Archive of films The Seagull´s Laughter / Mávahlátur

2001, 104 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2002

The year is 1953. The beautiful and mysterious Freya returns home to Iceland after many years. Freya’s arrival turns the quiet fishing community upside down, and eleven-year-old Agga, always hot on Freya’s trail, wants to clear up the mystery surrounding this newly discovered relative. Who exactly is Freya? A Viking heroine? A fairy queen? A murderer? The goddess of love?


At the beginning of the fifties a young Icelandic woman, Freya, returned home from the United States where she had married some time before. Now she’s a widow and she wants to settle down near her relatives in a village near Reykjavik. Her arrival turns the quiet fishing community upside down. The mysterious and lovely Freya doesn’t hide the fact that she is aware of her obvious feminine assets, and that she is determined to take advantage of them to the fullest in order to free her family from the penury in which they live. Freya’s charms enchant not only the young policeman but the majority of the male population of the village, but Freya aims a bit higher – Bjorn Theodor, one of the local bigwigs, soon to be wed to the mayor’s daughter. But the engagement is no obstacle for Freya. She is willing to do everything necessary to ensure that the next mistress of one particularly imposing manor in the area is none other than Freya herself. Freya´s activities are closely followed by eleven-year-old Agga, who admires her older relative and at the same time suspects her of committing some crime. Who exactly is Freya? A Viking heroine? A fairy queen? A murderer? The goddess of love? These are questions Agga would very much like to have answered….

About the director

Ágúst Gudmundsson (b. 1947) first studied acting in his native Iceland and then directing at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England. He is a respected director of theatre, television and cinema. He won an award at the Taormina IFF for his feature debut Land and Sons (1980); this was followed by the critically acclaimed Viking Outlaw (1981), the rock musical On Top (1982), a box-office hit in Iceland, and the film Golden Sands (1984) for which he took away the Audience Prize in Lübeck. In 1987 he made the six-part series Nonni and Manni for the German station ZDF. In 1999 he was awarded Best Director at the Moscow IFF for The Dance (1998), a film set in the Faeroe Islands. The Seagull’s Laughter was declared the best Icelandic film of last year and took away the majority of the country’s national film awards. Gudmundsson is currently working on the historical epic King of Iceland, set in 1809.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Ágúst Gudmundsson
Screenplay: Ágúst Gudmundsson
Dir. of Photography: Peter Joachim Krause
Editor: Henrik Moll
Producer: Kristín Atladóttir
Production: Ísfilm
Cast: Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, Ugla Egilsdóttir, Heino Ferch, Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Edda Björg Eyjólfsdóttir, Gudlaug Elísabet Ólafsdóttir

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