Monday, April 25, 2011

MSPIFF Revisited- Mamma Gógó

Mamma Gógó, 2010, A film written and directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson

Friðrik Þór Friðriksson has directed several notable movies, among them Niceland, Angels of the Universe, Devil's Island, Cold Fever, and Children of Nature. One trait in all of these is the great empathy he has for his characters. This film, loosely biographical, is about an Icelandic film-maker (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) whose latest film Children of Nature (as I said, "loosely" biographical) is doing poorly at the box office while at the same time his mother, Gógó, (Kristbjörg Kjeld) is rapidly developing an advanced case of Alzheimer's disease. This is, despite the plot, not a somber film. It isn't a comedy, but rather a realistic family drama with a vivid backdrop of modern Iceland. As the director's life crumbles, so does the relationship between Gógó and her children. The only person Gógó can communicate with is the ghost of her deceased husband, played by Gunnar Eyjólfsson. Gógó's fantasies develop, with memories of the early days of her courtship- played out in vintage black and white footage. The film's ending has an almost unbearable poignancy; be sure to bring some tissues, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson deserves a film festival of his own (or perhaps a box DVD set with Rokk í Reykjavík as an extra!)

The "film within the film":

79 af stöðinni, 1962, A film directed by Erik Balling

Starring: Kristbjörg Kjeld and Gunnar Eyjólfsson

NOTE: for MSP area readers: It will be screened again Friday, April 29, at 3:30 pm

By Professor Batty


Blogger Mary said...

I saw this on the flight to Iceland last October. I thought it was a good film, but IMHO it wasn't nearly as good in terms of production values, acting, script, etc. as "Cold Fever". Of course, watching a film on an airplane is not ideal.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Cold Fever is really in a class of one, I think. Kristbjörg has the stand out performance in Mamma Gógó- her children are not sympathetic characters, to say the least. The nuances of her portrayal as she deteriorates may have been lost on the small screen.

Blogger Darien Fisher-Duke said...

Once again I find myself jealous of Icelandic cultural opportunities in Minneapolis.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Rose ~ Friðrik Þór Friðriksson is some kind of genius "humanist" director. I don't have cable TV but if there was a Scandinavian film channel, I might be tempted. I would think that this would show up in NetFlix pretty soon. Maybe when the Apple TV "network" comes out in the fall they'll have access to these films.

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