Between Tradition and Liquid Modernity
The last decade was an exceptional period for the Icelandic cinema. The films produced during this time have won many prestigious awards at international festivals. Cinematic images of Iceland eclectically interlace myths, stereotypes and postmodern means of expression. At first glance, the local films obsessively repeat the same themes which might be incomprehensible for a foreign viewer. However, academic research on the most interesting motion pictures creates an opportunity to study the birth and development of small, but energetic and ambitious cinematography. Such an experience also allows analyzing problems related to the system of film production in this sparsely populated country and helps identify challenges during the process of introducing a local culture abroad. Finally, studying Icelandic cinema gives a chance to go on the audiovisual journey through the fascinating culture and unique landscapes.
The author of the book analyses popular topics and narrative strategies in Icelandic films. The research covers local versions of black comedies, road movies and crime stories as well as different figures connected with the motif of struggle between tradition and modernity.
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- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 327 pp., 70 fig. b/w
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- About the author
- About the book
- Citability of the eBook
- Preface: A Cinematic Terra Incognita?
- Introduction: The Imaginary Island: From a Literary Myth to On-screen Stereotype
- Constructing a Myth
- (Re)constructions of the National Liberation Myth
- Cinematic Reinterpretations of Myths and Stereotypes: From the Cinema of Heritage to the Postmodern Irony
- Iceland as the Other (and Unknowable)
- Part One: Reconfiguring Utopias: Nation Building and Cinema
- 1 Nature, Countryside and the City: The Ideologies of Nation Building
- Country and the City in the Works of the Pioneers of Icelandic Cinema
- Country and the City in Selected Films of Friðrik Þór Friðriksson
- Conclusions: On the Crossroads of the Liquid Modernity
- 2 In the Land of the Great Narrations: Chronotopias, Uchronias and Nostalgic Past
- Nostalgic Returns to the Past
- In the Kingdom of Distance and Irony
- Elves and Globalization
- 3 Tradition, History and Liquid Modernity in Icelandic Musical Documentaries
- Rock in Reykjavík: Rebellion Against the Tradition and Narcotic Taste of Cultural Colonization
- Screaming Masterpiece: “Selling Out the Tradition and History”
- Heima: Community, Nation and Homeland as the Elements of the “Everyday Patriotism”
- Backyard: Beyond Nation and Nature
- Part Two: Figures of Tradition, Crisis and Change
- 4 Of Fishermen and Their Ships: Marine Motifs, Cruel Nature and Zeitgeist
- The Spirit of the Sea and the Wind of Change in the Documentary Cinema
- The Cinema of Seafaring and the Allegories of Crisis
- 5 Restless Daughters of Freyja: Female Soul of Icelandic Cinema
- Historical Background: Female Characters in Nationalistic Narratives
- Cinematic Female Protagonists as Victims of Violence
- Vamps, Warriors and New Models of Independent Women
- 6 The Curious Case of Anti-Vikings
- Introduction: Generation X and the Crisis of Manhood
- One Flew Over the Puffin’s Nest: Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s Angels of the Universe
- The Plastic Sorrows of the Icelandic Peter Pan: Baltasar Kormákur’s 101 Reykjavík
- The Last Skáld? Marteinn Thorsson’s Rokland
- The Tragic Fall of Icelandic puer aeternus: XL by Marteinn Thorsson
- Part Three: Reimaging Utopia: Genres and Transnational Dreams
- 7 Icelandic Crime Stories
- Literary Roots
- First Steps into the Cinematic Genre: Reynir Oddsson’s Morðsaga
- Flirting with Neonoir
- Reinterpretations of the Gangster and Police Movie
- 8 At the Edge of World: Black Comedies and the Allegories of Crisis and Isolation
- Between Utopia and Dystopia – (Re)constructions of the Concept of Insular Life
- Allegories of Social and Economic Crisis
- 9 Cinematic Journeys Around Iceland
- The First Journey: The Island of Heterotopias and Pagan Beliefs
- The Second Journey: The Island of Stereotypes and Conventions
- The Third Journey: Bitter Flavor of Tourist Utopia
- The Fourth Journey: Pop-cultural Anti-utopia and Entrance into the Void
- The Last Journey: Escapes from Utopia
- Appendix: Tradition and Liquid Modernity in Documentary Cinema
- Part 1. Reinterpretation of the Elements of National Discourse
- Part 2. How to Survive After the Crisis?
- Afterword: Notes After the Year 2016
- List of Figures
- Bibliography of the Previously Published Parts of the Book
Many people supported me during six years of my academic researches on Icelandic cinema, published in this book. First of all, I would not be able to start and continue my studies without four scholarships from Norway Grants and EEA Grants founded by the Polish operator (Fundacja Rozwoju System Edukacji). I was professionally supported with the substantive guidance at the stage of applying for all these scholarships by such kind people as Joanna Pavlovych, Sylwia Iżyniec and Łukasz Sopyła, who worked for FRSE.
I am also profoundly grateful to the wonderful, helpful people I have met in Iceland. Professor Björn Norðfjörð was my academic tutor during my first and second stay at the University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands). His valuable articles, book and PhD thesis served as guiding lights of knowledge for my studies on Icelandic cinema and culture. During all my visits to Iceland, I was also receiving films and other materials generously provided by Erlendur Sveinsson and Gunnþóra Halldórsdóttir from the National Film Archive of Iceland in Hafnarfjörður (Kvikmyndasafn Íslands) and Christof Wehmeier, Steven Meyers and Gunnar Egill Daníelsson from the Icelandic Film Centre.
This monograph would not be published without the financial support of the Vice-Rector for Research and Foreign Cooperation, Professor Piotr Stępnowski and the Dean of the Faculty of Languages dr. hab. Maciej Michalski. Extraordinary appreciation goes to prof. Gunnar Iversen from Carleton University in...
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