sat 18/09/2021

Iceland

10 Questions for Director Benedikt Erlingsson

Benedikt Erlingsson (b.1969) was already an established theatre director and actor in Iceland when he directed his debut film, Of Horses And Men, an uncategorisable blend of humour, romance and horror, set away from Reykjavik amongst stubbornly...

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Woman at War review – timely comedy-drama about an eco-warrior with a difference

What is it about Nordic women and the environment? Hot on the heels of the London visit by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg – the most inspiring climate change campaigner since Al Gore – comes this timely, singular, enormously enjoyable comedy-...

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CD: Vök - In the Dark

Although In the Dark comprises 11 tracks of outward-facing contemporary North European electronica-infused, dance-edged pop along the lines of “Faded”, the 2015 international hit helmed by Norwegian DJ/producer Alan Walker, an undercurrent implies a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Under the Tree

If you’ve ever had an argument with a neighbour, watch Under the Tree and take notes. This mesmerising story of a dispute over a tree blocking the sun in a next-door garden is based, says Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, on an actual...

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Heartstone review - huge visuals, close-up performances

Icelandic writer-director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson has made an impressive feature debut with this story of crossing the threshold from childhood to young adult experience. Heartstone acutely and empathetically catches the path from innocence to...

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Iceland Airwaves 2017 review - political change at Reykjavík's major music festival

Óttarr Proppé, the stylish chap pictured above, was appointed Iceland’s Minister of Health in January this year. Last Saturday, when the shot was taken, he was on stage in his other role as the singer of HAM, whose invigorating musical blast draws a...

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Kuusisto, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Icelanders fare better than Sibelius

London orchestras do communicate with each other, sometimes at least, when it comes to programming. It can’t have been a coincidence that on Wednesday we had one Finnish chief conductor, Sakari Oramo launching his BBC Symphony Orchestra Sibelius...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Oh dear. I thought that this was going to be one of those exciting fantasy films that livened up TV on weekend afternoons in my childhood, and that there would be kitschy special effects and ludicrous dialogue. But no, it's not 20,00 Leagues under...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Ólafur Arnalds

We’ve been here before. Not to exactly the same territory, but to a neighbouring space in the same time frame. Last year, theartsdesk looked at a reissue of 2007’s Room to Expand, the first widely available album by the minimalist pianist Hauschka....

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DVD/Blu-ray: American Gods

Neil Gaiman understood the country where he’d landed as an immigrant in the Nineties by writing American Gods. His first substantial novel after his crowning comics achievement, The Sandman, mined an idea of infinite plenitude: if every immigrant...

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Sunday Book: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir - The Legacy

Anyone who's followed Yrsa's earlier novels, many of them featuring down-to-earth attorney Thora Gudmundsdóttir as heroine, will value her superb evocation of very distinct and haunting parts of Iceland - the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Heimaey island,...

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Sunday Book: Neil Gaiman - Norse Mythology

Odin the All-Father, “lord of the slain, the gallows god”, has two ravens that “perch on his shoulders and whisper into his ears” as he wanders in disguise around the world. They are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. Over many centuries, the...

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