This family drama "Þrestir" (English captions) was submitted to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival by Iceland. We follow a teenage boy who is sent to live with his less-than-admirable father in a remote working-class part of Iceland. The only bright spot in this otherwise miserable change is his wonderful grandmother, who feeds him, keeps him company and understands his impatience with his hard-living father.

Writer/director Rúnar Rúnarsson ("Volcano") brings us this award-winning film (Won Best New Director @ Chicago International Film Festival; won four acting prizes @ Les Arcs European Film Festival; won the Fipresci Prize @ Göteborg Film Festival; won Best Film @ San Sebastian International Film Festival; won Best Debut Film @ Spirit of Fire; won Best Screenplay and Best Feature Film @ Sao Paulo International Film Festival; won Artistic Achievement Award @ Thessaloniki Film Festival, and won Best Film @ Warsaw International Film Festival).

Prepare to be impressed by this "rites of passage" for a teenage boy; at no time do you have the impression that anyone is "acting."

The all-star cast:
  • Atli Óskar Fjalarsson - Ari didn't ask to be shipped off to his father, but his mother is on some sort of international charity tour with her new (Danish!) husband. Our young hero loves to sing and he's good at it, but other activities, like shooting, drinking, doing drugs and fighting...not so much...
  • Ingvar E. Sigurðsson - Gunnar never wanted to have custody of his son. He had always forgotten Ari's birthday, can't seem to stay in AA, and still resents his ex-wife's new husband.
  • Rakel Björk Björnsdóttir - Lára surprises Ari with her new boyfriend. Ari had sort of assumed...
  • Kristbjörg Kjeld - Grandmother says Ari's father is a "good man," he just hasn't finished growing up yet. She is unfailingly cheerful and upbeat.
The scenery is first rate, but there are some dramatic scenes in this story that I would rather not have seen. YUCK! The entire Westfjords community reflects it's working-class roots and Ari simply doesn't fit in. The pace is glacial, so I became impatient. See? I'm out of step with those film festivals again! ...sigh...