The Null Device

Film Festival: Tonight I went to see a film named 101 Reykjavik; it was from Iceland (naturally), and about a shiftless, socially inept twentysomething slacker in Reykjavik who ends up getting his mother's lesbian lover (played by sultry Spanish actress Victoria Abril, who will be well known to Almodovar fans) pregnant. It was quite an enjoyable film; not quite as arty as Angels of the Universe, but quite amusing, and with some poetic moments and some breathtaking outdoor visuals (as may be expected in an Icelandic film). The dialogue was mostly in Icelandic (with subtitles) though partly in English, as Abril's character (being from Spain) didn't speak Icelandic (and, this film would suggest, many people in Iceland can understand and speak English). The music was by Damon Albarn and one of the former members of the Sugarcubes (that's the Ickle One's old band, of course), and featured some amusingly cheesy electronic takes on the Kinks' Lola.

After this, I saw Bells From The Deep, a Werner Herzog documentary about mysticism and the occult in a remote corner of Russia (near the Mongolian border). It included a lot of outré bits, including elderly people crawling around a sacred tree stump, tales of visions of hidden cathedrals and apparitions, and pilgrims crawling along thin ice to pay tribute to the fabled city of Kitezh, said to be hidden at the bottom of the lake (where the Mongol hordes couldn't sack it, of course), as well as footage of locals lining up to buy "consecrated water", a Jesus-lookalike in elaborately embroidered velvet robes spouting mystical mumbo-jumbo and blessing people, and Mongolian throat singing (including, very possibly, the same sample the KLF used on Chill Out, or maybe not).

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