Sunday, 28 September 2008

Take a Chance! Make Mistakes! (Ride on the Magic School Bus!)

Tourism, tourism, tourism. They say festivals are created to promote culture and art, but really it's just a vehicle for more tourists. Why else would so many festivals start up right after the peak tourist season? From September 25-October 5 is the Reykjavik International Film Festival, then there is an art festival and right after that the Iceland Airwaves music festival.
Well, in any case, I'm taking full advantage of the film festival. My past roommates must know how much I watch films, and I have always wanted to go to the Toronto festival.

Yesterday evening I went to see a Bosnian film called Snijeg (Snow). The descriptions of the movies in the programme are so bad that after you read them, you have no idea what the movie is about afterwards. Then again, maybe the writers are trying to be witty and hide most of the plot lines. There is always as a back-up plot checker but where is the fun in that? The description for Snow in the program basically said that I was going to see a movie about an isolated town. As I was walking to the cinema with someone (who was going to see another movie - why would anyone want to watch a film with such a horrible description?), we both joked about the movie I was going to see. I love taking chances at unknown movies, even though they may turn out to be really boring, which is what a failed movie is in my eyes.

Not all the seats in the theatre filled up, but the theatre wasn't completely empty either, as I had expected it to be. For the next two hours, What unfolded before me was a film that has changed my view of the world, and I think that is what films are about. I've seen other movies about the situation in Bosnia, but this one in particular was very moving, to say the least. That is all I will say about it since you should go see it for yourself if or when it comes to a theatre near you. As an added bonus, the co-writer of the script came and did a Q&A session afterwards. That was a real treat.

Now to put this in an Icelandic context. The festival in Reykjavík isn´t as glamorous as the TIFF, but it isn't as expensive, either. Their theatres aren't as crowded as the festival in Toronto would be, so you could still get a seat right before the show and don't have to stand hours waiting in line. I lament the fact that the subtitles are all in English, as is most of the advertising and even the festival name, but that opens up many more doors. There are many movies, probably not as many as TIFF, but enough to satisfy everyone's taste. It's smaller, more personal, just like everything else in what people keep calling the Land of Ice.

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