101 Reykjavik

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Screenwriters: Baltasar Kormákur

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


It's easy to empathize with adolescent apathy when it's 30 degrees below zero, nightfall at four o'clock in the afternoon, and you're knee-deep in graying snow sludge. But at 28 years old, Hlynur's a little long in the tooth to be making Nintendo, cyber porn, and getting wasted into next year his vocation. In addition to successfully resisting employment, adulthood, and even an inkling of responsibility, Hlynur has managed to stave off any committed co-mingling with the opposite sex—with the exception of his mother, that is, under whose authority and dotage he still lives. But it's amazing how a boy will snap to when he's aroused. Enter Lola, a spirited Spanish Flamenco teacher and an old friend of his mother's. After Lola and Hlynur share a drunken one-night stand, Hlynur is mortified to learn that Lola's been making house calls, only she's bypassed his door in favor of his mother's. And to add insult to injured astonishment, the happy couple is expecting their first child.

In this off-the-wall, affectionate comedy about sexual confusion and coming of age, Kormakur shares the same droll wit and ribald energy as fellow ice-dwelling cineastes Fridrik Thór Fridriksson and Aki Kaurismäki. Hardly a picture postcard for the local tourist board, 101 Reykjavik is a cheeky slice of Iceland, where "even the ghosts are bored." Featuring a wonderful soundtrack by Blur singer Damon Albarn and former Sugarcubes member Einar Örn Benediktsson, this is a prodigious debut; a winning slice-of-life tapestry that gives insight not only into its winning characters but also into a unique northern youth culture.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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