Eyesland - Icelandic Films

The Icelandic Embassy in Berlin is hosting an Icelandic film festival called Eyesland hier in Berlin - for free! They have all of the films ever produced in Iceland - all the way back to that epic 1918 film "Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru" (The outlaw and his wife) which was filmed in Iceland, - on display in an exhibition, and are showing the most famous ones pretty much non-stop from Friday to Friday. A poor guard at the Embassy has to work long hours, but there are about twenty people here, and a local bookseller has everything ever printed in Germany from an Icelander on sale. They also have some soft drinks and candy. And films, real ones, 35mm and DVD.

Since I was a good girl and got the first version of my paper written, I decided to go see 101 Reykjavik. I've seen it before, in Sweden, but this one can be seen again, it is so funny. And having been in Reykjavik this past summer, I see many additional jokes as I can identify certain places and things.

This is a guy, Hlynur, around 30, who still lives with his mother. She has a wonderful girlfriend stay with them - Lola. Lola asks Hlynur what he does. "Nothing." "What kind of nothing?" "Nothing kind of nothing." His idea of progress is going from child support to unemployment money to retirement money.

He gets up late, has a bath in the tub that makes into a couch, waits for the porn to finally get on the TV, goes to parties. Occasionally he sleeps with a girl, but mostly he makes fun of the sexual games of the others. Anyway, New Year's Eve he's alone with Lola, they get drunk, what happens, happens, and then: Lola and his mother announce that they are lesbian and are now officially living together.

Hlynur is stunned - and angry with Lola. He is angrier when he finds out that he was being used as a sperm donor - Lola is having his child/brother together with his mom. Hlynur tries to commit suicide during the child's baptism by climbing up a glacier and lying in the snow. "You are dead before you are born and dead when you die. Life is a break from death." But he doesn't succeed, and appears to adjust to life with baby, as we see the two of them bathing together in the end.

I stayed on for Börn (Children), despite the bad seats. Luckily it was in black and white, so the blood wasn't so bad. A bizarre story, in a part of town I've never seen, about parents and their children. There are all sorts of threads to the story that are intertwined somehow, just like in a little village. The actors are apparently a local theater group that wrote the script themselves.

Let's see, what did we have? Older gay men; widow with a son still living as home who seems slightly retarded and a new, secret boyfriend; single mother with 4 kids from 2 fathers trying to make ends meet; one of the fathers fighting to take their 3 daughters from her; an old lady dying of cancer; a boy finally meeting his biological father; a violent bully; I'm sure there were more.

The same director and many of the same actors show up then in Foreldrar (Parents) that is kind of like more of the same. Again, black and white, and more stories. A dentist with step-kids who ignore him; he thinks he is trying to have a baby with his wife, but she had her tubes tied and didn't tell him; a business guy so glued to his mobile phone that he doesn't see either wife or child; the bully is back, but this time breaking the nose - his speciality - of the nasty villan (played by Swedish actor Reine Brynolfsson); woman who left her son with her mother eight years ago to go live with nasty villan in Sweden; son appears to be son of the dentist, concieved at a drunken party. Again, I surely missed some.

The stories rather grow on you.

One gets the impression that all Icelanders are more or less bizarre, and that they have the strangest relations with their parents. They drink a lot, use their mobile phones a lot, have a lot of sex and a lot of children (I think there is some sort of relationship between the two....).

I don't really understand why the embassy didn't do advertising and charge admission!

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