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
Gérard Lemarquis, who plays the French schoolteacher, is the father of 'Tomas Lemarquis', who plays Noi. Gérard Lemarquis is a French schoolteacher in real life, and the director 'Dagur Kari' was one of his students. 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 »
If you want to learn how to make mayonnaise while learning French, how to smoke, how to destroy a piano with an axe, how not to rob a bank, and how to survive in an environment of mind-numbing boredom, Dagur Kari's first feature Noi Albinoi may be the key. Noi is a coming-of-age comedy/drama with a morbidly deadpan sense of humor, but it is also a film that tackles a very serious subject, the physical and emotional isolation of bright teenagers growing up in an environment that does not nurture them. Set in Bolungarvik (pop. 957) in Iceland's Western Fjords, the stark quality of the remote village sheltered between the seacoast and the frozen mountains has a bluish glow that makes the world seem ominous and the relentless quiet of the secret snow conveys a tone of oppressive solitude.
This is the environment a gangling 17-year old named Noi must face each day. He is a notorious underachiever whose routine consists of avoiding school and trying please his alcoholic father Kiddi (Throstur Leo Gunnarsson). Convincingly portrayed by Icelandic actor Tomas Lemarquis, Noi is an enigma. With his shaved head, pallid complexion, and intense eyes, it is hard to know if he is an albino or a devotee of Hari Krishna. We first meet Noi in his bed as his grandmother (Anna Fridriksdóttir) tries to wake him up for school by firing a rifle over his head. Though he is considered by the school psychiatrist to be exceptionally intelligent, Noi is not fond of school and makes his teachers crazy with his lack of punctuality, sleeping in class, and general uncaring manner.
When he goes too far by placing a tape recorder on his seat to record the lecture while he goes home, his expulsion from school is the predictable result. Feeling trapped, Noi retreats to the basement of his grandmother's house where he can think about an exotic destination to escape to, made more real when his grandmother gives him a stereopticon to view pictures of a land of beaches and palm trees. His interest in life picks up when Iris (Elín Hansdóttir), a young city girl, shows up in town from Reykjavik to take a job at the local gas station. Awkward and stumbling, Noi manages to get a date but her father, a local bookseller, warns him to stay away from his daughter. On their "romantic" first date, they break into a local museum, Iris taking it on herself to break the glass on the front door while Noi attempts to jimmy the lock. They come across an exhibit showing places on a map but, as they discover, there's no button for Iceland, a rather apt metaphor.
Noi takes a job digging graves in the local cemetery where the priest hilariously attempts to use a remote control from his house to direct him where to dig a grave and the two haggle over the depth of the grave to be dug beneath tons of ice and snow. Noi's exasperation builds until he takes things into his own hand, which leads to a series of serio-comic adventures more emotionless than anything this side of Fargo. While the ending may ultimately be liberating, I was unprepared for the film's sudden dark turn. Kari, however, pulls it off and makes us care deeply about what happens to the icy town and its eccentric inhabitants. Noi Albinoi is an excellent first effort.
30 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?