HOW ICELANDIC FILMMAKERS TACKLED SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN BLOSSI
- October 31, 2018
Over the course of thirty (maybe forty) years, American cinema has produced enough drug films to make us wonder if the industry is secretly crying out for help. From the release of Reefer Madness in 1936, Hollywood has apparently become obsessed with dishing out movies like Easy Rider, Requiem for a Dream, When a Man Loves a Woman, and The Hangover (to name a few). Even Great Britain has jumped on the bandwagon with the infamous but effective film Trainspotting. We might have our sights set on American and British cinema for drug movies, but have you ever looked at the U.S.’s closest neighbor? Believe it or not, around the same time Trainspotting was released, a film company in Iceland developed a wild road trip film that (for lack of a better phrase) is an educational “trip” itself. Let’s take a closer look at how Icelandic filmmakers tackled substance abused in Blossi (1997).
Unoriginal but Still Effective
While the Nordic road movie Blossi (also known as 810551) manages to illustrate the bizarre lengths people will go to achieve mind-altering substances. Directed by Julius Kemp, the film follows the adventures (or misadventures, in this case) of a pair of dropouts who decide to embark on a drug-induced journey across the rugged countryside of Iceland. On one dangerous night, 19-year old Stella (Thora Dungal) accompanied Robbi (Pall Banine) and his violent friend Ulfur (Finnur Johannsson) as they break into an apartment. Next morning, Ulfur orders the couple to complete a mission to achieve drugs, but Stella and Robbi ultimately decide to drive cross-country.
Standard but Graphic
Overall, Blossi (a reference to the drug marijuana) may seem like a foreign reimagining of The Hangover: Part II, but this little Icelandic film can be appreciated for its simplicity and graphic effect. Director Kemp introduces viewers to the characters’ problems from the get-go. Stella appeared to live a happy life until she takes a wrong turn, while Robbi serves as the suffering alcoholic (who has been in rehab). Overall, these two are cutouts but serve as strong vessels for visceral entertainment. Likewise, the landscapes of Iceland provide a surreal, alien backdrop that adds to the surrealistic effect of the movie.
Iceland’s take on drug films might not be well-known, but it might be worth seeing for educational purposes.
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