Brúðguminn (White Night Wedding), 2008
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Icelandic with English subtitles, 96 min.
Jon, a middle-aged professor is going to get married tomorrow, for the second time, to one of his ex-students half his age. But it’s not all roses. First, there’s his cranky mother-in-law-to-be who violently opposes the marriage and who demands repayment of Jon’s loan before the wedding night. Second, his plans to build a golf course on the little island of Flatey where they live aren’t going at all to plan. Third, his extremely drunk best man is on the loose without any shoes and lastly, the continual presence of his emotional first wife is haunting his every move. When the guests start flocking to the island, Jon starts getting cold feet. (imdb)
White Night Wedding can avoid excessive exposition in favour of advancing the plot at pace. The bizarre society of the tiny island Flatey is made vivid, and it is clear Kormákur is quite comfortable in the rural regions of his homeland after the success of both this film and Jar City in making the most barren parts of Iceland appealing. There is a progressive decline into absurdity in its latter stages, as the first two-thirds of the film demonstrate a deft wit and contain enough drama to balance the unbalanced behaviour of the supporting cast. It is really only in the wedding sequence that balance is lost and the film resorts to slapstick – while some will find this hilarious, it won’t be for everyone. Based on the Chekov play ‘Ivanov’, White Night Wedding could hardly be blamed for sticking around to make its point, and yet the film feels to have reached its natural ending only to continue for another ten minutes or so and have its meaning entirely changed. (Mark Lavercombe)
Screening: May 13th, 6 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.