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Nói Albinói
cast: Tómas Lemarquis, Thröstur Leó Gunnarsson, Elin Hansdóttir, Anna Fridriksdóttir, and Gerard Lemarquis

writer and director: Dagur Kári

88 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.75:1
Artificial Eye DVD Region 2 retail
Also available to buy on video
[released 19 July]

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Nói (Tómas Lemarquis) lives with his father and grandmother in a small village in the north of Iceland that's frequently cut off from the outside world by snow. He's delinquent at school and longs to break out of this small, isolated community. In particular, he wants to escape with Iris (Elin Hansdóttir), a city girl who has come back to the village to work in her father's shop.
   The title, which rhymes in Icelandic, was the starting point for writer-director Dagur Kári's first feature. There's no particular reason otherwise for Nói's albinism, except as a metaphor for his isolation. Kári does a capable job of conveying the atmosphere of life in a permanently frozen small community, but doesn't succeed in making Nói as sympathetic as he should be. Comparisons are made with Aki Kaurismäki and Jim Jarmusch and their influence is certainly felt, in this film's deadpan, miserabilist humour. However, at this stage Kári doesn't have those two director's stylistic assurance and wit, and the film's tragic ending doesn't come off. Nói Albinói (aka: Nói The Albino) is a film of promise rather than fulfilment, but fans of the above-named two directors or of Iceland's small but vibrant film industry would do worse than to give it a look.
   Artificial Eye have presented Nói Albinói on an impressive DVD, though some of its features aren't listed on the packaging. The disc has an anamorphic transfer in the ratio of 1.75:1 (that is, 16:9 with thin black bars at the sides). As well as the Dolby digital 2.0 soundtrack, there's an unannounced 5.1 track which for some reason is mixed considerably quieter than the 2.0. Also unannounced is a commentary track by Dagur Kári, interviewed by director and screenwriter Ásgrímur Sverrisson. This commentary is conducted in Icelandic, but subtitled in English. Other extras: deleted scenes, a making-of documentary, an interview with Dagur Kári, and biographies of Kári and Sverrisson.

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