Englar alheimsins (2000) Poster

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Once in a Lifetime
BrunoAlmeida22 October 2002
Ok, let me start. I´ve seen this movie about a year ago (in a special cycle, since it didn´t arrive on the regular circuit, as most Scandinavian cinema...) & it moved me like very few. It may be somewhat naïve and even simplistic at times, but this adds to its deepness. At the end, I was literally apathic, not wanting to be close to anyone neither to talk. The OST is also truly fabulous - Mr Hilmar Hilmarsson & Sigur Rós have done a truly stunning ambient work, carrying the film to a whole new dimension. In all, this is a uniquely stunning, profoundly depressive and amazingly beautiful movie, from a distant yet so close cinematography, of which I hope to see more (I´d heard of the film years before I actually had the chance to behold it...). So, for all you unshallow souls & admirers of beauty in/ through sadness, this comes as highly advisable (9 in 10, no doubt)piece of Scandinavian moviescapism. I think the only problem with it is the angst which it leaves - which... in what films concerns, is hardly negative. Congratulations to Mr Fridrik Fridriksson & the rest of the Icelandic (wonderful country, btw...) cast. Unique masterpiece.
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8/10
Beautiful, sad, funny and relevant
hopalong_13 December 2002
As far as I know this was my first experience with Icelandic movies. It's such a relief to see something else than your regular Hollywood motion picture. Too bad that movies like this one have a small chance of succeeding in the big world. I can only hope that people watch this by accident, by recommendation or other...

Because it's really worth while. I left the cinema feeling really sad. I couldn't get the tragic destiny's of the characters out of my head. And it impressed me even more when I thought of the complexity of the film. Not only was it a tragic story, it had excellent comic reliefs and a very good soundtrack.

If you have the opportunity, watch it! It's really thought provoking and made me ponder a lot.
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10/10
I'm still in shock
ziabo14 January 2002
It is the best film i have seen in the last 5 years. Surely, it will be in the same row with such masterpieces as The Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Doors, The Dog's Heart (Russian film). Really, the play of the boy and his parents is so good that you can't even say that they "play". No, they LIVE as if it was happening to them. Notice the smile on there faces when the main hero agrees to go for a walk with them. The hate and love in one piece. And the final scene!

Really, i'm still under impression of that film. It's very hard, even impossible to combine the humor and the tragedy, but if you succeed (and Frederikson did) the impact would be twice strong.

I compared it with "ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST". I like this film either (and the novel itself is good, too), but after Frederikson's movie it seems simple. (the same difference I noticed after i watched the film "American history X" and "ROMPER STOMPER" - the latter is deeper). I mean Milos Forman only showed the material point of view of the problem. You watch it, then you say Yes, it's a good film, i like him, i don't like her, and that's it. But "Angels" leave you a wide base to think. There are no bad and good boys in the film. Cause each of them have the right to behave in the way they do. Like the girlfriend of one of the patient. Of course she's young and is pregnant and that is a problem for her that his husband is in the clinic, but the feelings and emotional experience of her exfriend are even stronger (the result is his suicide). Why ask him what have he done? Aren't you insane yourself to ask? Why do not support him, help him, understand him? Finally, it is even funny when those people talk to each other. They say genius things! There are a lot of things I would like to say about this film, but i'm not so good in english. But i'm sure, those of you, who have watched the movie, understand me.

Good luck!
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8/10
Worth seeing
ingemli16 October 2000
Reading the other comments here at the IMDB, I had very high expectations before seeing 'Angels of the universe'. I wasn't disappointed, and giving the movie an 8, I would say that I can justify that grade.

The movie has some incredible acting, especially by the main-person, Pall. The supporting actors are also doing a very good job like the patients in the mental institution, the parents and the siblings of Pall. The music is also worth mentioning, supporting the movie throughout, giving depth and feeling.

Although the movie is very scandinavian, it doesn't leave out some humour and has a sort of objective authorship about Pall's life. Still, if you want to see a cheesy comedy or something light-weight, this is not for you. It is a story about people with mental problems, about the way they are being dealt with in society - but most of all, a story about Pall.

I recommend this movie to all movie connoisseurs. It is one of the best movies that has ever come out of Iceland, if not out of Scandinavia.
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10/10
beautiful piece of art
starsnostars16 August 2007
First at all: If you like watching movies I recommend you NOT to watch this one. Why? Afterwards you won't appreciate any other movie so easily anymore...

Actually I don't wanna give rise to any excessive expectations but it is almost frightening how perfect, intense and beautiful this work of Einar Gudmundsson is. When in most movies there is at least one aspect spoiling the whole thing, like good actors but horrible dialogs or a nice scenery but low budget cinematography – in „Angels of the Universe" there is nothing of this ambivalence. Really everything is just great, even (and not least) the soundtrack with the magnificent Sigur Rós.

In this story about Pall, a student that goes schizophrenic after being dumped by his girlfriend, especially the dialogs (and monologues) deserve some attention: together with (and sometimes in sharp contrast to) the plot they range from depressing and fatalistic to the whole opposite of comical and totally absurd. What is more, they are often (with quotes from Hegel and Shakespeare) of such a poetic beauty that the movie almost drifts into a surreal sphere and is only saved to the real world by its incredibly authentic actors.

One of the other comments was already referring to another point: This movie is no trivial entertainment for relaxing in the evening. Despite of several comical reliefs in between it is largely disturbing, partly cynical and bitter, and most of all sad. It is a modern poetry about a life of insanity with all its emptiness, rage and solitude.

Finally: When you've seen the movie – watch it again. There are some great visual metaphors and allusions in it that you realize only when you look twice and connect them with the „moral of the story". And of course: read the book, it contains a lot more of the small funny stories in between and also makes you understand some things in the movie a bit better.
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10/10
GREATEST Icelandic movie ever and the novel is even better
Born_Free7 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is about Paul(Páll) a young man who sinks into the harsh world of insanity and his stay at the mental hospital "Kleppur" and his friends. Victor(Viktor) who during his education in England started to think he was Adolf Hitler. Peter(Pétur) who took to much LSD and tried to fly of a roof top the fall left no broken bones or physical damage only insanity, he is obbsesed with China. Oli Beatle (Óli Bítill) Oli has spent most time at the hospital although Viktor is slightly older then him, he claims he wrote every single Beatles song and send it to them by telepathy

The novel is better then the movie and covers all of Pauls life from birth to his death, there is a long time since I saw the movie but if I remember it right the movie doesn't cover Pauls childhood.

"Englar Alheimsins" is funny,sad and powerful if you haven't seen it watch it NOW! and read the novel first it makes the movie better
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A spectacular movie that shows the hidden reality!
Krista_H1 July 2003
The film `Angels of the Universe' is based on Einar Mar Gudmundsson's novel. The movie reveals the reality that lays hidden to sane persons. The story is based on a man who has a loving and caring family, he has fallen head over heals in love, but when his girlfriend breaks up with him the man starts to lose his sanity. We get to see how the insanity overwhelms the man, which lead the man to be placed in a mental hospital. In the mental hospital he makes friend with three, really interesting patients. The movie gets funny and some point but lives in a dramatic environment.

I recommend this movie to anyone who has decided to take a break from the Hollywood motion pictures and see what unknown directors are capable of.
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9/10
A master piece
oranium876 April 2005
This movie I've seen many times. I read the book , Englar Alheimsins which was written by Einar Már Guðmundsson who received the Scandinavian book awards for the work. The movie does not start on the same place as the book starts. It happens in Reykjavík and the main character, Páll is young and having a good life with his girlfriend. But as she breaks up the relationship with him, he starts to get some headaches which make him annoyed and angry. And soon he starts to have big mental problems and then the movie begins. Soon he is puted in the Icelandic Mental Hospital called "Kleppur" and there you get to see some great characters like Viktor who thinks he is Hitler and Óli who thinks that he writes all the " The Beatles" songs and sends them to them with mind transporting. Ingvar E Sigurðusson who has the role of the main character Páll does is so work so well that it leaves you breathless. Also the music in this movie is mad by SIGURRÓS and just for the music's cost you should see the movie. Overall a great movie meant to be seen.
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Brilliant in every way
-=mAlkAv=-9 January 2001
This is the best Icelandic movie ever made, brilliant acting, directing and music. It moves you and it shows you something new, teaches you but also entertains you. You should also read the book if you can but I don't know if it is available in English. A must see.
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9/10
Wonderful, compassionate film.
rodrigo_maia4 October 2001
Having a close experience with one such patient is probably the best reason why I had my heart rushing throughout the entire film. Intense, sensible, moral and revealing, and don't forget to check out the marvellous sound track. Really good.
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10/10
Icelandic cinematography: THE BEST !!!
martin_benda14 November 2000
This film very succeed in the Film festival in Karlovy Vary, Czech rep. Logically. It' s based on a very good book, excellent actors, good camera, the best director and ICELANDIC. It was probably the most black comedy I've seen.

I really DO recommend it to you.
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Great
disa_776 November 2000
Beautiful, sad, funny, this is a great film. I'm so often disappointed by Icelandic films that I didn't bother to see this one until it was out on video....my mistake ! Ingvar Sigurðsson ( Páll ) is great, one of his best performances. Baltasar Kormákur and Björn Jörundur really surprised me too, not forgetting Hilmir Snær of course. And the music by Sigurrós is brilliant and completely in tune with the mood of the film. Forget all your prejudice against Scandinavian films, and/or Icelandic, I think we've finally grown up.
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Englar Alheimsins
boggajons1 January 2004
Upon first viewing I liked this movie but I didn´t think it was all that great and very overhyped. The acting was good no doubt about that but it seemed to lack in something and some things were missing. I read the book few months later which this movie is based on and I fell in love with it. The book is a bit different from the movie and we get to know the character from he is born until he´s dead as opposed to this movie we only get to see few years in his life.

What I didn´t like about it was it tried to be so depressing when it didn´t have to be. The music by Hilmar and Sigurros tried to do something to us that obviously the film makers thought they weren´t able to. This was way too distracting. It was also very and I mean very annoying. The movie was also far to heavy. The book had much lighter tone to it and even though the movie had some funny scenes in it there and there it felt like a drag and sometimes it were just snapshots and more.

There seemed also to be lack of character developments and you couldn´t get to know him quite well to understand what he was going through. Why did he go insane in the first place.

This was however a difficult task for both the writer and the director considering that it is based on a person that they knew. Einar Már writes the screenplay which is based on his book that is based on his brothers life that wen´t insane and eventually killed himself but the movie just didn´t capture the wibe of the book. I didn´t feel all to sorry for the characters or anything.

overall grade 6.5/10.
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8/10
sensational serene
lasse-gurra2 June 2006
This movie is stunningly free from storytelling. It's a pure experience where the music overshadow the visual impression. - Words cannot of course enough express what should be expressed, but it is the requirement of the chattering classes that chatter is put forward, entered into production lines of mediocrity and therefore a necessity in order to express any sensible thought or opinion about something which should not need to be degraded by chatter. Therefore these elaborate opinions are put forward to satisfy those empty minds which need to be filled by noise that you will not find however hard you try in this movie.
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Best Icelandic film ever
-=mAlkAv=-8 May 2000
The director of Children of Nature shows us a mans decent into insanity and the journey is so powerful that this film should at least be nominated as best foreign film.

Best Icelandic movie ever and one of the best movies of all time.
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10/10
A new era in Icelandic film making
muggur14 March 2000
The movie Angels of the Universe is a pure masterpiece and it proves once again that you can make a brilliant movie on a low budget, e.g American Beauty and Blair Witch Project. The Director Fridrik Thór Fridriksson gives the novel Englar alheimsins a new life on the white screen. The movie is a breakthrough in Icelandic film making because it's the biggest and the greatest movie that has been done in Iceland.

The music in the film, played by Sigurrós, is very symbolic for the film, it is absolutely brilliant. I recommend everybody who are able to think to go and see this film as soon as possible, you won't be disappointed. I would bet on this film to win the best foreign film award next year – all over the globe!
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10/10
If you liked Children of nature, this one is better!
redrum-1017 February 2000
If this film doesn't at least be selected for an oscar nominee for best foreign film I'm going to stop waking at nights watching the event. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson has proven that money isn't the key to making a good movie but originality. Out of a cold country comes a warm but thought-provoking film of a mentally ill man and his struggle against an insane world. After an insight like this, you question whether or not the man is crazy or the world he lives in.
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10/10
See this film!
karohin27 November 2004
This movie is great. Best acting i have ever seen in my life. Ingvar E Sigurðsson is the best Icelandic actor, and of course Hilmir Snær and Bjorn jörundur. Great music and sound. Cold hard reality about a struggle of a man that has a lot of problems and the people in his life. Black humor mixed with great acting and this European art movies style, it works, it comes together in a the best Icelandic movie ever made. I say to you." See this film, you will not regret it". I gave it 9 stars. If you see one Icelandic film in your life...See this one
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8/10
Good Movie
ari21825 June 2001
Englar Alheimsins are very good movie. She happen on a mental home in Iceland. Ingvar E. Sigurdsson is in a leading role and is good. Other good actors in this movie are Baltasar Kormákur and Bjorn Jorundur. I like this movie she is very good. I voice with this movie.
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10/10
The best Icelandic film I have seen!
eln17 November 2000
This film by Friðrik Þór, director of Children of Nature, is powerful. It has great music by Sigurrós and good acting. It shows how sad insanity as a disease can be. There are many good jokes but the humor is dark. If that is not a problem then you should see this film. Note though this is not a comedy but a drama.
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10/10
I loved this movie
samoil9919 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie on a flight to Iceland. What a treat. This movie is one of a kind. So different than the Hollywood formula movies that you see over and over again hoping that you'll see something different for a change. It sure puts to shame "One flew over the cuckoo's nest". Which had a similar subject. Unlike "cuckoo's nest" this movie didn't wasn't overdone. It was subtle and gentle even though it was dealing with a heavy subject. its message about sanity , the human condition and the times we're living in, will stay with me forever. The characters were perfectly developed. The conversations were sharp, wise, leaving you breathless. The acting was perfect. It was well directed and shot. I just loved it.
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8/10
How can you and your family and friends cope with this kind of illness?
Björn Leifsson13 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film is based on a true story. The author of the novel bearing the same title, Einar Már Guðmundsson, had a brother, who turned mentally ill. I found this film very moving, following the main character's path down into illness, to see how he tries to cope with life after diagnosis, and how he makes friends at the mental institution, it all is very convincing. There are quite a few splendidly funny incidents also in the manuscript. The title of it gives nothing away concerning the story. You must watch it to understand ... and listen to the music, which is twisting and turning your heart and soul upside down and back as the film moves on. A must-see for everyone.
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8/10
"Versatile, cinematographic and life-affirming..."
Sindre Kaspersen16 October 2013
Icelandic screenwriter, producer and director Friðrik Þor Friðriksson's sixth feature film which he produced, was written by Icelandic author Einar Már Guðmundsson and is an adaptation of a novel from 1993 by Einar Már Guðmundsson which is inspired by real events in the life of his brother named Pálmi Örn Guðmundsson. It premiered in Iceland, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 25th Toronto International Film Festival in 2000, was shot on location in Iceland and is an Iceland-Denmark-Norway-Sweden-Germany co-production. It tells the story about a drummer and painter in his thirties named Páll who lives in a house in Reykjavik, Iceland with his father named Olaf who works as a taxi-driver, his mother named Gudrun, his sister named Svana and his brother named Haraldur. When Páll is not in his room trying to capture the inner landscapes and volcanoes of our souls which he aspires to do he tells his sister incredible stories and spends some of his time with his friend named Rögnvaldur whom is becoming a dentist, and one day he approaches an upper-class woman at a library named Dagný who lives with her mother.

Distinctly and subtly directed by Nordic filmmaker Friðrik Þor Friðriksson, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated by and mostly from the main character's point of view, draws a heartfelt and reflective portrayal of a philosophical and poetic Icelandic man who after being told by his girlfriend that their relationship is over begins to experience a headache which he later learns from a doctor might be a headache in his heart. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, distinct cinematography by Danish cinematographer Harald Gunnar Paalgard, sterling production design by Icelandic production designer Jón Steinar Ragnarssson, costume design by Icelandic costume designer Helga I. Stefánsdottir and use of sound, colors and light, this character-driven and dialog-driven story about Schizophrenia, interpersonal relations and societal perceptions of mental illness where an inspirited though sick man goes through severe changes in his personality and ends up at a psychiatric hospital called Kleppur, depicts an exceptionally humane and internal study of character and contains a masterful score by Icelandic composers Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Sigur Rós.

This literary, biographical, mysterious and lingering drama from the early 2000s which is set in the capital city of Iceland in the late 20th century and where an gracious friendship arises between an artistic man, a self-declared songwriter and singer of Beatles songs named Óli who wants to become the next president, a man named Viktor who believes he is Hitler and a man named Pétur who thinks he has travelled the solar system and written a thesis on German author Friedrich von Schiller in China, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, rhythmic continuity, profound humour, existentialistic and singular dialog, insightful views on life, graceful aura, comment by Páll : "Nei, ég er ekki dauður." and the wonderful acting performances by Icelandic actors Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Baltasar Kormákur, Björn Jönindur Friðbjörnsson, Hilmir Snær Guðnasson, Þor Tulinus and Icelandic actress Halldóra Geirharðsdottir. A versatile, cinematographic and life-affirming homage which gained, among several other awards, the Edda Award for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Music and Best Sound Design at the 2nd Edda Awards in 2000.
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embarrasingly pretentious
The Big Combo1 March 2003
What is this fixation of Scandinavians with mental houses? Is it because they do not have the same problems as the rest of mortals have? This movie is so pretentious that one watches it all the way through just to figure out how far can it dare to go. A man walking in the water is not enough; showing God either. One must see him coming as a ghost and then transformed into a white pidgeon. It's naive in every sense. The icelandics should feel owerpowered by their astonishing landscapes, and they cannot help showing it off. Some scenes made me really blush: the horses galloping in slow motion, a couple of aerial takes out of focus, the declamatory dialogue. It's a pastiche of music, painting, postacard sundowns, unjustified dissolves and cheap poetry. These fellows should really go back to basic storytelling. The icelandic film industry, as the norwegian one, uncovers an amazing lack of ideas, and that's a real shame, regarding the amounts of money they waste in doing so-called "festival films". Funny that the video version of this crap was advertised as "seen by more icelandics than Titanic". Maybe the root of the problem lays there.
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