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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Opening Night, 7th Reykjavik Int’l Film Festival

A quirky festival in a fascinating land: I attended last year’s sixth Reykjavik International Film Festival, and just got the press release from Friday night’s opening of the seventh: “The seventh edition of the Reykjavik International Film Festival was officially declared open by Jón Gnarr, the Mayor of Reykjavik, at the Festival’s opening party on Thursday evening. The party, attended by a host of Iceland’s film, stage and television personalities including Oscar Nominee Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Best Foreign Language Film, Children Of Nature, 1991), took place at the National Theatre building which is more accustomed to hosting stage plays than film screenings, obviously. However, the architect Gudjon Samuelsson designed the grand theatre early in the 20th Century also to be suitable as a film screening room, albeit a very grand one.

“And that was only too fitting, as the National Theatre did very well in hosting the screening of the opening film of RIFF 2010, Cyrus, which is presented in the Special Presentations category and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, was met with several fits of belly laughter as well as repeated nods of approval, and a rapturous applause when the lights came back on. The comic relief was met with welcoming spirits after a rather acidic “Festival Splash” opening speech where veteran film producer Thor Sigurjonsson took the opportunity to lash out at the Icelandic government’s plans to cut down grants to film and tv production.

“But spirits were high, happy and optimistic in the party after the screening, where copious amounts of champagne were washed down with greetings and congratulations regarding the happy days ahead. After all, RIFF has only just begun and it promises to be a feast of fine, fresh cinema as always. We’ll see you when the lights are switched on again.” [Photos: HAG]

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“Why put it in a box? This is the number one problem I have—by the way it’s a fair question, I’m not saying that—with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies! Directors are always thinking, “I could do that.” Critics are always saying, “This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…” And it’s like, “Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!” So I think the answer’s both and maybe neither, I don’t know. That’s for you to see and criticize me for or not.”
~ James Gray

“I have long defined filmmaking and directing in particular as just a sort of long-term act of letting go,” she said. “It’s honestly just gratifying that people are sort of reapproaching or reassessing the film. I like to just remind everyone that the movie is still the same — it’s the same movie, it’s the movie we always made, and it was the movie we always wanted to make. And maybe it just came several years too early.”
~ Karyn Kusama