From Iceland — Iceland's Film History Traced In New TV Series

Iceland’s Film History Traced In New TV Series

Published March 11, 2021

Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

“Iceland: bíóland” is a new TV series starting on Sunday that explores the history of Icelandic cinema since the beginning of the 20th century.

The show’s director, screenwriter and narrator, Ásgrímur Sverrisson, spoke with RÚV about the show and what it will entail.

“There are ten episodes, where each episode covers a specific period,” says Ásgrímur. “We begin in the early 20th century, when the oldest surviving films were made. Then we just trace the story, the content and the focus, so a picture of Icelandic film history gradually emerges. The common thread is perhaps first and foremost that people go into this over and over again knowing that this is not possible but still do it.”

A long time coming.

The show itself has been in production for over five years and around 130 people were interviewed.

The director told the news agency: “It turned out to be quite an issue to provide good copies of many of these pictures, especially the older ones. The Film Museum came in strong in the final sprint, because they had to re-scan a lot of material. ”

Seeing all the films together puts them in a new context.

Ásgrímur said that viewing all of the films together shows that Icelandic films tend to have shared similarities.

“You see new threads that are prominent in Icelandic films such as the emphasis on co-operative characters and controlling characters,” he said. “Then there are many pictures that deal with the shadows of the past that the characters are dealing with in the present. In other respects, it is incredibly diverse but Icelandic filmmaking is always expanding and becoming more and more diverse. ”

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!