Gazing Into the Eye of the Storm

 
 

To follow up on my first film 101 Reykjavík, I wanted to do something completely different. I had a few projects in development, but what I really wanted was to explore a subject that was important to the Icelandic people. In the typical western society, it seems as though there aren't too many topics that arouse intense feelings amongst the people, but in my country people have strong controversial views on the new official quota system levied upon the fishing industry; an industry that is still the main fuel for our economy.

I find myself intrigued by family dramas, and with how past secrets and lies eventually catch up to you in one way or another. A contemporary family, with all its dysfunctions, was something I wanted to explore, and setting the story in an Icelandic fishing village seemed an interesting choice for me. It was a challenge to shape the story into a classical dramatic structure which gave more freedom to the characters. The structure can be compared to a tornado. It starts off slowly but once caught up in the eye of the storm things get totally out of control.

I find it interesting that the family members in The Sea all return back to the place they were born and raised. Returning to the scene of their childhood, after a long absence, it was as if time had stood still while they were away, and it instantly starts to affect their behavior. The same goes for the ones who stayed behind. When the "lost ones" show up old patterns start to form.

 

It's like when former schoolmates return for a reunion, people find themselves somewhat naturally acting out their old roles within their group, regardless of how they have matured over the years.

As for the settings of the village itself, for me, the extreme reality is absurd. Places like the village of the film exist all around the Icelandic coast. Small details that go about unnoticed in real life is something I then like to add in as ingredients to spice things up; they can be absurd and even funny in way but most importantly I like to use such details to draw in something magical from what is already there.

Consciously I decided early on not to focus on one single protagonist but to instead create an interesting character gallery of the family members who all have their strengths and weaknesses. I didn't take sides with any of them or manipulate the audience into sympathizing with one or the other. Instead, I chose to follow their character driven actions.

The reason why I decided to begin with "the end" of the story was that I didn't want to focus on the consequences but on what led to the dramatic scene of the fire and the break-down of the patriarch in the end. So instead of a "whodunit" kind of story we get to know the characters' pasts, and gain an insight into the dramatic events that drove these people apart.

©2003 Landmark Theatres