite: It’s RIFF O’clock

Published September 13, 2019

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RIFF returns for its sixteenth year and will be held from September 26th through October 6th. The festival offers an expansive program of screenings, Q&A sessions, screening in a swimming pool, a masterclass with legendary director Claire Denis, and more.
The official schedule will be released on September 16th. Get your tickets

It’s that time of year again! The Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) returns for its 16th year running, meaning that it’s showcase time for International and local filmmaking and storytelling at the festival’s main hub and Reykjavík’s finest art-house cinema Bíó Paradís.

RIFF continuously offers film-fanatics space to stumble upon and binge some of the year’s best films. The RIFF organizers spend the year travelling to film festivals creating the schedule, “We try to get the films that pick up the most excitement at the festivals, we also select from hundreds of applications ” shares Börkur Gunnars, one of RIFF’s team members. Noteworthy features include the 2019 Cannes prize Winner, “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon-ho and Cannes fan-favourites like “Lighthouse” by Daniel De Faux and “The Dead Don’t Die” by Jim Jarmusch, which has an all-star cast.

Börkur continues, “We also have many exciting documentaries like ‘Push’ (2019) by Fredrik Gertten, which follows the rental crisis in major cities,” Börkur continues., “The mayor of Copenhagen started making changes to their legislation after seeing that one. These films have tremendous effects around the world.”

“Then there’s ‘Cold Case Hammarskjöld’ (2019), in which the murder of the Secretary-General of the United-Nations is investigated. The investigators solve the crime after all these years.”

Elfar Aðalsteins’ latest—and first—feature film, “End of Sentence” (2019), will open the festival on September 26th, marking the film’s debut screening in Iceland. Elfar and Academy-Award nominee John Hawkes will attend the opening and hold an audience Q&A after the screening.

The Great Claire Denis

Every year RIFF highlights the works of an esteemed filmmaker and this year Börkur takes particular pride talking about the VIP “This year, French director Clare Denis is celebrated as RIFF’s guest of honour. She’s a French-hero.” RIFF will screen a retrospective of her work including, “High Light” (2018); “Let the Sunshine In” (2017); “Nénette and Boni” (1996) and “Chocolat“ (1988). Denis will also host a masterclass where the audience will have the chance to talk to her about what drives her, gain insight into her process and the making of her films.


If it were 15 degrees warmer you might be invited to an open-air cinema, but in-par with Iceland’s climate the screen moves into Sundhöllin, Reykjavík’s oldest public swimming pool. This year, Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi thriller “The Host” (2006) will be re-discovered and re-appreciated, if it gets too spooky you can always take breaks and go into the sauna. “Step into the deep waters of Horror. It will be terroRIFFic,” Ólafur Ásgeirsson, this year’s swim-in host, of the Swim-in says mischievously.

“These films have tremendous effects around the world.”

Speaking of spooks, the RIFF team is introducing the exciting new horror category, Arctic Chills, focusing on Nordic horror and thrillers. Including films like “Koko-di Koko-da” (2019) directed by award-winner Johannes Nyhold and classics of the genre like “Evil Ed” (1995).

Time to Wander

RIFF’s schedule is packed, you can and you should try to navigate its extensivity. While we recommend scouring the schedule and making a wish-list, These are to be marked on your schedules but you won’t be disappointed by just stumbling in and out of the screening rooms., as RIFF’s magic is to be found in wandering between unexpected worlds. (be so bold as to toss aside the schedule!)

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