Six decades of Icelandic cinema on show at NY’s Lincoln Center
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
26/03/2012 - With a population of 319,575 – the size of a Parisian suburb - Iceland is a film nation: with a per capita attendance of 4.75, the Icelanders are the world’s most frequent cinema-goers; the local film industry produces up to 14 full-length films annually and, through a programme of incentives to attract international projects, the island has lent locations to such productions as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Die Another Day, Flags of Our Fathers and Stardust.
Now, the so-far largest Icelandic showcase abroad is under way at the Lincoln Center in New York, which will screen six decades of Icelandic cinema between April 18-26, selected by US critic, film professor and festival director Richard Peña, spanning from the first Icelandic talkie - Loftur Gudmundsson’s Between Mountain and Shore (1949) - to last year’s productions.
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s drama-comedy, Either Way (pictured - 2011), about two road workers spending the whole summer all on their own painting lines on Iceland’s winding roads stretching into the horizon, will open the programme. The film recently won three Eddas, the country’s national film prize.
The selection comprises Ágúst Gudmundsson’s Land and Sons (1978) – considered Iceland’s first feature of modern times – and three films by Oscar-nominated Fridrik Thór Fridriksson (Rock in Reykjavík (1982), White Whales (1987), Angels of the Universe (2000). There will also be Noi the Albino (2003) directed by Dagur Kári, Jar City [trailer] (Baltasar Kormákur (2006)) and Volcano [trailer] (Rúnar Rúnarsson(2011)).
The Icelandic Film Center has collaborated with Peña on the showcase, which will be accompanied by a major contingency of Icelandic filmmakers, including Gudmundsson, Fridriksson, Kari, Kormákur, Ásdís Thoroddsen and Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson.