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coverpic flag Iceland - Full Moon 54 - 03/09/01

101 Reykjavík
a film by...

101 Reykjavík
101 ehf./Filmhuset/Zentropa Entertainments, Iceland 2000
Written and directed by Baltasar Kormákur (based on a novel by Hallgrimur Helgason)
Music composed by Damon Albarn and Einar Örn Benediktsson
Starring: Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Victoria Abril, Hanna María Karlsdóttir, Baltasar Kormákur, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, þrúður Vilhjálmsdóttir, plus others.

Looking for a Friday(or any day...)-before-party-time film? This could be one. From freezin' cold and icy Iceland (exotic to a lot) comes a bleak and black comedy about a young man trying to figure out some goals in life. How to fit in: to be, to live, to behave. Society, sexuality, family. Hey, don't turn off, it's more exciting than it sounds! A funny tale it is!

Hlynur (Guðnason), a slack and life-weary 30-year old lives with his liberal mother (who, by the way, divorced Hlynur's father - a heavy drinker - when Hlynur was just a kid). He's out of work (doesn't want any job, either), on the dole, sleeps till noon, watches web-porn (how he could afford that fancy iMac, well, that's another question...), and gets pissed with his friends every weekend. The party life is wild (if it's like that on Iceland, it must be a reaction to the extreme environment and long, harsh seasons), and Hlynur, even if he's a nerdy looking anti-hero also end up in bed with girls. His only problem is that he has to take off just after the 'act' is over: he can sleep with them, but he sure can't sleep, or wake up, with them. Big ego, or big complexes, or both? Anyway, when his mom, Berglind (Karlsdóttir) gets a X-mas visitor from Spain, her good friend Lola Milagros (Abril), something happens in Hlynur's head. He gets a crush on the good-looking Flamenco teacher, and Lola teases him as good as she can. During the New Year weekend, with Hlynur's mom off to visit family, Hlynur takes Lola for parties, and, eventually, they end up having a drunken, wild one night affair. Ooops. Things can only be worse for Hlynur, when his mom makes it clear that Lola is more than a friend for her, and is just about to move in... So, when Hlynur is told that one of his one-night-stands is pregnant, and so is Lola... What can he do? Hlynur - a man comfortable with doing absolutely nothing.

101 Reykjavík is actor (he's Thröstur, Hlynur's buddy in the film), writer, stage director (for the time being he's in charge of Little Shop of Horrors for a theatre in Oslo, Norway) and film director Baltasar Kormákur's feature debut, and it sure is a fresh and hip film flick, from a young talent. The film sure has some weaker moments as well, but this is again saved by the freshness and some extremely funny scenes, such as the family gatherings (X-mas dinner), and the parking lot scene (where Hlynur, a true pedestrian, pisses off a parking guard by feeding coins on the meters just before time's out). The soundtrack is also a reason for this film to be well-received by the younger audience, as it is Blur-headman (and long time Iceland friend) Damon Albarn and Einar Örn Benediktsson (ex-Sugarcubes) who's been in charge of the music (including variations on a theme; versions of Ray Davies' and the Kinks' Lola). 101 Reykjavík seems a bit English in style/attitude, even though the Icelandic exoticism stays intact. And, yes, Mrs. Abril add a slight touch of warm-blooded Almodovarism, which goes just fine together with all the wintery cold of the film. Find joy with 101 Reykjavík, when it, hopefully, arrives to a cinema near you.

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