The Deep

The small movie theater across from the Cathedral in Lund had decided to extend the Icelandic film Djúpið (The Deep) for another week, so we were able to see it in original with Swedish subtitles. It is a film by Baltasar Kormákur, the Icelandic filmmaker who made the cult film 101 Reykjavik, among others.

It is a simple story - and a true one, apparently. Kormákur uses the first 3.5 minutes to check off all of the things that an Icelandic film must have: drunks; vomiting; pissing; gorgeous landscape of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westmann Islands); fighting over a girl. With that out of the way we see the hungover crew of a fishing boat take to the seas. They catch some fish, and have one bout of the nets getting caught on a jagged stone. They manage to free it, but soon the nets again get caught and the boat is threatening to sink. One of the sailors insists on cutting the net - the captain won't hear of it, as it is a brand-new net.

And so, the ship sinks.

Three of the crew die right away, two soon after. One guy, Gulli, solidly portrayed by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, decides to swim to shore - a distance of about three sea miles or 6 kilometers. He starts swimming, and a sea gull decides to accompany him. He keeps swimming, and eventually reaches a rocky shore. But the cliffs are so steep - there is nothing else to do but to go back into the water and swim around the tip of the island to a place where he can draw himself up.

He walks over sharp lava in the freezing air back to town and collapses at the door of the first house. He is treated in the hospital, and then subjected to tests - how could anyone have survived this? It remains a mystery. He returns to his island, takes care of the things he had promised God he would attend to if he lived as he was swimming, and he returns to fishing.

A deeply moving movie, exposing many aspects of a people who live - and die - by the sea.

No comments: