Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Gunnar Eyjólfsson, Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Hélène de Fougerolles, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Sven Nordin
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
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A True Holiday Film, Painful Dark Humor that comes after
MontezumesRevenge | West Coast , USA | 02/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love dysfunctional holiday films that portray reality, this is it. (the holiday stuff is in the background) If you are sick to death of Smarmy, Gooey "Family" films that make you feel horrible because there's no way your family will ever be like that---this is for you. If your family is really dysfunctional, and you feel totally alone on the holidays, this movie will let you know other people understand. Everybody shafts each other in the end here..a type of King Lear. I didn't find it really humorous until I thought about it later.The ugliness of the people's behavior is strongly contrasted against the AMAZING beauty of the landscapes.The middle-aged dad calls all his kids home around the holidays to have a chat. He's got something to tell. They are licking their chops hoping for an inheritance, money or news that he's selling the family fish processing plant. They think they are going to be RICH! This is the moment they've been waiting for!
(Boy have I seen this before where the kids are handed money all their lives without responsibility and too much trust.) In fact, one of the sons & his wife are already swindling him, embezzling & trying to sell it out from under him. Another son has for years been taking his father's money for education and been living on it as a musician. Another daughter took the father's money for her education and became a film maker. A self-destructive girl cousin is always hanging around and is obsessively in love with the musician.
All great if you can pay for it, but not one of these adult kids chose a career that is self-supporting. They all think there's more money where that came from. When they all come back to town, they fall back into the crazy activities that are common, at least to my area of small towns----random, angry sex and drinking. In fact, these kids are seething with anger, even the musician.
Apparently when the Mother was dying, both the parents and the aunt didn't handle things very well...and maybe there's nothing to be done to prevent such rage. Maybe if the parents had discussed her impending death, maybe if the Dad and Aunt had been more assertive and upfront. There was no talking about the dying and death, just the Dad and especially the Aunt acting like servants. The Dad doesn't want to sell the business because he values the community and people, and he wants the musician---which he thinks has been studying business, to come back and manage. If he sells the business, it will kill the community as it is the main source of income.
Anyway, when the doodie hits the fan, it was nice to see the kids start pillaging the house, as I have seen in my family and others. They think they are getting nothing, so they become animals and steal cheapo crap. It was nice to see that the Dad had a "nice" reward for them in the end too. It was good to see the Aunt finally stand up to the kids.Other Realistic Holiday films: I would also recommend "Stuart Saves His Family", "Home for the Holidays" and "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation"Note: if you want to prevent "greed gone beserk" in your family, look into "Incentive Trusts" on the web. Bad stuff happens to a lot of folks, ask them what happened in the family after "money-bags" died, or how did the kids turn out when everything was given not earned. You would be amazed at the stories I have heard or seen."
SEA for Yourself!
Edward Lee | 05/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Believe it or not, the kind folks at Sundance finally got it right in giving high marks to THE SEA!A great family drama told against the backdrop of the small town psyche, THE SEA tells the story of how one family -- shackled with more inner conflict that Bergman could shake a stick at -- deals with the emotions, the conflicts, and the disappointments of life itself. As the family business falls apart, so do the siblings until we eventually learn that it isn't so much what we leave behind that affects us but rather it's the scars that run deep from questionable moral choices.However, at the core of the picture is a statement on life in small towns. The regular characters are fleshed out, given real traits (scheming and devious is the one daughter-in-law as well as giddily promiscuous is the one daughter), and allowed to interact with one another in ways that are entirely credible and, at times, downright funny. The back-stabbing nature of the small town mind is underscored almost at every turn (the way everyone is "in your business," whether you want them or not), and the film moves along briskly while stopping every now and then to bring the viewer back to that central underlying current.Despite being set almost entirely in a small fishing town, the film is shot with a great scope, at times defying the principle message of the claustrophobia that typical goes hand-in-hand with small town mentality. Additionally, the film is populated with some background characters (the local policeman is a great example) who don't play any important role but serve to reinforce that no matter how far you may try to run from yourself, you're always still going to be who you're meant to.A mildly tragic ending (coupled with a family blow-up about incidents that happened long ago) make THE SEA a complex little drama well worth one sailing."
Edward Aycock | New York, NY United States | 04/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film has great photography and excellent acting; as a story though, it treads familiar (i.e., Bergmanesque) ground. The coming together of a family, the revelations within, the incestuous leanings are nothing new. The characters seem to have been pulled from central casting for Dysfunctional Family Dramas. The runaway son, the daughter with the oafish husband, the son who stayed on, the disenchanted grandchild ... they're all here. The facet of this film that doesn't ring true is the calling together of all the children and then the waiting period before the father tells them why they are there. This is a tired device and most people wouldn't sit and wait while their father gives them annoyingly cryptic answers to their questions. It's time we had a family drama where things are played out a bit more realistically. Obviously that film won't come from Hollywood, so I look to Europe to deliver. Kudos to the great acting, I just wish it had been around a stronger plot."
Sharp, steamy, wild and funny
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 02/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This reminds me a bit of French family dramas with skeletons in the closet revealed amidst festive holiday get-togethers. But Director Baltasar Kormakur's Icelanders are decidedly on the wild side, corrupt, and often sloppy drunk. Their dialogue is sharp and rough, their language biting and crude, their behavior violent.
The story is a bit familiar with the head of a fishing family getting old and worrying about the business he has built. Currently running it is his elder son who does not inspire confidence. In fact, he frequently goes against the old man's wishes. But it soon becomes clear that the old man has lost his judgment and is living in the past, and it is he who is detrimental to the company's bottom line.
Plot point one is the return of the favorite son with his pregnant girl friend. This is the son who should be running the company, the patriarch believes. However the son has no interest in living out his life in the fishing village and neither does his girl friend. The girl friend is the objectifying element in the story, and we are compelled to see the story from her point of view.
Also returning are the daughter and her husband. Together she and the older son conspire to wrest control of the company from the father...and then all hell breaks loose.
Complicating matters is the fact that Kristin, the favorite son's old girl friend (and half-sibling), is still madly in love with him and won't let him go.
What makes this work is a steamy script with some laugh-out-loud moments, and a careful, atmospheric direction that shows a way of life that is familiar but distant. This is ultimately a story about the encroachment of the modern world on an Icelandic fishing village. It could be a fishing village anywhere.
See this for Baltasar Kormakur, a film maker of promise."