Category: Films

Isolation in Iceland: thoughts on I Remember You

Having read Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s novel I Remember You (Ég man þig) and seen the film adaptation, I found myself thinking about the theme of isolation.

A group of three adults head from Reykjavík to a remote outcrop of the Westfjords where they plan to do up an abandoned house and set it up as a B&B. The house is one of a few scattered buildings in all that remains of the abandoned village of Heysteri. Although not an island, it can only be reached by boat as there’s no roads over the mountain. In summer, it’s busy with visitors who want to climb or walk the hills and mountains that surround the area, but come winter and you are entirely cut off and alone.

In Ísafjörður, a boat ride away, lives a psychiatrist whose son has disappeared. His marriage collapsed in the face of their family tragedy, and he endures emotional isolation. He’s started to see what is either an apparition or a hallucination of his missing son. And a local woman, who was obsessed with the boy’s disappearance, has hanged herself in a church – which, it just so happens, had been moved from Heysteri and rebuilt.

Sigurðardóttir usually writes crime fiction, but even her “straight” crime fiction contains supernatural elements, be they a character’s fascination with seventeenth-century witchcraft, or the legend of babies who can still be heard crying on the rocks where they were left to die of exposure. There’s lots to learn by osmosis about Icelandic history, culture and traditions in her work.

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Review: Spectre, or, UnSpectretacular

Whoever Photoshopped this, you are amazing.

Whoever Photoshopped this, you are amazing.

Warning: spoiler-laden.

I am a Bond fan. I have read all the Ian Fleming novels, and the short stories, and Kingsley Amis’ study The James Bond Dossier. When I was 19 I wrote a novella called Lament For a Trapped Spy, about a 1960s Bond fan. I am hugely fascinated by the Cold War and by figures like Kim Philby. My favourite era are the 1960s Bond films – even On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – and the Daniel Craig films. I’ve never been that fond of Roger Moore, and whilst Timothy Dalton was my favourite Bond when I was 13 (because I fancied him as Mr Rochester) I grew out him. Sorry, Tim. And Pierce Brosnan was a bit too much like an estate agent for my liking. I know James Bond is not politically correct. I am a good feminist and I shouldn’t like the films and books, but I appreciate them for what they are, and it’s possible to enjoy them as period pieces, even if that can set up problems for the contemporary films.

When the publicity began for Spectre, I was very excited. Daniel Craig as Bond again! The brutal, cold-eyed assassin! Oh yes! If anyone could convincingly operate a blow-torch using his teeth (as Fleming has Bond do in Moonraker – really) then it would be Craig.

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