DIR: NIETZCHKA KEENE. WITH: BJÖRK, BRYNDIS PETRA BRAGADÓTTIR, VALDIMAR ÖRN FLYGENRING. ICELAND 1990.
A heartbreakingly fresh-faced Bjork stars in Nietzchka Keene’s mystical and haunting fairytale, lavishly restored for this long-awaited reissue. Filmed in rich monochrome, the film draws loose inspiration from a macabre tale from the Brothers Grimm to weave a mysterious spell that audiences will find hard to shake off. Sisters Margit (Björk) and Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir) have fled their village after their mother is killed for alleged witchcraft. On the run in the harsh landscape, the sisters encounter a widower named Johann (Valdimar Örn Flygenring), and his son Jonas (Geirlaug Sunna Þormar). The quartet form an uneasy family unit, which is troubled by Johann’s growing attraction to Katla and her own burgeoning supernatural powers. Björk’s considerable fan-base won’t want to miss her screen debut. Yet her performance, vital and riveting as it is, is far from the film’s only draw. Viewers will find themselves seduced by the film’s timeless, dreamlike air, the echoes of Bergman, Dreyer and Lynch, and the dark delight of its revisionist ending.
Screening as part of CINECITY: THe Brighton Film Festival 2019. Each year, CINECITY takes you on adventures in world cinema, bringing you the best in festival previews, live cinema and archive treasures.