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'Angels Of The Universe'

At the Three Rivers Film Festival

Friday, November 15, 2002

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Longtime Three Rivers Film Festival fans will remember several earlier films by Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, including "Children of Nature," "Movie Days" and "Cold Fever."

'Angels Of The Universe'

The Three Rivers Film Festival runs through Nov. 24, screening more than 40 films at the Harris Theater (809 Liberty Ave., Downtown), the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., Oakland) and the Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood).

Tickets are $6 each; $4 for the Unseen Cinema, Film Kitchen and Short Program. A Crazy Eight festival pass is $35. For more information, call 412-682-4111 or go to www.pghfilmmakers.org.

Here a review of one of this weekend's films.

Weekend Schedule
Three Rivers Film Festival


Those movies featured magic realism that was tied to the rugged, almost mystical landscape of Fridriksson's homeland. "Angels of the Universe" is something different -- a drama anchored in the city, where a seemingly happy, well-adjusted man named Paul (Ingvar Sigurdsson) descends into schizophrenia.

Screenwriter Einar Gudmundsson adapted the film from his book about his brother's struggle with mental illness. The going is heavy and sometimes harrowing as the filmmakers offer a compassionate, closeup view of Paul and his fellow patients. One insists he wrote all of the Beatles' songs, another occasionally declares himself to be Hitler.

"Angels of the Universe" never resembles a typical Hollywood take on mental illness, in which the patients tend to be either harmless eccentrics, screaming madmen or catatonic zombies. But its realism reinforces its grimness, and not even Fridriksson's skill and imagination can keep "Angels of the Universe" from bogging down.

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