Mar 21, 2007

The Sea, or Hafið


Do you enjoy conflict? You know, the kind of stress you experience at Thanksgiving dinner when disparate family members reunite and old animosities flare up? Here is a movie about the ultimate dysfunctional family. This family has everything: substance abuse, incest, violence, jealousy, ulterior motives and altruism. Maybe even redemption.

Director Baltasar Kormákur is known for his highly regarded 101 Reykjavik, and most recently for the favorably reviewed Mýrin. He also directed No Such Thing (good concept; bad film). The Sea features superb acting, screenwriting and cinematography.

The story centers around the adult children of þórður, the owner of a fish processing plant. Thordur wants to keep the plant going, both to provide employment for the community and as a legacy for his family. He is proud of having built the company, and is determined that one of his sons will take over when he retires. His youngest son Agust, meanwhile, is living a lie—several lies—and while his father thinks he is at University getting a business degree he is actually a composer/songwriter. Agust is in an ambiguous relationship with his lover Francoise, who has recently become pregnant with his child. The action of the film builds around a trip that Agust and Francoise take from Paris to Iceland, reigniting old tensions and passions, and bringing old secrets to life. All of the family members convene at their father’s home, and the viewer is treated to drama that is as big as the stark, towering landscapes, and a plot that is funny, tragic, and surprising. This is a movie that you are likely to want to watch twice. It is hard to appreciate all the fine points in just one viewing.

The Sea (2002) won eight awards that are the Icelandic version of the Oscar. It is available from Netflix. Interestingly, the film location is Neskaupstaður, a remote fjord that recently has found its economy growing due to a controversial aluminum smelter and hydroelectric power plant.

6 comments:

Professor Batty said...

... Now that's a reason to get Netflix! I've seen a couple of his stage productions, 101 and Mýrin, he's quite a talent. Oh by the way, a certain ersatz professor I know just ordered Salka Valka...

Rose said...

PB,

Wow! I've been wanting to read, and see, Salka Valka. So what did you get...the book or the film? If the film, which version? If the book, is a new translation out, or did you get a used copy? I'll be awaiting your review!

I just received my copy of Paradise Reclaimed, along with a great book on log houses (The Log Home Maintenance Guide: A Field Guide for Identifying, Preventing, and Solving Problems), and The Woman and The Raven. Now all I need is TIME!

Professor Batty said...

... I received the 1963 English edition which states that it has been revised by the author, so it must be different from the 1936 American publication. The booksellers are asking for as much as $250 for the old version, which I read had a mediocre translation. I'm saving it for spring break next week- up in the Boundary Waters.

If you "search blog" at FITK with the name Baltasar, you can read my oblique reviews of two of his stage productions...

Amiina in DC April 1st...

Rose said...

PB,

It looks like your copy must have cost some money--not too many of them around, in English. It's sure to be worth it!

I just spent a long time reading old "Lab Munkay" blogs, instead of doing my homework. Also well worth it. She is totally amazing! She has such a unique, creative voice. Sometimes I feel sympathetic pangs of sadness; mostly I cry laughing. She makes me laugh A LOT! How did you discover her blog?

Don't think I'll make Amiina, this is too busy a time of year. And I just missed two great concerts these past few weeks while I was sick (Battlefield Band in Charlottesville: Celtic/modern; amateur Bollywood in Richmond).

We love canoeing and kayaking, and it sounds like it doesn't get any better than the Boundary Waters. I hope you will blog it with pictures!

Professor Batty said...

... I've had the good fortune to have had dinner with Ms. Munkay, as challenging and entertaining in person as she is in "print." When I first started blogging I would look at the "recently published" blogs, at that time Blogspot would publish the previous hour's worth of new posts, so 700-1000 would come up in a list. Weblogs, Inc. is similar, but most of the sites are commercial. It seems that I found a lot of kindred spirits in the first couple of months, then not so many for a long time. Technorati has a blog search that is pretty good if you have a subject. The Google blog search is ok, a little less focused. I found Audi and Kristín while researching my 2004 trip to Iceland. Audi (Auður) and I did a art show together in 2005, my pictures with her writing. Her early stuff is fun to read, a lot of it is just daily stuff, and then she'd write these brilliant essays on life, love and Iceland. You can access them through her current blog, but the formatting makes it hard to browse. It is better to go to her old blog directly- If you have some spare time (haha). It's interesting that of my "main" links, seven of those nine I discovered within a 4 month stretch of 2004!

This is "between seasons" at the BWCAW, usually there is snow this time of year, but I think we'll only do some hiking (and reading.)
The lakes are still frozen but the ice is rotten...

I'll be interested in your take on Paradise Reclaimed... I got more out of it the second time, although I still sense there's quite a bit I'm missing...

Rose said...

PB,
Well, duh! Just because it's spring here doesn't mean it is everywhere else, does it.
As far as blogs...I find the search mechanisms clunky, and there are SO MANY out there now. I almost always discover new ones I like through blogs that I'm currently reading and like. Otherwise I find I'm overwhelmed!