Posted by: Ben Hopkins | 20/12/2009

Give Us This Day / Íslands þúsund ár

Director: Erlendur Sveinsson
Year: 1997

The role of the fisherman is embedded deeper into the Icelandic psyche than almost every other society in the world. It’s an industry omnipresently referenced, from the works of Halldor Laxness right up to one of the most memorial scenes in Kaldaljós.

Give Us This Day

Give Us This Day / Íslands þúsund ár examines a typical day in the life of a pre-industrial Icelandic fishing crew. Their job is one of extreme peril. Reliant on simplistic science, solid planning and religion and superstition, the team’s own expertise and basic wooden vessel is all that stands between a successful day’s work and catastrophe.

Understandably lower key than contemporary depictions of the modern industry such as BBC documentary Trawlermen, Give Us This Day is built around shots that exemplify the immense danger of the fishermen’s solitude and an understated narration that compliments the woozy tide of their work.

Although Give Us This Day will be of prime interest to documentarians and those with a scholarly interest in the fishing industry, there’s enough here to provide moments of fascination; the methods the workers used to ascertain a rewarding fishing location, the extreme endurance needed to survive or the often terrible effects that such intense, cold work have on the human body.

Give Us This Day is free to stream in Icelandic or English at Poppoli’s new Kultur page that highlights Icelandic documentaries.

“Everything depends on the mercy of God.”

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