Baltazar Kormakur is already a well-known European director since his successful debut “101 Reykjavik” (2000). But he also has a very serious and obviously useful experience as an actor in the films of his famous fellow-countryman Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, as well as being a successful theater director in his native Iceland and abroad. So the success of his second feature film “The Sea” is normal and logical considering his talent. As a director in “The Sea” he stakes on the firm classical dramaturgy in the best traditions of Scandinavian psychological drama (symbolized by Ibsen) and builds his film on two subject and problem levels. On the first of them the conflicts explode in the big conservative family of the father – a patriarchal “dictator” who is unable to overcome himself and persistently seeks to impose his will in spite of the obviously changing relationships of the people around him. But on the second level the great economic globalization undermines the survival of his small countryside fish-processing factory. In a wise, sound and talented manner Baltazar Kormakur connects these two layers of the film by the parabola of his director’s idea and they function as a whole convincing message for the viewer. What is crucial for the success of the film is the sound traditional dramaturgy (Baltazar Kormakur & Olafur Haukur Simonarson, based on his play), the very precise performances, Jon Asgerison’s music and the beautiful Nordic landscapes captured by the cameraman Jean-Louis Vialard. But of course behind all this is the confident director’s work of Baltazar Kormakur. This film obviously implies his further success. Let us watch him carefully.
© FIPRESCI 2003