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Jar City

Iceland/Germany/Denmark 2006. Dir: Baltasar Kormákur. 93 min. DCP

Based on the bestseller by Icelandic crime novelist Arnaldur Indridason, Baltasar Kormákur’s Jar City announced the mini-boom of “Nordic noirs” that would gain huge international exposure with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Called in to investigate “a typical Icelandic murder: bloody and pointless,” hard-bitten, chain-smoking detective Erlendur (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson) discovers that the victim is connected to some nefarious goings-on three decades previously involving a dead child, a crooked cop, and an imprisoned criminal famous as “the most notorious maniac in Iceland.” In a parallel story, Örn (Atli Rafn Sigurdsson), a pathologist, desperately searches for the cause of his little daughter’s incurable hereditary disease. The motif of the past haunting the present through an inherited genetic “deviation” is a recurring Baltasar Kormákur theme. “An unusually forceful and thought-provoking thriller” (A.O. Scott, New York Times). Grand Prize, Karlovy Vary, 2007. — SG/TIFF