Cold Fever (1995)
Directed by Fririk r Fririksson
Starring Masatoshi Nagase, Lili Taylor
A young Japanese man (Hirata) has a golfing holiday set up in Hawaii but is asked by his grandfather (a cameo from Seijun Suzuki) to travel to Iceland to perform the burial rites for his parents who had died there seven years previously. Despite refusing to change his plans, fate takes a hand. while practising putting in his apartment one of the balls knocks the video remote starting a video of his parents sending him a message from Iceland. His conscience having got the better of him, he changes his plans and heads to Reykjavik.
Once there he faces a series of challenges and obstacles as he tries to make his way to the river where his parents died. First off hes confused with a troupe of tourists and is taken the wrong way, from there a taxi ride brings him no luck and he ends up hitching a ride on the back of an open lorry with a large group of Icelandic singers who keep bursting into song.
He buys a cheap car that proceeds to have problems in the middle of nowhere, luckily he finds help and after its been repaired he carries on. He picks up a young American couple but they turn out to be Bonnie & Clyde wannabes and once again hes left sans car, frozen cold and far from anywhere after they steal it.
Hirata ends up in a small town fairly near the river only to face further setbacks. Can the determination of the constantly happy and friendly Icelanders help him to achieve his goal? Will this long and arduous journey change him as a person?
It has to be said; the majority of the film feels like a long advertisement for the Icelandic tourist board, the wildness and beauty of the landscape and the happy, singing Icelanders who certainly know how to party only add to that feeling.
The American couple feel typecast based on peoples worst perceptions of them as tourists, loudmouthed, abrasive, argumentative, arrogant, talking down about their hosts and taking the mick out of Hirata (who has probably saved their miserable lives). I felt this was cheap stereotyping which is quite bizarre as the film was co-written by producer Jim Stark who I assume is American.
Quirky characters, surreal moments and some decent to horrible Icelandic pop dont add up to a great film but this does the job of keeping you entertained for its fairly short running time. Id rather have seen more time spent on the last part of the trek than on some of the pointless plot devices but it certainly gives a good impression of the power and beauty of the Icelandic landscape.
In my opinion its worth seeing but certainly not essential viewing, a story of personal growth and achievement that is also slightly spiritual, overall a nice film.
BBFC rated 15
R2 dvd available from Second Sight films, no extras and burnt in subs where needed.