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).
If you want to catch another Icelander on the silver screen you can go and see Olafur Darri Olafsson in Zoolander 2, and if you want to see more of him, he has a lot bigger role in the brand new TV series Trapped, starting on BBC Four next Saturday. Trapped is the first Nordic Noir series from Iceland shown on BBC.
On top of that, composer Johann Johannsson might get his second BAFTA award for his score for Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario next Sunday. Last year Johannsson took home a BAFTA for the music he wrote for The Theory of Everything.
Lurking behind the scenes are also two exceptional artists from the island. Heba Thorisdottir is responsible for the excellent make up in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Hildur Gudnadottir plays the cello for Iñarritu’sRevenant. There are probably many others I don’t know about. Icelanders seem to be everywhere these days.
In a sunny and warm Italy the highly anticipated film Everest opened the Venice Film Festival yesterday. The last two films to open the festival were Gravity in 2013 and Birdman last year. Everest is made by the only Icelandic director ever to make Hollywood blockbusters, Baltasar Kormakur.
The film is based on a true story of a climbing expedition on Mt. Everest, that is devastated by a severe snow storm. The film has already gotten several reviews. Time Out praised the ‘astonishing’ craft of Kormakur’s 3-D spectacular and The Hollywood Reporter called the movie ‘gripping and immersive’. Peter Bradshaw from Guardian is not as content and says it’s a ‘thriller that’s light on thrills’. Variety and ScreenDaily have also published their reviews.
Kormakur is born on the 27th of February to an Icelandic mother, Kristjana Samper, and a Spanish father, Baltasar Samper, both respected artists in Iceland. Baltasar Kormakur started out as an actor and became well-known at a young age, but found passion in directing early on and has since staged plays, directed films and has recently added TV to the equation. Furthermore, he is a very productive producer. You can read about his body of work here and I personally recommend this interview and this one.
Then there are trailers for some of his films. First up is 101 Reykjavik, his directorial debut.
White Night Wedding is loosely based on the play Ivanov by Anton Chekhov. Baltasar also directed the play at the National Theatre of Iceland.