A History of Icelandic Film


A History of Icelandic Film looks at the emergence of Icelandic cinema from its beginnings to present day, with a special emphasis on feature-length fiction films made since the Icelandic Film Fund was instituted in 1979. The book looks at central themes in the cinema, including the opposition between city and country and the presentation of the past, while addressing the rise of genres like the crime film. The book charts the development of key auteurs like Friðrik Þór Friðiriksson, Baltasar Kormákur, Hrafn Gunlaugsson, Ágúst Guðmundsson, Dagur Kári, Sólveig Anspach, Ragnar Bragason, Kristín Jóhanesdóttir, and Róbert Douglas. Significant space is devoted to non-fiction work as well.

In addition, the study looks at the recent rise of a new generation of filmmakers who have enjoyed significant international success, focusing on artists like Grímur Hákonarson (Rams), Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Heartstone), Rúnar Rúnarsson (Sparrows; Volcano), Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men) , Hlynur Pálmason (Winter Brothers), and Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Under the Tree) as well as the emergence of distinctive female voices like Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (The Swan) and Isold Uggadottir (And Breathe Normally).

A portion of the book examines the cross-disciplinary forces that have helped shape the cinema, including the country’s literary tradition and the robust independent music scene. This publication is the first book-length history of Icelandic cinema published in several decades and uses interviews with key figures like Friðriksson, Kormákur, Kári, Douglas, Gunlaugsson, and both Guðmundssons.

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

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