Films & Schedules

  • White Night Wedding

  • Baltasar Kormákur

96 minutes

Production Company:
Blueeyes Productions
Executive Producer:
Lilja Pálmadóttir
Agnes Johansen, Baltasar Kormákur
Baltasar Kormákur, Ólafur Egill Egilsson
Production Designer:
Atli Geir Grétarsson, Gretar Reynisson
Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson
Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
Kjartan Kjartansson
Sigurður Bjóla Garðarsson, Jón Ólafsson
Principal Cast: Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, Laufey Elíasdóttir, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jóhann Sigurðarson

International Sales Agent:
Celluloid Dreams

Sunday September 0706:15PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0812:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1203:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

As anyone familiar with his work can confirm, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur is one of the most consistently intriguing and adventurous filmmakers to emerge from the Nordic region in the last decade. Regular Festival-goers need no introduction: all of Kormákur's features have played here, beginning with his debut, 101 Reykjavík. Kormákur is also a respected stage director in Iceland, and his latest film, White Night Wedding, skilfully combines his interests in both cinema and theatre. It is, incidentally, already one of the highest-grossing domestic hits in Icelandic film history.

Kormákur's most assured and ambitious film to date, White Night Wedding updates and modernizes Anton Chekhov's Ivanov and transplants it to Flatey, a remote island off Iceland's north shore. Jon, a literature professor, is about to marry his former student Thora. Her parents, Lalli and Sísí, are the island's most prominent family, owning its only pub, guest house and convenience store. The impending nuptials are endangered by financial disputes – a business deal between Jon and Thora's parents went sour – and by Jon's past. This is not his first marriage, and Jon's guilt over the way things ended with his first wife and his doubts about his worthiness may be the biggest stumbling blocks to the wedding. As Thora points out, Jon tends to make things complicated.

The film's tone is as much A Midsummer Night's Dream as it is Chekhov. The exceedingly eccentric wedding party, guests and hangers-on offer their own, usually comic, solutions to various dilemmas, while the complete absence of night (the story takes place during the infamous “white nights” season) drives everyone more than a little batty. Beautifully edited and structured, White Night Wedding shuttles back and forth between the present and the past (specifically, the collapse of Jon's previous relationship), creating a floating sense of uncertainty that mirrors the characters' physical and emotional situations and Jon's innate, dogged pessimism. Kormákur also slyly toys with stage conventions and Chekhov's own symbolic language. For instance, a seagull inexplicably plummets from the sky in one of the opening scenes. Throughout, Kormákur expertly juggles tones, creating a space where near-slapstick set pieces sit comfortably alongside more traditionally Chekhovian forays into the darker, more perverse regions of the human soul.

Steve Gravestock

Baltasar Kormákur was born in Reykjavík. His first film, 101 Reykjavík (00), shared the Discovery Award at the Festival. His subsequent features are The Sea (02), A Little Trip to Heaven (05), Jar City (06) and White Night Wedding (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award