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Five Icelandic Films We Love

Five Icelandic Films We Love

Like everything else in Iceland, the nation's native cinema is highly unique. But among the five Icelandic flicks we shortlisted, we were able to find some loosely related American counterparts—most of the time.


 

 

101 Reykjavík

The gist: A 28-year-old from the neighborhood of the title has mommy issues galore: He still lives with a mother who bathes him, and after bedding the lesbian who steals Mom’s heart, he might be the father of the baby the women plan to raise together.

Its American cousin: The Kevin Smith double feature of Mallrats and Chasing Amy, which star Jason Lee as, respectively, a rudderless geek and part of a love triangle involving a woman who swings both ways.

 


 



 

 

Either Way

The gist: Two men spend their days painting lines on Iceland’s remote roads, while the mythical and the intimate shake up their quotidian work.

Its American cousin: Prince Avalanche, David Gordon Green’s 2013 remake, which starred Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, relocated to rural Texas, but retained the original’s material, sometimes word for (translated) word.

 


 



 

 


Eleven Men Out

The gist: After coming out, the star player of a pro Icelandic soccer team is forced to join an amateur league, which is stocked with other gay men and soon goes up against the homophobic pros — on Gay Pride Day, of course.

Its American cousin: Hollywood isn’t crawling with gay sports titles, so we’ll give this one to the ladies, who in A League of Their Own prove they can handle a little “dirt in the skirt.”

 


 



 

 

Noi the Albino

The gist: The eponymous, whip-smart high schooler in this 2003 gem is a walking contradiction: He lacks pigment, but there’s more vibrancy in his rebellious persona than in most of his neighbors combined.

Its American cousin: Powder, a supernatural ’90s drama about an albino teen with telepathic powers, history’s highest IQ, and plenty of sunblock.

 


 



 

 

Of Horses and Men

The gist: A study of man, beast, and their undeniable links, this pitch-black comedy homes in on Iceland’s miniature horse breed and its curious equestrians, who are slaves to nature’s inflexible will.

Its American cousin: Nada. Sorry, Seabiscuit, but this is a true original, reflective of Iceland’s alternately bleak and warm sense of humor — which can shift on a dime.

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