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Icelandic thriller 'Jar City' to screen Nov. 17-20

RELEASED: Nov. 11, 2011

Jar City

EAU CLAIRE — "Jar City" (2006) — "a taut police procedural that craftily blends ripped-from-the-headlines genetic issues with foreboding Icelandic stoicism" (Variety) — will screen Nov. 17-20 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The International Film Society will present the film at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre.

"At first, it looks like 'Fargo,' that offbeat, snowy police investigation from the Coen brothers: a cop in funny knitwear, a dowdy female officer in a too-big anorak shivering against the chill wind," wrote The Guardian. "But 'Jar City,' Baltasar Kormakur's biting thriller from Iceland, soon reveals itself to be something more gloomily intricate and unique, unfolding in a series of sharp observational details, skidding plot twists and haunting landscapes."

Reykjavik police inspector Erlendur (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson) doesn't have much to go by as he investigates a new case, a solitary old man found beaten to death in his basement apartment. A photograph of a young girl's grave gives him a lead, and Erlendur learns that 40 years ago the victim was accused, but not convicted, of horrible crimes. As he reopens the very cold case, Erlendur follows a trail of forensic evidence that leads him to "jar city," a repository for preserved body parts. He discovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man — with clues knit into the genetic bloodline of an entire country.

Titled "Myrin" (meaning "marsh") in its native Iceland, the film was adapted from the celebrated crime novel by Arnaldur Indridason. It was the first book in his series of Inspector Erlendur novels to be released in English, as "Tainted Blood."

The New York Times called the mystery thriller "intricate and pointed, conjuring a haunting, satisfying puzzle out of violence and chaos."

"Jar City" was a major box-office hit in Iceland and swept the Edda Awards before it hit the festival circuit in Karlovy Vary (winning the Crystal Globe), Telluride and Toronto. Iceland selected the film as its official contender for the foreign-language film Oscar.

In Icelandic and subtitled in English, the 93-minute film is not rated.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or International Film Society membership. Community members who wish to attend campus films can purchase an annual IFS membership at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby. An individual membership costs $4 and a family membership is $10.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office, Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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