“Heartstone” (“Hjartasteinn”, 2016) by Guomundur Arnar Guomundsson, broods as it presents a somewhat tragic friendship between two teenage boys growing up in if fishing villag. (Dyrhoaey) in Iceland. It reminds me of the novella and 1972 film “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles.
Christian (Blaer Henrikkson) is the outgoing, bigger, more mature, and strong boy, already setting up sleepovers as he starts to date a girl in a nearby family, even as his parents’ marriage teeters, Thor (Baldur Einarrson) admires him, and feels Christian is inviting a certain degree of intimacy. There is a scene early with a mild form of body joking.
Thor, as shown, still seems preprubescent; his voice really hasn’t changed yet. In European countries, the age of consent is usually lower than in the U.S., so this may seem more acceptable in Europe than with some American viewers.
The tensions grow as the film develops, as summer yields to fall and the snow flurries of approaching winter. There is a spectacular shot of sheep being corralled from a distance, against the coastal mountains, almost as if from a Thomas Hardy novel, but it leads to farm aid outdoor camping encounters among the two families, and finally a rappelling scene where Thor retrieves some eaglet eggs along some cliffs, and almost has an accident. In the meantime, Thor experiences the familiar (to me) tensions of a gay teen admiring, through upward affiliation, a straight boy whom everybody expects to get married (traditionally) and have his own family. It is such déjà vu.
Instead, Christian breaks, and admits to his girl friend that he may be gay himself. Like Thor, he could have to face the homophobia of a small village. Maybe it’s better to move to the big city, Reykjavik.
The film then skirts with tragedy for a climax, and it may be too much of a spoiler to state it.
Icelandic fishing village (Wiki).
The film shows very little if any modern technology; the story seems like it could be set in the 1950s. There are lots of scenes involving animals: “free fish”, unusual insects and arthropods (one that chews off its legs to free itself), and birds and nests.
|Director, writer:||Guomundur Arnar Guomundsson|
|Released:||2016; DVD on 2017/10/10|
|Format:||2.35:1 Language: Icelandic, subtitles|
|When and how viewed:||Vimeo screener from distributor, 2017/9/30|
|Rating:||NA (prob. R;, maybe NC-17 some complete nudity; in no way pornographic, but dramatic and artistic, but intended for adults)|
|Companies:||Breaking Glass Pictures|
(Posted: Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 1 PM EDT)