If you were to pick up the current print issue of The Reykjavík Grapevine (the English-language bi-weekly of note in Iceland and Reykjavík’s answer to The Stranger, The Village Voice, and yes, The L Magazine), you would see Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur, bursting soggily from its front cover. But also–and more interesting on a personal level–you’d find a familiar byline gracing its pages (22 and 23, to be exact). Our very own Mark Asch, former film/book/culture editor at The L Magazine and contributor to venerable film outlets from Lincoln Center to Twitter, is quickly on his way to becoming a household name in Iceland (at least in my household, but also certainly in English-speaking households interested in cinema and art as well). Being a rather low-profile fellow, Mark will probably not declare his newly-minted international credentials to the world at large (maybe via Facebook, but you never know), so I (proud girlfriend) am doing a proud girlfriend thing and taking it upon myself to tell you that he is doing awesome but certainly not unprecedented things here in Reykjavík.
It is only fitting that his first pieces for The Grapevine would be related to the Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), which begins on Thursday this week. His coverage includes an interview with Hrönn Marinósdóttir, the festival chair, as well as five capsule reviews of films and documentaries playing at the festival, including Suspiria by this year’s guest of honor, Dario Argento. And while you may not be able to hop on a plane and attend the festival in person (you can stay with us if you do, though), I encourage you to check out all of the above, via the downloadable .pdf or online version of this issue, since many of the films playing at the festival have shown at recent festivals and will be coming to theaters near you shortly, and also because the interview in particular places the festival–and the Icelandic film scene in general–in a broader context.
Stay tuned for more arts and cinema coverage from Mr. Asch.