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A History of Icelandic Film

A History of Icelandic Film

By Steve Gravestock
Subjects Film & Media
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Paperback : 9780986706257, 240 pages, October 2019


In this new study — the firstbook-length history of Icelandic film in English in nearly two decades — SteveGravestock traces the evolution of this unique national cinema from itsbeginnings in the silent era to the present day, as well as its influence fromand interaction with two of Iceland’s most powerful cultural forces: itsunusually vital literary tradition, which stretches back to the medieval sagas;and its robust independent music scene, which has birthed such globalsuperstars as Björk and Sigur Rós.

Focusing primarily on the rapid growthof feature-length fiction films that followed the establishment of theIcelandic Film Fund in 1979, A History ofIcelandic Film charts the development of such key filmmakers as Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (Children of Nature), Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavik), Ágúst Guðmundsson (Land and Sons), Hrafn Gunnlaugsson (When the Raven Flies), Dagur Kári (Nói the Albino), Kristín Jóhanesdóttir (As in Heaven), and Guðný Halldsdórsdóttur(Under the Glacier), and chroniclesthe emergence of several exciting new voices in the past decade, includingGrimur Hákonarson (Rams), Baldvin Z (Jitters), Rúnar Rúnarsson (Volcano), Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men),  Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (The Swan), and Ísold Uggadóttir (And Breathe Normally). Additionally, Gravestockinvestigates such distinctively Icelandic genre-movie traditions as the VikingFilm, the folk comedy, and the “Nordic noir,” as well as the prevalence andpervasiveness of the supernatural throughout the cinema as a whole.

Published by the Toronto International Film Festival. Distributed in Canada by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Distributed outside Canada by Indiana University Press.