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Life in a Fishbowl

(Vonarstræti)
Iceland/Finland/Sweden 2014. Dir: Baldvin Zophoníasson. 129 min. DCP

Baldvin Zophoníasson’s second feature transplants the interconnected multiple-narrative model popularized by filmmakers like Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson to Reykjavik, with powerful and affecting results. Eik is a single mother struggling to make ends meet by any means possible. Gústi is a former athlete who’s now trying to climb the corporate ladder and deal with a dictatorial boss. Móri is a once-respected author who now appears to be a full-time drunk. Baldvin shuttles between these three characters — who eventually intersect in surprising ways — while using their stories to address pressing contemporary issues, including the kreppa (the 2008 financial crisis). One of the country’s most successful domestic hits in recent memory, Life in a Fishbowl is rightly assuming its status as one of the key Icelandic films of the decade. Winner of 12 Edda Awards (Iceland’s Oscars). — SG/TIFF