Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

The Sea 2002


Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

France / Iceland / Norway In Icelandic with English subtitles
110 minutes 35mm


Baltasar Kormákur, Olafur Haukur Símonarson. Based on a play by Símonarson


Jean-Louis Vialard


Jón Ásgeirsson


Gunnar Eyjólfsson
Kristbjörg Kjeld
Hilmir Snær Guonason
Hélène de Fougerolles


Toronto 2002; Sundance, Rotterdam, San Francisco 2003


The Sea was Iceland’s biggest movie from anywhere in 2002. Seething with conflict between a Lear-like fishing magnate and his conniving adult children, its picture of provincial decline and a young generation defecting to Europe clearly struck chords. A genre leap for the director of the jokey 101 Reykjavík, its cynical view of family warfare is not without humour. The setting, a small fishing town trapped between gigantic mountains and roaring seas is drama in its own right.

“The kids want their father, Thórdur to sell out, divide the profits, and retire to Reykjavík; Thórdur, raging like King Lear raised on herring, values loyalty to his workers and other traditional virtues, but in his stubbornness refuses to accept his country's changed economy, or his own family’s misery… Kormákur makes sure viewers are aware of the effects of capitalism, modernization, and cultural homogenization, at least on one little patch of Iceland where elk roam the streets but kids order pizzas and prefer playing videogames to admiring the briny majesty of the damn sea.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly