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Reykjavik International Film Festival


The 18th edition of the Reykjavík International Film Festival will take place between September 30th and October 10th, 2021.

Iceland’s major annual film event, the main purpose of RIFF is to offer a wide selection of groundbreaking, independent cinema, and to highlight the work of young and emerging filmmakers, by presenting only first and second works in the Grand Prix competition category New Visions. The objective of the festival is to increase general interest in independent cinema, increase the level of cinematic literacy and enrich film culture in Iceland by offering different cross-platform programs.




Few films can boast such raw and gritty realism as VOLCANO (ELDFJALL, Iceland, 2011). While the film is set in its native Iceland, it is a far cry from the expansive Nordic Eden we have been exposed to after Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006) and TOMB RAIDER (2001), with VOLCANO exposing the more tangible truth of everyday life in Iceland of a fisherman (Hannes) and his wife and the driest peak in their lives, where everything they once knew is about to erupt and explode into an even tougher existence than ever before.

Instead of wide mossy spaces, volcanic black beaches, glistening glaciers, blue thermal lagoons, rushing waterfalls; here, in fact, we see the hard reality of a weathered older couple near retirement facing all the beauties and terrors of life, hopelessness and loss. This is existentialism at its best and we wonder how Hannes (played by Theodór Júlíusson) will cope with his change from a sense of meaningless existence and seemingly ungrateful attitude towards his subservient wife and family to becoming sole caretaker to his wife after she suffers a life-threatening stroke. Will Hannes continue to wallow in self-pity and question his seemingly pointless existence or will he step up to the plate and take charge of the situation at hand? It is all in his hands to manage and live with or hide from the ever present, ever turbulent and unpredictable volcano.


VOLCANO (2011) by Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson, which held its world premier at Cannes this year and was nominated for Camera d'Or, opened to home audiences during the 8th annual Reykjavik Film Festival (RIFF), 2011. The film's Nordic premier at RIFF enjoyed a full house and a smash after party with the film's cast and crew and RIFF guests alike.

written by Vanessa McMahon


photos by Vanessa McMahon



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