Wednesday, 25 November 2009

LEEDS FIM FEST REVIEW: White Night Wedding

One of the most absurdly comedic films I have seen in a long time! You just come out of it thinking, “blimey everyone in Iceland is nuts!”

The story is told in present time, but then we get flashbacks of the main character’s life from a year ago, too. They both have strong storylines, and because a degree of mystery is held within the flash backs (what happened to the first wife) it keeps you interested all the way through. Not that it wouldn’t anyway, because the characters and their zany ideas and habits keep you thoroughly entertained as the story rolls along.

Jon is getting married again but he doesn’t seem too happy about it, but his bride-to-be – one of his former students and a lot younger than he is  – adores him and can’t wait for the wedding. Her parents – battleaxe mother and drunken opera lover dad – want what’s best for their daughter, but the mother in particular doesn’t like Jon because he owes the family a lot of money from a ridiculous golf resort venture (very funny). His friend and best man/organist for the wedding shows up on the island where they live, and there’s time for a bit of drunken play and antics before the wedding the next day. Coupled with the extremely odd residents of the island (the shopkeeper is JUST like the hypochondriac shop worker in Amelie!) it all leads to one riot after the other.

There were some really funny scenes, mainly connected to Jon’s best friend Lars, and the vicar of the island who was BRILLIANT, and definitely my favourite character. I love how pissed off he gets at the wedding, has to apologise to God for being angry, and then goes outside to find it’s ‘raining money’ and whoops about trying to catch it all! hee hee. And the operatic dad was also amazing! He has so much contempt for his wife but it’s humourous, and the part where he gets really drunk and wades into the sea belting out an aria is priceless! At times it really reminded me of a Greek or a Roman comedy: based around the family archetype/group of drunken men and the humour very farcical. They sure as hell drink a lot of spirits over in Iceland! Loved the ending scene where they all chase after the absconded groom and they have to get married in the middle of the sea and hoist the vicar over on people’s shoulders so he can perform the rights! (I want a wedding in the sea!!)

I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get more of the beautiful landscapes referred to in the blurb: the island it was filmed on seemed quite a desolate place, but I loved the thought of it not ever getting dark on one night of the year, and how that must really screw with your body and mind – hence why all the drama and craziness and the wedding MUST happen on this day and no other!

Such a fun film to watch, and even though the underlying message is actually quite despondent and depressing compared to the energy and laughter of the story, you still come out of it with a big smile on your face. Fingers crossed for the Oscar nominations!

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