Cold Fever is now open for discussion

Our June 2007 film selection, Cold Fever, is now open for discussion. Members who would like to Post an Official Commentary here are welcome to do so (Contact Ron or Roger if you would like to have posting priveleges to this blogsite). Anyone, member or not, can place brief comments here by simply clicking on the comments button.


One thought on “Cold Fever is now open for discussion

  1. Director, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, founded the ICELANDIC FILM CORPORATION in the early 80’s, setting up alliances with others like Lars Von Trier’s ZENTROPIA, and Francis Ford Coppola’s AMERICAN ZEOTROPE. Fridriksson’s film, CHILDREN OF NATURE (1991) was nominated for an Oscar as “Best Foreign Film”. He is known for releasing films that are both deeply personal and that have narratives that are deeply rooted in Icelandic culture, full of stirring imagery, and sprinkled with his wry sense of humor. COLD FEVER (1995) won a director’s award at THE EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL in 1995. Lili Taylor, with her small cameo in the film, won a Best Actress Award at THE SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in 1996.

    Masatoshi Nagase played the protagonist, Hirata. He exhibited the proper sense of wonder as his mute Commedia character wandered wide-eyed in the winter wasteland, but for me he never seemed to demonstrate either the depth of character, or the spiritual growth that I wanted to experience through him. Maybe it was a problem with the character as written, penned by the director, Fridriksson. I recalled Nagase as Jun, the Japanese tourist adrift in Memphis in Jim Jarmusch’s MYSTERY TRAIN (1989). In that film he was able to show a somewhat wider range of emotions and transitions. He was interesting recently as Ryosuke in THE SEA IS WATCHING (2002) –the paean to Kurosawa. I think I gained more insight into a Japanese tourist as a stranger in a strange land watching Gotaro Tsunashima as Hiromitsu, wandering about in Australia while romancing Toni Collette in JAPANESE STORY (2003).

    Lili Taylor and Fisher Stevens were quite a bundle of cranky electricity mid-film as the eccentric, possibly lethal, American tourists who stole his ancient Citroen. Gisli Halldorsson was very warm and intriguing as the kind stranger who meets him in a pub and decides to assist him on his odd quest to reach a distant riverbank, the scene of his parent’s death in a car accident several years prior. In honoring his Japanese traditions, forcing himself to give up his Hawaiian golf vacation, Hirata also found himself immersed in several Icelandic traditions that never made sense to him, or to us. The actress who played the character that “collects funerals” livened up the screen a bit.

    I did enjoy the cinematography by Ari Kristinsson, giving us the definite feeling of desolation on some distant planet of ice, or moonscape. I responded well to the notion that in Iceland, people could see, could share space with ghosts. Hirata encountered more than his share of them, although his parents never made an appearance. The shrill ghost of a child that through her screams unfroze his Citreon was very freaky, as frightening as it was helpful.

    This film was very “watchful”, and it had an ironclad sense of place; somewhere most of us had never been before. Even though the characters moved in and out of the story rapidly, and we were overwhelmed with the cascades of oddity and humor –I never felt like I was watching a road movie. Actually it made me pine for a viewing of HARRY AND TONTO (1974) with Art Carney, and/or THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999) with Richard Farnsworth.


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