Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, ...
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Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, surrounded by ominous mountains and buried under a shroud of snow. Noi dreams of escaping from this white-walled prison with Iris, a city girl who works in a local gas staion. But his clumsy attempts at escape spiral out of control and end in complete failure. Only a natural disaster will shatter Noi's universe and offer him a window into a better world. Written by
Gérard Lemarquis, who plays the French schoolteacher, is the father of 'Tomas Lemarquis', who plays Noi. Gérard Lemarquis is a French schoolteacher in real life, and the director 'Dagur Kari' was one of his students. See more »
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[See the IMDb page for "Noi albinoni" for cast names: none are known in the U.S.]
When I first heard the title of this film a while back I wondered why a film about the composer, Albinoni, would be coming from Iceland of all places. Then I learned it's about a somewhat wayward teen living in a frigid, remote and lonesome village in Iceland.
Noi is a high school drop-in. That means he occasionally attends classes to catch up on his sleep (after being awakened by grandma with an effective but uncommon alarm). He's an albino but little is made of that, his mutation being essentially a metaphor for the opacity of his slow, largely aimless direction.
Noi lives with his grandmother but he has a not atypical buddy/adversary relationship with his taxi driver drunkard dad. About the only real emotion this kid shows is concern for his father's feelings when the polite but exasperated principal expels the teen: sending in a Panasonic tape recorder to sub for his classroom presence was the last straw for the threatened teachers.
Noi doesn't work and he basically spends his time doing very little not that there's much to do in the snowbound neighborhood. A very pretty bookseller's daughter, Iris, from the city, is visiting her dad and working in a usually empty cafe appended to a gas station. Noi pursues her with the languid inattention that seems to characterize his life.
This isn't a typical bored teen flick. Noi seems to have real promise and no motivation. The ice walls surrounding his village are a prison and he has no plans to break out other than a ludicrous failed bank robbery and a car heist to set him off on a road to nowhere. As a collection of sketches suggesting that natural boundaries have consequences for a kid with a different take on life, "Noi" is interesting.
Ultimately Noi must face a challenge dropped on him, literally, by a natural disaster. What if anything he learns from the experience is unclear. There's no neat ending to this movie.
The excellent cinematography highlights the barrenness of Noi's village. I almost sustained snow glare watching this short film.
And speaking of its shortness, I do wonder why this ninety-three minute movie had an eighty-two minute running time in France. What could there have been to cut? There's enough minimalism in the full version.
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