Relationsdrama by Baldvin Z, Iceland 2014

In three more and more intertwined stories, the struggles of three Reykjavik citizens just as the Icelandic economic collapse begins are depicted: An author, critically acclaimed but from a broken home and with alcohol problems, a young single mother, forced to make ends meet through prostitution and a former football star, making a career in banking after an injury ended his sports career.

Icelandic films are often gritty, melancholic and in various degrees of depressing. Life in a fishbowl is no different, but it manages the fine balance-act of melodrama: being sad and touching, without radiating hopelessness. The unlikely friendship between the down-and-out author and the naïve, yet seasoned mother is a heartwarming, as well as heart-shattering one. The lives depicted move the audience, drag them in, and one is left with the feeling of being a part of someone else’s life, just for a bit. That is in no small part thanks to Hera Hilmar’s amazing portrayal of the emotionally ambivalent Eik, and I expect great things from her in the future.
A film that, in a way, symbolizes the festival as a whole: aside from the many documentaries I saw, it has been very drama-laden, with few chuckles, and far between. ‘Life in a fishbowl’ ends the festival on a high note, albeit in a minor key.

Bechdel test: Pass

5 daughters of 6