It’s Mother’s Day in England and I’d like to use the opportunity to celebrate diversity. There are all kinds of mothers in this world and movies have fortunately portrayed them in various ways. When you look at lists of movies to watch on Mother’s Day, they often list films like Bambi, Aliens, Terminator, Steel Magnolias, Mamma Mia!, The Blind Side, Terms of Endearment, Juno, Beaches or Freaky Friday. Good films, but I’d personally like to add three to the mix.
All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) – Pedro Amodóvar
The Icelandic TV series Trapped has been well received in the UK. It’s the first Icelandic crime series shown on BBC Four, in the popular slot reserved for what the Brits call Nordic Noir. Last week I had the privilege to interview two TV critics about Trapped, Alison Graham from Radio Times and Caroline Frost from The Huffington Post. My cameraman, Ingimar Eydal, went with me to meet the ladies and the interviews were aired on the culture show Menning, aired on RUV (The National Icelandic Broadcasting Service).
In October I was granted the honour of interviewing Dame Helen Mirren on the red carpet at the European premiere of TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach. Bryan Cranston gave a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. Mirren is great in the role of Hedda Hopper, the infamous and nasty gossip columnist.
Being one of the reporters on the carpet is sort of mad; desperately trying to get the movie stars to notice you and answer your questions. More than half of these reporters go home empty handed. Before I knew it, I was telling Helen Mirren that it was the first time Icelandic TV had a reporter on the red carpet for a film event of that scale. Her attention was caught, and I asked her whether she thinks films can influence people and send dangerous messages.
Now I get it!!! The reason for the strange look I get from Brits when saying something like; ‘Nah… the weather is not that bad. You should try living in Iceland for a while.’ When I watched that brilliant video, featuring one of my favourite people in the world, it opened my eyes to many things. I’ve f.ex. always wondered why on earth pub goers cheer when someone drops glassware on the floor.
This is an ad from Heathrow airport, but in spite of that it’s well worth the watch. Enjoy Stephen Fry’s guide to the UK ladies and gentlemen!
In Iceland we don’t have just one Santa Claus with a nice beard, dressed in red. Nope, we have thirteen troll like creatures, Yule Lads. They are not the nicest chaps either, really mischievous and bear names like Window Peeper, Stubbs and Meet Hook.
However, kids wait eagerly for their visits this time a year. Each evening in the 13 days before Christmas, Icelandic children place their shoe in the window. If they’ve been good the Yule Lad of the day will put a small present or a candy in their shoe. But, if they’ve been naughty all they get is a raw and preferably rotten potato.
A group of strong, courageous feminists won this year’s Skrekkur, which is an annual talent contest, held by the secondary schools in Reykjavik.
Hagaskoli, a school in the West Side District of Reykjavik, won the prize with their feminist poetry and dance. The piece was written and choreographed entirely by the teenage girls themselves, with Una Torfadóttir, Erna Sóley Ásgrímsdóttir og María Einarsdóttir leading the team.
Icelandic women are a force of nature, fighting for equal rights with all means. The winning piece sort of embodied the recent revolutionary campaigns, like #freeTheNipple and #outload. HERE you can read more about what’s been happening this year.
As I’ve said it before; the fight for equality is far from over, but at least the future is bright when young people are as strong and courageous as this!
I’ve watched a good deal of videos portraying the breathtaking beauty of my homeland, but this one is different. Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland. It’s located in the south-east of the island, covering more than 8 percent of the country.
Tim Kemple is an photographer and filmmaker in his thirties, but also a dedicated climber. In this video you see him and his team of professionals on their adventure in Iceland, climbing the stunning Vatnajökull.
The British Film Institute National Archive is brilliant and it’s possible to watch quite a lot of old films online. I’ve watched many precious clips from British film history, like this kiss from 1899. It’s the earliest film kiss held by the BFI National Archive.
‘This story derives from a popular magic lantern slide show and shows a couple in a railway carriage, going into a dark, Freudian tunnel, taking the opportunity to steal a kiss. As the train emerges into the light the couple move apart in a guilty fashion, and although scarcely enough to make your Victorian grandmother blush, it gives the scene its slight frisson of naughtiness. (Bryony Dixon)’
Last week I wrote about David Cameron’s visit to Iceland and mentioned how worried I was about speculations of building a power cable from Iceland to provide the UK with energy. As much as I love living here, and wish this country all the best, I cherish the nature of my homeland more. These plans are dangerous. UK has already negotiated getting power from Norway as you can read in Guardian; ‘The UK and Norway are to build the world’s longest undersea interconnector – a method of linking up electricity and gas networks – to provide enough low-carbon energy for almost 750,000 British homes.’
The world famous musician Björk has for years been a spokesperson for keeping Icelandic nature untouched and now she has called to action. ‘Iceland has a deadline!’ she says.
Björk and Andri Snær Magnason, the prestigious writer and activist, held a press conference yesterday about ‘the latest skirmish in the war to protect Iceland’s highlands from industrialisation’. You can read more in Grapevine. They ask the world to join them against the government to help protecting the Icelandic wilderness. The deadline is in 10 days and if you want to help sign the petition HERE.
At the moment I’m incredibly proud of being Icelandic. The reason is the same as often before, that matters regarding LGBTQI+ rights are quite progressive in Iceland. I’ve written about it before, here and here.
Last Sunday the longest running TV program for children, ‘Stundin okkar’, (Our hour) aired an episode in the afternoon, just like most Sundays during the wintertime for more than three decades. However, this episode was different. It featured the Pop artist Paul Oscar as the main guest, touching on the topic of being gay. The conversation was open, very natural and heartfelt. The fact that this was aired on RUV, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, makes me very happy.
‘Some guys like other guys, some guys like girls. Some girls like guys, some girls like other girls. – You don’t decide what makes your heart beat, it just beats.’