Who is Freya? A fairy queen? A murderess? The goddess of love? These are the questions little Agga, eleven, would like to find the answers to, and so, off she goes to spy on the mysterious and stunningly beautiful Freya, who has just returned from the United States a widow. Set in the early fifties, this is a story of female uprising before the days of feminism.
Original title: Mávahlátur
Director: Ágúst Guðmundsson
Scriptwriter: Ágúst Guðmundsson, based on a novel by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir
Main cast: Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, Ugla Egilsdóttir, Heino Ferch, Hilmir Snær Gudnason, Kristbjörg Kjeld
Editor: Henrik Møll
Cinematographer: Peter Joachim Krause
Sound design: Nalle Hansen
Music: Ronen Thalmay, Count Basie, Ib Glindemann and others
Producers: Andy Paterson, Archer Street Productions, Kristín Atladóttir, Ísfilm ehf, Helgi Toftegaard, MTV
Script supported by Media 2.
Production supported by the Icelandic Film Fund, the Nordic Film & TV Fund, Eurimages, FilmFörderung Berlin-Brandenburg and the Danish Film Institute.
Sound: Dolby SRD
Length: 104 minutes
Screening format: 35 mm Colour
Production format: Super 35 (Scope)
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Premier date and year: 20th October 2001
International Premier: 37th Karlovy Vary Int. Film Festival
• Karlovy Vary Int. Film Festival 2002, "Best Actress Award" (Ugla Egilsdóttir)
• Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, Church Jury Award "Best Film"
• The Icelandic Film and TV Acadamy awards, EDDA: Best film, Best director, Best screenplay , Best actress in a leading role (Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir), Best actress in a supporting role (Kristbjörg Kjeld), Best actor in a supporting role (Hilmir Snær Guðnason)
• National entry as the best foreign film for the Oscars 2002
A delicious pitch-dark comedy! A gleeful probe into how women have always banded together to deal with men. Deftly cinematic... rich in social and historical context... A delightfully idiosyncratic movie.
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Extraordinary! An uncommonly engaging comedy with ripe tragic undertones.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Vince Musetto, New York Post
A sleek and entertaining work with pockets of darkness and mystery! As Freya, Ms. Vilhjalmsdottir is a lively, radiant presence whose marquee smile alone does a lot to warm up the icy hearts of the villagers.
Dave Kehr, The New York Times
A darkly humorous slice of life! The two luminous characters at the heart of the film are three-dimentional sharp-tongued works of art.
Gia Kourlas, Time Out New York
The droll script and deft direction make the Icelandic chill surprisingly inviting!
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
Makes for the kind of romantic comedy that, at least stateside, is becoming a lost art.
Brian Libby, Williamette Week
Devilishly whimsical... A steamy brew of mythical tale spinning and precodious feminist mischief.
Prarie Miller, LI Press
Beautifully observed... Freya is both alluring and mysterious in the best noir tradition, and Miss Egilsdottir delivers a superb turn as the young Agga, who seems to blossom into womanhood right before our eyes.
Frank Sheck, Hollywood Reporter
Entertaining and darkly funny!
Matt Weitz, Dallas Morning News
Terrific! The Seagull’s Laughter has a lot going for it: good music, striking landscapes, Viking legends. It’s witty with dark humour and it engages your emotions.
Cheryl Dawson, TheMovieChicks.com, Dallas
A stylish allegory, punctuated with wry, at times, sardonic humour... Gudmundsson has an unexpected knack for Thurberesque wit.
Rex Roberts, Film Journal International
Skilfully balances romantic comedy and melodrama with a coming-of-age story and morality play... As sultry visions of feminism past and future, Freya and Agga represent angry goddesses who aren’t going to take it any more.
John Petrakis, Chicago Tribune
A gorgious film! A dark comedy of manners, dark like the Icelandic night and mordant to the core. Smashing performances!
Mark Savlov, Austin Chronicle