May 2 - 6, 2000

American Cinematheque presents...

New Films From ICELAND

featuring a tribute to FRIDRIK THOR FRIDRIKSSON


Sponsored by the Icelandic Film Fund and Palomar Pictures


Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok and Gwen Deglise.

Special Thanks to: Joni Sighvatsson/PALOMAR PICTURES; Thorfinnur Omarsson/ICELANDIC FILM FUND; Hekla Jonsdottir; Christian Thordarson.

For information on other events in the Iceland Naturally Festival in Los Angeles, call: Hekla Jonsdottir at (323) 525-2910 – ext. 374, e-mail to:, or check out the website at:






In the past decade, Icelandic cinema (like its groundbreaking pop music scene) has emerged as one of the most quirkily inventive and unique in European film, combining deadpan humor with an outrageously bleak, often stunningly poetic view of the land and its people. In connection with the Iceland Naturally Festival in Los Angeles, a week-long celebration featuring live music, puppet theater, Icelandic sagas, food and more, the Egyptian will host a 5-night showcase of the best of modern Icelandic cinema.

The series will feature a 4-film tribute to Iceland’s most acclaimed director, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, whose lyrical, otherworldly portraits of dreamers, drifters and misplaced souls – including the breakout hit COLD FEVER and the luminous, Oscar-nominated CHILDREN OF NATURE – have earned comparisons with the best of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch. We’re very pleased that Fridrik Thor Fridriksson will join us in-person for the U.S. Premiere of his latest film, ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE.  Guest of Honor: The President of Iceland.


 Tuesday, May 2 – 7:00 PM

THE DANCE, 1998, 87 min. From one of Iceland’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Ágúst Guđmundsson, THE DANCE is a haunting, visually-stunning drama set in 1913 in a remote village, where a feisty young bride (the lovely Pálína Jónsdóttir) is about to celebrate her marriage to a conservative local boy (Dofri Hermannsson). The savage wreck of a passing ship interrupts the all-important wedding dance, setting off a series of increasingly desperate and supernatural events on the small island.


Tuesday, May 2 – 9:15 PM

Double Feature:

PEARLS AND SWINE (PERLUR OG SVIN), 1997, 90 min. Dir. Óskar Jónasson. Wonderfully-offbeat comedy of modern Iceland, starring Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir and Jóhann Sigurdarson as a married couple desperate to escape the northern cold for the sundrenched Caribbean. With the help of their lowlife friends, they take over a rundown bakery, leading to an apocalyptic showdown with the local baking magnate.

BLOSSI 810551, 1997, 90 min. Road movie, Reykjavik style. Páll Banine and Thóra Dungal star as a pair of teen lovers who steal a set of wheels and go cruising the barren snowdrifts of Iceland, looking for trouble, in director Júlíus Kemp’s acerbic, punk-influenced look at life in a Northern town.


Wednesday, May 3 – 7:00 PM

HONOUR OF THE HOUSE (UNGFRUIN GOĐA OG HUSIĐ), 1999, 110 min. Dir. Gudný Halldórsdóttir. Sweeping, visually-magnificent saga of two sisters in a wealthy Icelandic family torn apart by vengeful pride: Tinna Gunnlaugsdóttir stars as Thurid, the married, seemingly-content older sister who is secretly consumed by envy when her younger sister Rannveig (Ragnhildur Gísladóttir) escapes to Denmark to study at university. Based on a short story by Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness, and directed by his daughter Gudný Halldórsdóttir. Iceland’s Official Submission for the 1999 Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

Wednesday, May 3 – 9:30 PM

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson Tribute – Double Feature!

CHILDREN OF NATURE (BÖRN NATTURUNNAR), 1991, 85 min. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s bittersweet, achingly poetic meditation on loss and innocence reborn stars Gisli Halldorsson and Sigridur Hagalin as former childhood sweethearts who meet decades later in the old age home where they’ve been shut away by their families. Together, the pair break free, and journey back to the remote country where they grew up. Nominated for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award in 1992.

MOVIE DAYS (BIODAGAR), 1994, 90 min. Dir. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Set in the early 1960’s, when Iceland was invaded by American pop culture, MOVIE DAYS stars Örvar Jens Arnarsson as a ten-year old boy seduced by the otherworldly charms of THE CRAWLING HAND, KING OF KINGS and Roy Rogers. Fridriksson’s surreal, gently-hilarious picture of Iceland entering the Atomic Age features a rogues’ gallery of Russian spies, hermits, perverts and the former Miss Iceland - !

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to introduce screenings.

Thursday, May 4 – 7:00 PM

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson Tribute – U.S. Premiere! Fridriksson In Person!!

ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (ENGLAR ALHEIMSINS), 1999, 97 min. Dir. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Based on the award-winning novel by Einar Már Gudmundsson (who wrote CHILDREN OF NATURE), Fridriksson’s newest film is a luminous, unearthly portrait of a talented schizophrenic (brilliantly played by Ingvar Sigurdsson) who has been institutionalized his entire life. Together with his inmates Oli the missing Beatle (Baltasar Kormákur) and Viktor the sometimes Hitler (Björn Jörundur), the outcasts try to come to grips with a world that neither knows nor wants them.

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and actor Baltasar Kormakur to introduce screening. Reception following featuring Icelandic food and drink. Special Ticket Price of $15 General/$12 Members includes screening & reception.

Friday, May 5 – 7:00 PM

101 REYKJAVIK, 2000, 100 min. Based on Hallgrímur Helgason’s acclaimed black-comic novel of sexual confusion in modern Iceland, the intense, erotic 101 REYKJAVIK stars Hilmir Snaer Gudnason as a young man who discovers that his one-night stand (played by legendary Spanish actress Victoria Abril) also happens to be his mother’s lesbian lover! The first feature from actor-turned-director Baltasar Kormákur (ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE). Discussion following with director Baltasar Kormákur.


Friday, May 5 – 9:30 PM

Icelandic Pop Double Feature!! Fridrik Thor Fridriksson Tribute:

ROCK IN REYKJAVIK (ROKK I REYKJAVIK), 1982, 83 min. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s documentary portrait of the groundbreaking Icelandic pop scene in the early 80’s features 19 bands desperate to get heard – including 16-year old Björk and the Sugarcubes, before their surreal, addictive pop made them favorites on the college circuit. "You’d think that, circa 1982, this city must have held the record for most punk bands per capita …!" – Nico Baumbach, Village Voice.

POP IN REYKJAVIK (POPP I REYKJAVIK), 1998, 103 min. Dir. Ágúst Jakobsson. Post-Björk, POP IN REYKJAVIK checks in on the exploding Icelandic music scene 15 years later, when everything from grunge to rap to slow-core to experimental noise competes for airtime in Reykjavik. Hosted by local gay club personality Paul Oscar, who leads us on a tour of "the world’s most desperate nightlife."


Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to introduce screenings.

Saturday, May 6 – 3:00 PM

FIASKO, 2000, 90 min. The first feature from music video director Ragnar Bragason, FIASCO is a deadpan comic look at the members of one "average" Icelandic family: grandfather Karl, an old age pensioner whose lips get frozen to his car when he’s not pursuing quicky sex with the local schizo floozy; granddaughter Julia, juggling an imaginary pregnancy and two very real boyfriends; and mother Steingerdur, who cleans up for the local fundamentalist preacher (and hot-tub pervert.) With Róbert Arnfinnsson, Margrét Ákadóttir and Kristbjörg Kjeld. Discusion following with producers Thor Sigurjonsson and Skuli Malmquist.