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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

March 9, 2005
There is something to be said for a film that breaks the formulaic conventions of standard cinema and manages to succeed, in overwhelming fashion, with its own unique formula. First time feature director Dag Kari Petursson has managed to do just that with his mystical, folkloric tale of isolationism set in his native Iceland.

From a strictly aesthetic viewpoint, comments about the film will inevitably commence with awe of the crystalline, frigid atmospherics of the film - an aspect which is remarkable, considering the fact that all of the footage was shot under natural light conditions.

The blue-green pallor of the light, which bathes everything around it in a cool hue, is intrinsic to Iceland's frigid winters and serves to embody the sullen, interpersonal distances between the film's characters. The effect is nothing short of remarkable, and not since Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey has the physical environment played such a crucial role in defining not only the storyline but the characters themselves.

The distinction with which Nói, the title character, is set off from the world around him is heightened by his unusual appearance - picture the singer from Midnight Oil and you will be almost dead on. But Nói's alienation saturates his life far beyond the surface of his shaved head and pale skin. His estrangement is more than aesthetic, more than cultural, and it is readily apparent that his mind functions on an altogether different frequency than those around him.

Throughout the film, whether Nói is filling in for his errant father, cruising the snow packed streets on a late night taxi shift, or clambering up the steep pitch of an icy roof, tragedy seems but a breath away.

After all, what has cinema taught us but for the inevitability of disaster in the lives of the tormented, the imminence of failure hanging over the heads of tortured souls? Catastrophe is intrinsic to the artful tale of the human spirit, is it not? Petursson artfully calls even those gut feelings of cataclysm into question with the brooding pace of the film, prolonging what the viewer quickly latches onto as the inevitable ruin of Nói until even that is uncertain.

Aside from a brief but unfortunate use of blue screen - I can certainly imagine that rainbows are not readily available in Iceland - the film's cinematography is remarkable. The detail Petursson shows in his story enhances the essence of Nói, a character given a rare realism by the performance of Tomas Lemarquis, who shows a refined understanding of the intricacies of existence at the cost of assimilation into the larger, more bland picture of the society that surrounds him.

Lemarquis' performance is augmented by an eclectic cast of completely unknown actors, many of whom are not actors at all, and the earthly ensemble gives Nói Albinói a grit and substance that few films possess, without the pretension that often accompanies such cinematic beauty.

SEE ALSO: www.noi-themovie.com
SEE ALSO: www.palmpictures.com
SEE ALSO: www.res.com

--
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.

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