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'101 Reykjavik'

Friday, January 18, 2002

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Movie Editor

So you thought winter in Pittsburgh was bad. What must it be like in Iceland, where the very name of the country says all you need to know?

Actually, things get pretty hot in "" ( ), a subtitled film playing this weekend only at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland.

Hlynur (Hilmir Gudnason) lives his life in a kind of frozen state. Approaching 30, he lives on the dole in his mother's house, where he sleeps until noon and watches porn videos. On weekends he goes to the local bar and hooks up with the girlfriend that he treats like dirt -- not that he treats anyone else any better.

But then his mother (Hanna Maria Karlsdottir) brings home the very warm-blooded Lola (the Spanish actress Victoria Abril). Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets -- be it mother or son. The complications threaten to drive Hlynur over the edge -- especially when life starts catching up to him in other ways as well.

Director Baltasar Kormakur, who wrote the screenplay based on a Hallgrimur Helgason novel, gives us a kinky slacker comedy that is decidedly less detached than its lead character -- and features a very cool soundtrack.

At times, you may not know whether to laugh or gasp -- or just deplore Hlynur's cynical view of life. But, to paraphrase Hlynur, what else is there to do in January, when the sun doesn't shine and the snow falls and even the ghosts are bored?

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