Iceland

Synopsis

Will the feature film CHILDREN OF NATURE save the Icelandic film industry? Its director seems to think so. And possibly his loving mother Gógó. But just about nobody else does. Undaunted but broke, he sets his sights high: if he gets an Oscar nod, Icelanders will rush to the theatres and he’ll be in the black again. His creditors are more realistic and want their money back. As if his financial woes and lack of recognition as auteur weren’t enough, the aged but proud, energetic and quick-witted Gógó begins acting strangely. Little things at first, like getting lost, forgetting to turn off the stove or bursting into anger. But when she forgets to turn off the water and floods the neighbour’s apartment, Gógó must face the truth: Alzheimer’s. A word like a stage curtain that falls before the play is over. Her son’s problems suddenly pale when he realizes that he is losing the person closest to his heart. As Gógó retreats from the present, she finds herself returning more and more to a cheerier past, to a time when she was young and beautiful and happily in love.

Director's Statement

The film is based on two very personal aspects of my life: my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease and my own previous struggles with my financial problems. While writing the script I studied the financial collapse in Iceland using my own experiences and had the idea of intertwining them with the process of my dealing with mothers’ illness. I’m often asked whether it is difficult emotionally to use elements from my own life in a film. But I have used my life as an inspiration before, namely in “Movie Days” which was based on my childhood in Reykjavik back in the 60s. You have the feeling that at least you know your life well and there is some truth in it that shines through in a film and that the audience can recognize. My father died when I was a young boy. But my mother is still alive (even though she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 years ago) and we have always had a very close relationship; she has been an important and positive part of my life and has shaped the way I am today. And then suddenly, with this disease, her characteristics began to change and I started seeing an alien person before me. I have seen films dealing with Alzheimer’s that are very bleak. I wanted to do this film differently and try to see the humour in my own situation; hence, a comedy about filmmaking and Alzheimer’s. In essence, the film can be described as an elegy to my mother.
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Cast & Crew

Produced by: Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Gudrun Edda Thorhannesdottir

Cinematography: Ari Kristinsson

Editing: Anders Refn, Sigvaldi J. Karason, Tomas Potocny

Production Design: Arni Pall Johannsson

Cast: Kristbjörg Kjeld, Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Gunnar Eyjolfsson, Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, Olafia Hrönn Jonsdottir, Inga María Valdimarsdottir

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2010