Posted by: Ben Hopkins | 30/06/2009

Cold Fever / Á köldum klaka

Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
Year: 1995

Less iconic than the famous Icelandic film Reykjavik 101, Cold Fever is nonetheless the perfect film to wet the appetite of anyone planning a visit to the land of fire and ice.

Our hero is Hirata (Masatoshi Nagase), a Japanese businessman looking forward to a golfing holiday in Hawaii. That is until he’s reminded of his duty to fulfill an anniversary ritual at the location of his parents’ death. Unfortunately for him, that means a journey to deepest Iceland. I’ve never been to Hawaii but it seems safe to assume that the two places don’t share many attributes, although Iceland looks to be a pretty enticing location for the sport.

The magic of Cold Fever is that it encompasses so much of what an outsider expects from the country. Sure, the weirdness of the locals is exaggerated almost to the point of parody and the film is largely based outside of any regular tourist spots, but if you want a film that touches upon everything that makes the country seem such an unusual prospect – the inhospitable roads, the beautiful scenery, the cold, the Brennivin, the folklore, the ubiquitous questioning of “how do you like Iceland?” – you can’t go wrong.

Masatoshi Nagase as Hirata

Masatoshi Nagase as Hirata

Yet Cold Fever’s appeal isn’t limited to the Icelandophile. Hirata’s spiritual, bittersweet roadtrip with its bizarre humour and carefully emoted sentimentality is far more important to the film’s success than its references to Icelandic stereotypes and foibles. The film’s pacing is sedate – slow even – but that suits a charming tale that’s high on poignancy and on the just about plausible side of fantastical reality.

Cold Fever can be purchased online at Nammi.

“Excuse me… is this Reykjavik?”

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