Well, I should clarify. Good news for fans of Icelandic cinema, that is. If you’re a cinema buff from Iceland, this post may only be of interest to a subset of you.
In any case, despite being underwhelmed by the two Icelandic films screened at this year’s TIFF, I remain a huge fan of the films and directors of this tiny island nation. One of the highlights of my trip to Reykjavik last September was being present at two receptions hosted by the Icelandic Film Centre in which my wife and I were wined and dined and able to mingle with some of the actors and directors of this intimate fraternity. So I was very happy to find two new (or new to me) sites that focus on the cinema of Iceland.
Iceland Cinema Now has some official support from the Icelandic Film Centre, the Association of Icelandic Film Producers and the Icelandic Film School, so I expect it will be more a source of news rather than any critical opinions. For that, I’ll be consulting Iceland On Screen, a blog written by UK native Ben Hopkins. He’s reviewing all kinds of Icelandic films and I’m looking forward to diving into his archives. His recent interview with Icelandic film critic Ásgrímur Sverrisson was particularly interesting. Since Iceland is such a small community, it can be difficult to maintain critical distance when a lot of the filmmakers are your friends.
Since one of the major hurdles to greater exposure for Iceland’s films is the general unavailability of DVDs, I’m glad to see that Iceland Cinema Now is in the process of setting up an online store. Hopefully, there will be a good selection of films with English subtitles available, though I suspect anyone in North America may require a region-free DVD player.