SIFF watch : Huldufolk 102 [3.5/5], reminders

Huldufolk102 Moss

  • If it wasn’t so gosh darn charming, we might send in a team of clinical psychologists to investigate a national psychosis. Instead, we have a first time documentary filmmaker examining Iceland’s belief in a parallel universe inhabited by hidden people and elves. Huldufólk 102 [siff] is built around a collection of interviews with Icelanders young and old, clairvoyant and religious, farmers and scientists who mostly believe in the existence of usually unseen creatures who inhabit their country’s nicer rocks. The subjects display an astonishing level of sincerity in their descriptions of personal experiences with supernatural phenomena; even skeptics concede to diplomatic arrangements with the Huldufólk, evidenced by taking their elves’ needs into consideration in the construction of roads around “inhabited” rocks. The film includes a little discussion about the role of pagan beliefs in modern Icelandic Christianity, the dark side of the hidden people lore (a sort of karma police), or their influence in promoting responsible environmental stewardship, but the majority is occupied with first-hand experiences. It takes a lot of these for the cynic to realize that the whole thing isn’t some sort of cute fabrication — while only ten percent of the island’s small population actively believes, there are another 80% who refuse to deny the existence of this hidden world. What comes up in conversation after conversation is a touching desire to believe that they are not as alone as they think they are, a sensible reaction to centuries of geographic isolation and seasons spent in complete darkness. It’s unfortunate that the digital camerawork really isn’t up to the task of capturing Iceland’s obvious natural beauty. More than a few of the shots are grainy, and the handheld camerawork often has a Blair Witch feel. A lot of the heavy lifting of emotional engagement is accomplished with the help of Sigur Rós, Amina, and Múm on the soundtrack. Still, it is an interesting phenomenon; hearing about it directly from true believers and modest skeptics is a fascinating experience. (2:00 pm at the Broadway Performance Hall)
  • Today is your last chance to catch the surprisingly funny upstairs-downstairs antics of two very different approaches to intimacy avoiders in A Soap [mb]. It’s also the final screening Dark Horse [mb], which is still my favorite film of the festival. See them both at Pacific Place (4:15 and 6:45, respectively)

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.