Director: Ragnar Bragason
Ragnar Bragason continued the themes presented in Börn / Children with the following year’s Foreldrar / Parents.
This time around Ingvar E. Sigurðsson is the focal point with another of his minor visual transformations, this time as Oskar, a dentist who is desperately trying to convince his wife to have a child. His new assistant Katrin (Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir) has recently returned to Iceland from Sweden and has troubles of her own, namely a near non-existent relationship with her son who has been raised by his grandmother. Meanwhile, Einar (Víkingur Kristjánsson) excels at business, but sucks at life.
Foreldrar obviously holds a full range of similar traits to its predecessor, especially in its central ideas and visual riffs (and observant viewers will also spot the reprisal of the previous film’s key players). It’s certainly the more restrained of the two, which is hardly surprising given the dynamic role of Gardar in Börn, but it does possess its own peculiar strengths. Katrin is stuck in a long distance relationship which is as bleakly humorous as any created by Todd Solondz, and a particularly compelling scene in which Einar gets overly confrontational with his wife in an upmarket restaurant also recalls Solondz’s compulsion to provoke awkward laughs out of the public humiliation of a dying or unrequited love.
That scene is one of the rare examples of Foreldrar reaching a dramatic flourish. Generally it has an even greater tendency to offer snippets of information, leaving viewers free to construct their own links between what is presented and what has actually happened. While it’s likely that Foreldrar won’t be quite as accessible to those who missed the first installment it’s of a very similar quality; in fact, those who consider subtlety to be an important trait may well consider it to be the superior of the cinematic twins.
Thanks to Nammi for providing the DVD.
“Isn’t that your wife? Aren’t you going to talk to her?”