For Immediate Release

April 7, 2000

*Please note that this version contains revisions not on the hard copies that were mailed.

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS

NEW FILMS FROM ICELAND, PART OF THE "ICELAND NATURALLY FESTIVAL," A NATIONWIDE EVENT CELEBRATING THE 1,000th ANNIVERSARY OF ICELANDER LEIF EIRIKSSON’S VOYAGE TO NORTH AMERICA

 

Featuring an in-person tribute to Fridrik Thor Fridriksson,

(acclaimed director of the Oscar-Nominated film CHILDREN OF NATURE),

who will present the U.S. premiere of his latest film ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE

 

Sponsored by the Icelandic Film Fund and Palomar Pictures

May 2 - 6, 2000

 

HOLLYWOOD – As an exhibitor of film, a medium barely a century old, the American Cinematheque will, for the first time, present a film series commemorating a 1000th anniversary! NEW FILMS FROM ICELAND (May 2 - 6, 2000) is part of Iceland Naturally, an Icelandic cultural festival that will feature more than 230 events at 70 venues across the United States and Canada, to mark the 1,000th anniversary this year, of Viking, Leif Eiriksson’s historic visit to North America – which made him the first European to set foot on this continent. The film series will present a slate of new films from Iceland (including the sexy 101 REYKJAVIK which stars Spanish actress Victoria Abril!) as well as a career retrospective of the work of Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (director of the Oscar-nominated CHILDREN OF NATURE, 1991), who will join us to present the Los Angeles Premiere of his film, ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (ENGLAR ALHEIMSINS.). H.E. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the President of Iceland, will formally open the series. Also in attendance is Sigurjon "Joni" Sighvatsson who is the honorary Consul General of Iceland as well as a well-known film, commercial and music video producer in Hollywood. Mr. Sighvatsson co-founded Propaganda Films, produced under the Lakeshore banner and is currently with Palomar Pictures.

All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

In the past decade, Icelandic cinema (like its groundbreaking pop music scene featuring such icons as Björk) 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. 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 break-out hit COLD FEVER (the first Icelandic film in history to have a commercial release), produced and co-written by James Stark, a frequent producer for Jim Jarmusch and Gregg Araki) and the luminous, Oscar-nominated CHILDREN OF NATURE – have earned comparisons with the best of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch.

Iceland Naturally Festival in Los Angeles is a week-long celebration of Icelandic culture and cuisine featuring live music, puppet theater, Icelandic sagas and more. Call for more information about the non-film related portions of this festival, please call 323.525.2910, ext. 374 or www.icelandnaturally.com.

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

The Tuesday, May 2nd program begins at 7:00 PM with THE DANCE, (1998, 87 min.), from Ágúst Guđmundsson, one of Iceland’s most acclaimed filmmakers. This haunting, visually-stunning drama is 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.

 

Following at 9:15 PM is a double feature, beginning with PEARLS AND SWINE (PERLUR OG SVIN), (1997, 90 min.) from director Óskar Jónasson. This wonderfully off-beat comedy of modern Iceland, stars Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir and Jóhann Sigurdarson as a married couple desperate to escape the northern cold for the sun-drenched Caribbean. With the help of their lowlife friends, they take over a rundown bakery, leading to an apocalyptic showdown with the local baking magnate.

Next on the same bill is BLOSSI 810551, (1997, 90 min.), a real 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. An acerbic, punk-influenced look at life in a northern town, from director Júlíus Kemp.

 

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

The Wednesday, May 3rd program begins at 7:00 PM with HONOUR OF THE HOUSE (UNGFRUIN GOĐA OG HUSIĐ), (1999, 110 min.), a 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, the film was Iceland’s official submission for the 1999 Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

 

Following at 9:30 PM is a Fridrik Thor Fridriksson double header, which begins with his Oscar-nominated, CHILDREN OF NATURE (BÖRN NATTURUNNAR), (1991, 85 min.). Director 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.

Next on the same bill is MOVIE DAYS (BIODAGAR), (1994, 90 min.), also from director 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, and gently hilarious picture of Iceland entering the Atomic Age features a rogues’ gallery of Russian spies, hermits, perverts and the former Miss Iceland! Director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to introduce the screenings.

 

Thursday, May 4, 2000

The Thursday, May 4th program begins at 7:00 PM with the U.S. Premiere of Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE (ENGLAR ALHEIMSINS), (1999, 97 min.). 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), these outcasts try to come to grips with a world that neither knows nor wants them. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to introduce screening. Reception following to honor H.E. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the President of Iceland. Special Ticket price of $15 General and $12 Cinematheque Members, includes screening and a reception featuring traditional Icelandic delicacies and beverages. Entertainment by the "Bjorn Thoroddsen Trio with Egill Olafsson.

The reception is hosted by Sigurjon Sighvatsson, honorary Consul General of Iceland in Los Angeles, and his wife Sigridur Thorisdottir.

 

Friday, May 5, 2000

The Friday, May 5th program begins at 7:00 PM, with 101 REYKJAVIK (2000, 100 min.), the first feature from actor-turned-director Baltasar Kormákur (ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE). 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! Director Baltasar Kormákur will appear for a discussion following the film.

Following at 9:30 PM is an Icelandic Pop Double Feature beginning with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s ROCK IN REYKJAVIK (ROKK I REYKJAVIK), (1982, 83 min.). This 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.

Next on the same bill, is POP IN REYKJAVIK (POPP I REYKJAVIK), (1998, 103 min.) from director 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." Director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to introduce screenings.

Saturday, May 6, 2000

The Saturday, May 6th program begins at 3:00 PM with 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. The grandfather Karl, is an old-age pensioner whose lips get frozen to his car when he’s not pursuing quicky sex with the local schizo floozy. His granddaughter Julia, is juggling an imaginary pregnancy and two very real boyfriends; while mother Steingerdur, cleans up for the local fundamentalist preacher (and hot-tub pervert.) The film features Róbert Arnfinnsson, Margrét Ákadóttir and Kristbjörg Kjeld.

A discussion will follow the screening with producers Thor Sigurjonsson and Skúli Malmquist.

For press information on other events in the Iceland Naturally Festival in Los Angeles: call Fredell Pogodin (323) 931-7300 or Hekla Jonsdottir at (323) 525-2910 – ext. 374; e-mail to IcelandinLA@hotmail.com.

 

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

BLACK & WHITE & COLOR PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS ON TAPE.

 

REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS MUST BE IN WRITING. FAX TO 323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW TIME. FRIDAY AT NOON IS THE ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY SCREENINGS. JOURNALISTS WISHING TO AUDIO OR VIDEOTAPE DISCUSSIONS MUST ALSO SEND A WRITTEN REQUEST.

ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SEENINGS. BELOW IS

AVAILABLE TAPES: ALL ARE SUBTITLED:

101 REYKJAVIK ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE

BLOSSI 810551 CHILDREN OF NATURE

FIASCO HONOUR OF THE HOUSE

MOVIE DAYS PEARLS AND SWINE

POP IN REYKJAVIK ROCK IN REYKJAVIK

 

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

 

# # #

 

Upcoming at the American Cinematheque:

The Films of Alain Resnais (May)

New Hollywood of the 1960's and 1970's (May)

Universal Studios' Hitchcock International Directors Series (June)

Mods and Rockers (June)

 

Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD is now open. For press passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.

 

American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 323.466-FILM u (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web: http://www.egyptiantheatre.com

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