Scanorama Celebrates 100 Years of Iceland’s Independence with a Special Gift
For the sixteenth time organizing the most important autumn film celebration amongst Lithuanian cities, Scanorama is celebrating 100 years of Iceland‘s sovereignty with a special programme Iceland is 100.
On December 1, 1918, Iceland and Denmark signed the Act of Union, establishing Iceland’s Independence and sovereignty. In the programme the works of Icelandic directors recognized in the very first festivals of Scanorama as well as the most distinctive modern-day works of Icelandic directors that received awards in international film forums.
“Celebrating 100 years of Iceland’s Independence, Scanorama returns to its roots as well as the modern history of Lithuania. We will never forget the moment when in 1991, a remote Northern country became the very first one to legally recognize Lithuania’s Independence. Looking from a cultural perspective, the modern Icelandic cinema was one of the axes essential for the forming of the Scanorama’s image and its direction during the foundational festivals. Its authentic duality, which reveals itself in the different patterns of nature and human character qualities, amazes. In Icelandic cinema, a slow pace shifts to vivacious vitality and a majestic inclement scenery to fragility of relationships,” – states Gražina Arlickaitė, the founder and art director of Scanorama.
Fierce and Talented
The leading star of Icelandic programme certainly is the latest film of Benedikt Erlingsson Woman at War (2018). One of the most famous film and theatre directors, whose cult film Of Horses and Men (2013) Scanorama screened several years ago, has created a joyful and ingenious feminist saga about a fifty-year-old Halla who lives a passionate double life of a music teacher and an environmental activist. The woman is determined to do everything in her power to make her enemy, a local aluminium manufacturer, the threat to homeland Iceland‘s wild scenery, go down in defeat. The fierce Halla, whose armoury the director entrusts to the talented Halldorai Geirhardsdottir, reveals her sensitive nature only when a little orphan girl appears in her life.
B. Erlingsson raises environmental problems in a vivacious and playful manner, reminding that small battles contribute to great victories. “In a book of Astrid Lindgren The Brothers Lionheart, one brother says to another that in life, there are things we must do even though we understand they are impossible and dangerous. Otherwise, we won‘t be worth to be called human, “ – reminds the director.
The film presented in International Critics' Week in Cannes and nominated for European Parliament LUX prize, promises a breath-taking session for the viewers. In Woman at War, the director plays with classical form, replenishes the film with humour and even invites the musicians to take part by both creating background music and commenting on what is happening in the film.
Iceland Crosses Europe
One of the new Icelandic films is Vultures (2018), a tense thriller about two brothers trying to escape poverty by selling drugs. The film stands next to other Northern action films with distinctive aesthetics, which are a great alternative for the lovers of the genre. By shedding light on the outcasts of society, Ísold Uggadóttir‘s film And Breathe Normally (2018) tells a story about two single mothers who fight their weaknesses and gruesome challenges of everyday life. The debut exploring the social gaps in the present-day Europe has won the Directing Award in Sundance film festival.
Icelandic films from the first Scanoramas loved by the viewers will be shown in the programme to commemorate the 100 years of Iceland‘s Independence. Friðrik Þór Friðriksson‘s film Angels of the Universe (2000) was awarded European Film Award for Best Actor and the FIPRESCI Award in Karlovy Vary. Looking into the world of men suffering from schizophrenia with humor, the film explores the boundaries of reality and feverish imagination. Dagur Kári‘s Noi the Albino (2003) unveils the world of a stranger seventeen-year-old whose dreams are freezing in distant Icelandic fiords. The later film of the same director The Good Heart (2009) takes its characters’ lives to a bar which is depicted as a philosophical temple of men. Acknowledging his lack of humour in life, D. Kári renders a lively everyday life kaleidoscope and a dose of colourful humour for the viewers of his films.
This year, the European Film Forum Scanorama will take place on November, 8th-25th, in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai.