01 October, 2008

Börn (Children) (2006)

Suffer the children...

Börn (Children), certainly starts as it means to go on - two young troublemakers break into an older man’s home after he unwittingly answers the door. Laying his DVDs to waste, one of the pair (wonderfully acted by Gísli Örn Gardarsson) shouts: “What's this? Black and white arty-farty shit?” A referential nod...

Ragnar Bragason, who made Fíaskó/Fiasco in 2000, once again uses actors from Vesturport, a Dogma-esque theatre group that employs stylistic techniques that take their inspiration from Mike Leigh, Luc Godard and John Cassavetes. There is a revitalizing zing and sense of genuine characterizations here that's often lacking in more contrived, narrative-driven dramas.

Karítas (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir) is a single mother of four struggling to keep her head above the water, but who has to make sideline money by stealing and selling drugs from the hospital where she works as a nurse. But her own concerns blind her to the problems of her own children, especially her oldest son Gudmundur ( the excellentAndri Snaer Helgason), who lacks a strong male role-model and is being bullied at school. The 12-year-old’s only friend is Marino (Olafur Darri Olafsson), who lives in the same building with his single mother, loves to play football, but who is nearly 40.

Börn offers a fresh approach to parent-child relations, with characters that are not always likeable, but definitely credible and, in addition, Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson's superb, crisp black-and-white cinematography gives a rarely seen perspective on Iceland.

Awards: Click here for more details.

93 mins. In Icelandic. Black & White/Colour.

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