Cold Fever

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Cold Fever is an odyssey in the guise of a road movie. We begin our trek in Tokyo. A young Japanese salary worker is guilt-tripped by his uncle into canceling a long-anticipated vacation to Hawaii so he can perform a memorial ceremony to comfort the passing spirits of his deceased parents. The service is a traditional one that must be held in the exact place where his parents died. It is his misfortune that their deaths occurred in a remote spot in a foreign land called Iceland.

Fredrik Thor Fredriksson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his 1991 film Children of Nature, has paired with producer/screenwriter Jim Stark to craft a startling piece of cinema. Cold Fever is a film that is both poetic and mystical, almost Ozlike. Masatoshi Nagase, already a star in his native Japan but best known by Americans for his role in Jin Jaramusch’s Mystery Train, plays the dutiful son who accepts each new dilemma with deadpan complacency. His trek takes him on a bizarre adventure into a land that seems as isolated as his own feelings. His costar in the film is Iceland itself. As the surreal backdrop, this exotic country plays its part stunningly. There is plenty of wry humor to be mined from this uncharted territory.

In this time of Hollywood rehash and redo, along comes a film that I can guarantee is completely different from anything you have ever seen before. I will go so far as to say it is probably the most unique film of this year. It is uncanny the way a film like this can take you to a place you have never been, with people who are totally unfamiliar, yet can still connect you with your own sense of home and tradition.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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