Iceland, Year Zero (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byJennifer Tate05/06/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 52 mins

A beautiful shot and poignant documentary focused on the aftermath of Iceland’s financial crash, Iceland, Year Zero carries a cautionary tale but thanks to its meagre running time, there’s a sense that the film never really gets going.

What’s it all about?
After three of its major privately owned commercial banks collapsed in 2008, Iceland (once one of the richest countries in the world) experienced a catastrophic economic crash, causing its inhabitants to lose their jobs and life savings in what was one of the largest financial crises of all time. Directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnusson and Armande Chollat-Namy, Iceland, Year Zero explores the devastating aftermath of Iceland’s bankruptcy, speaking to a select group of Icelanders that were directly impacted by the crisis and examining the effect that the catastrophe had on Icelandic life.

The Good
Iceland, Year Zero is a short, but straight-to-the-point documentary that provides an edifying and rather heartrending account of how Iceland’s economic crash impacted its blameless natives. Magnusson and Chollat-Namy select and chat to a satisfying mix of local inhabitants, who interestingly discuss their idea of what makes an Icelandic individual, how the crash affected them directly and why some of them chose to turn their back on the country completely. Through subtitles, Iceland, Year Zero provides brief, but no-nonsense facts about the history of Iceland’s financial state, America’s involvement and how the country came to a crash, and they work well alongside the rest of the documentary’s varied footage.

The Equally Good
Both the music and cinematography in Iceland, Year Zero are beautiful and appropriate with the stunning shots of Iceland’s glacial deserted landscapes providing a poignant metaphor for the country’s current state. The film never strays from interesting and engaging but this could well be down to the fact that it’s a mere 52 minutes long and therefore doesn’t really give itself any chances to make any disastrous mistakes. As a result, it can feel like the film is over before it’s even begun.

Worth seeing?
There’s nothing jaw-droppingly magnificent about Iceland, Year Zero, but this short and straight-to-the-point documentary is often visually stunning and emotional to watch. Worth seeking out.

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Content updated: 19/04/2019 05:40

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