Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson: “It was important to create the world of the film, which gradually gets dark and ugly.”

My interview with Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson on his latest film, Under the Tree.


Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson presented his latest film, Under the Tree, in the Orizzonti section from last year’s Venice Film Festival. There, I had a chance to interview him. I had already met him in Karlovy Vary in 2014, where he had presented his previous work, Paris of the North, that I had greatly enjoyed.

His latest film revolves around a petty argument between neighbours that slowly but surely develops into a full-blown tragedy. I identified the setting of the film, the Icelandic suburban landscape with its insufficient sunlight and scarcity of trees, as a key element of Under the Tree, and asked him about it. Here is his answer:

[In this film] I’m shooting in Rejkyavik for the first tie, and it’s set in a kind of suburban area which has this kind of sixties architecture that I like very much. It was important to create the world of the film – with its peaceful and quiet neighborhood, which, you know, gradually gets dark and ugly.

You can listen to my full interview with Sigurdsson on FRED Film Radio in a podcast that you can stream here, http://www.fred.fm/uk/hafsteinn-gunnar-sigurdsson-under-the-tree-venezia74/, or watch the video of the interview in the player below:

You can also listen to the podcast of my earlier interview with the director, where we talked about his 2013 film Paris of the North, here, http://www.fred.fm/uk/hafsteinn-gunnar-sigurdsson-paris-of-the-north-paris-nordursins-karlovyvaryff/.


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