Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nói The Albino

This is a very low key movie! The video had been sitting in Civic Video for months, tantalising me: the fact it was on video was one of the reasons for me finding a video player on trademe, since almost everything else comes on DVD these days.

The story is very simple: Nói (who doesn't seem to be an albino at all) lives in a small town in Iceland. There is talk that he might be the village idiot, but I tend to think he is simply too smart for it: he is, after all, able to solve Rubik's Cube while being chastised (in a very gentle way) by his headmaster and discusses Kierkegaard. His town simply has nothing to offer him but there is no way out: school is boring, the only job possibility for him seems to be as a gravedigger (in Iceland, remember, so it has got to be hard work!), his dad is a bit of a layabout (no doubt, representing Nói's own future), he has no friends. Not, that is, until Iris turns up to work at the local service station: he is told by her dad to keep his hands off her or be killed, but Nói doesn't listen.

So, the movie is largely about (a) what this small town life is like (I never imagined that Kareoke had got so far!) and (b) Nói's attempts to escape it. He wants Iris to run away with him, he does make a dash for it at one stage but is foiled by nature, and so he spends a lot of time retreating to his basement hideaway under a trapdoor or looking at pictures of palmtrees on some South Pacific Paradise through a vewmaster. The turning point comes when Nói, already a poor attender at school, has a taperecorder deputise for him: this angers the otherwise kindly headmaster so much that Nói is expelled. After that, there is nowhere for him to go and his need to leave becomes more urgent. In a fairly rare moment of humour, albeit bleak, he tries to rob the local bank, to be told "go home, Nói".

Every so often, the camera would linger upon the surrounding (small) mountains - I'm not sure whether in a premonitary manner or not, but there is a sudden edge introduced to the film when Nói has his fortune told. He is a disbeliever, and so expects a vague prediction of change: the fortune telling fellow reads the tealeaves, shudders and only when pressed says "I can only see death". Sure enough, there is a tragedy which wipes out nearly everyone in the village who matters to Nói, leaving him to re-imagine his life.

The team making this film ran a fairly big risk, that of making a boring film in their efforts to depict a boring life, but there was enough drama to keep my interest and I found myself hoping that, somehow, Nói would get ahead. It would be horrible to see him in 25 or 30 years, still there like his father, drinking heavily and obsessed with someone as irrelevant to Iceland as Elvis Presley.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home