Noi Albinoi

Noi Albinoi

****

Reviewed by: Trinity

Noi is an albino. Well, not so much an albino as a pale, withdrawn 17-year-old, drifting in and out of life in a remote Icelandic village. Living with his kind, eccentric grandmother, trying to please his Elvis-loving, alcoholic father, struggling to fit in at school and playing games for porn are all part of his daily routine. This changes when Iris, the daughter of the local bookstore owner, arrives back from the city. Noi falls in love with this entrancing figure and sees a way of escaping from his icy, dead-end town.

From the first shots of the oppressive, frozen mountain overlooking the tiny village, there is a clear sense of the isolation and captivity felt by Noi. Trapped, both by an inability to conform and by his father's desire for him to achieve, he can only find solitude amongst the ice floes, or hidden in the basement. Yet his frustrated intelligence and sense of rebellion is forever simmering just under the surface.

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In a way, writer/director Dagur Kari uses his lead character as a metaphor for Iceland, itself. At one point, as Noi and Iris hide out in a museum, they come across an exhibit showing places on a map. But, as they discover, "There's no button for Iceland". Kari also captures the awkward first meetings between Noi and Iris in a touching manner, two souls caught in a permanent Seventies world.

Against a background of slow inevitability, he manufactures moments of deadpan humour - Noi's gran waking him with a shotgun, Noi and a priest haggling over the depth of a grave. These little touching scenes are signposts for the film's liberating, yet tragic, climax.

Kari draws out a wonderful performance from old schoolmate Tomas Lemarquis, as Noi, a complex and compelling character, while populating his village with a host of interesting amateurs. Cinematographer Rasmus Videbaek does a marvellous job of capturing the difficult snowy outdoor scenes and lights the internals with a blue cast, at once serene and unsettling. Kari lends a final hand by composing the ethereal score with his band, Slowblow, perfectly maintaining the balance of the movie.

Another assured debut from a small country of fine rebellious filmmakers.

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2003
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An icy tale of love and rebellion.
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Director: Dagur Kari

Writer: Dagur Kari

Starring: Tomas Lemarquis, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson, Elin Hansdottir, Anna Fridriksdottit, Hjalti Rognvaldsson

Year: 2003

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: Iceland

Festivals:

EIFF 2003

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