Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, ... See full summary »
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, surrounded by ominous mountains and buried under a shroud of snow. Noi dreams of escaping from this white-walled prison with Iris, a city girl who works in a local gas staion. But his clumsy attempts at escape spiral out of control and end in complete failure. Only a natural disaster will shatter Noi's universe and offer him a window into a better world. Written by
Palm trees are repeatedly present in the movie as a symbol: on the Viewmaster slide, on Noi's father's shirt, on the cake her grandmother bakes and on the green wallpaper at his house. See more »
In the scene where the psychiatrist examines Nói, the former behaves strangely negligent. No health care professional would administrate an intelligence test by giving the subject scarce instructions, since these are part of a standardized protocol. Instead, he would give detailed instructions asking the subject if he has understood them and should be present during, at least, a portion of the test. See more »
Easily the most interesting and beautiful debut film of these last few years, with "Tan de repente" and "Verboden te zuchten" ; explicitly placed under the care of Kierkegaard ("if you hang yourself, you'll regret it, if you don't hang yourself, you'll regret it too"), Nói is as full of humour as it is desperate (with the exception of "love and getting away", Nói doesn't take anything seriously ; he's constantly playing : to avoid being sucked in by that seemingly absurd adult world which takes itself so seriously ; he dreams of escaping to Hawaii, looking at slides with a cheap viewing-box his mother just gave him for his birthday ; in this minimum world, everything is cheap...) Frightful feelings of isolation and desolation, of being trapped on one hand ; but on the other hand, as absurdly funny (the parish-priest and Nói haggling over the depth of the tomb he has to dig in the cemetery ! and in Danish, Kierkegaard is the word for cemetery...) as it is anguishingly claustrophobic (Nói trapped, this time literally, in his secret cellar after the avalanche -- probably an allegory of his ever-increasing isolation)
Filmed with Tarkovskian beauty (a permanent blue cast, at once gloomy, serene and unsettling ; blue maybe because it is the exaggeration, the saturation of white, the white of frost, the white of snow), it could be seen as the fateful tale (told more in images than in words) of a village "idiot" (in the Dostoievskian sense), or a "Stalker", as hemmed-in by (rather nice) people as the village is hemmed-in by (desperately beautiful) nature, doomed for absolute aloneness, into which, starting from mere difference and marginality (the "albino" bit), he will gradually "descend" (taking refuge regularly in that cellar being just another allegory of this) ; a journey to the end of the cold tragic, but perhaps liberating even if we can't, whatever we do, escape "fate" (the local fortune teller had rightly seen only "death and desolation" in store for Nói) Starting rather realistically, the film gets more allegorical as it unravels (the avalanche turns out to have killed a mere 10 people : all those Nói had some contact with, and only those) ; in the last but one image, facing us, looking into his viewing-box, Nói looks like a robot, or a spaceman with his helmet on ; as for the very last image (the "real" view of one of the Hawaiian slides he used to look at : a beach of white sand, palm trees, and the gentle waves of a turquoise sea), it will probably be given as many interpretations as there will be viewers ; it proves once more that images, like words, don't have meaning(s) in themselves, but only relatively to the context into which they come inserted : here, the corniest touristic cliché becomes a thing of many meanings, an unfathomable mystery
Like Aki Kaurismaki's "Match factory girl", in many ways a fairy tale in reverse...
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