Screened as part of NZIFF 2001

101 Reykjavík 2000

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

Denmark / France / Iceland / Norway In English and Icelandic with English subtitles
92 minutes 35mm


Ingvar Thórdarson
Baltasar Kormákur


Baltasar Kormákur. Based on the novel by Hallgrímur Helgason


Peter Steuger


Skule Eriksen, Sigvaldi Kárason, Steingrímur Karlsson

Production Designer

Árni Páll Jóhannsson


Kjartan Kjartansson


Damon Albarn, Einar Örn Benediktsson


Victoria Abril (Lola Milagros)
Hilmir Snaer Gudnason (Hlynur Björn)
Hanna María Karlsdóttir (Berglind)
Baltasar Kormákur (Thröstur)
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Marri)
Thrúdur Vilhjálmsdóttir (Hófí)


A Scandinavian slacker of the heartiest proof, Hlynur makes it a point to get up every day by noon, when he begins his Internet quest for stimulation. Still living with his mother at age 28, Hlynur is not exactly connected to the real world. But one can hardly blame him because, outside his door-step, it’s perpetually dreary and freezing. Other than a jaunt down to the local pub – where he gets snockered every weekend with his buddies and beds whichever female is the most inebriated – Hlynur doesn’t do a lot. And he makes no bones about his lethargy.

Nevertheless, his juices get warmed when his mother decides to take up flamenco dancing and, most incredibly, invites her Spanish instructress to share their tiny abode for a few weeks. Befitting Hlynur’s most lurid expectations about flamenco dancers from Spain, Lola (Victoria Abril) is indeed a sizzler… One fortuitous New Year’s weekend when his mother is out of town, the fireworks go off, and with his genitals as a compass, Hlynur finally finds he is pointed in a direction.

Bombarded with some loopy snatches of the Kinks’ classic rocker ‘Lola’, Reykjavík staggers through some harrowingly funny social and sexual debris… it’s glutted with blaring music, conversations with louts and life-affirming acts of moral turpitude. To boot, it’s jammed with some of the darkest Oedipal story slices under the northern lights…

In its stumble-through spirit, Reykjavík is more akin to Spanish cinema, namely Pedro Almódovar, than what one would expect from Scandinavia. Despite its wickedly funny nature, the story intermittently falls facedown in the heap of its mordant meandering. Yet it always manages to wobble back fast, courtesy of its bizarre textures and outlandish yarn-spinning.

With a robust array of performers who are wonderfully more like character actors than stars, Reykjavík bounds along with some deft, edgy performances. As the central slacker, Gudnason is appealingly aimless, while Abril is tantalizing as the dancer of his dreams. As Hlynur’s beleaguered mother, Hanna María Karlsdóttir is appropriately distracted and agitated.

A round of Aquavit to filmmaker Kormákur and his wonderfully warped crew for their idiosyncratic visualization of this strange life-scape. Special praise to cinematographer Peter Steuger for the film’s splendidly smudgy look. — Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter 26/1/01