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The Juniper Tree
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Bjork, Iceland's eccentric and eclectic artist, singer and actress stars in "THE JUNIPER TREE." Shot in black and white on bleak locations in Iceland, the story is an old folk tale adapted from the Brothers Grimm archives. And grim it is. Bjork is Margit. When her mother is burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft, she and her older sister Katla flee across Iceland's rugged terrain until they reach the remote farmhouse owned by handsome widower Johann. Katla casts a seductive spell on Johann and bewitches him. Soon they are wed, much to the dismay of Johann's suspicious young son Jonas who sees clearly what has happened to his dad. Things get increasingly tense and Margit is forced into the spiritual world to save Jonas from Katla's supernatural wrath. This dark, brooding mystical tale is nicely visualized and Bjork is a natural actress. And yes, she sings. Extras include an interview with director Nietzchka Keene, deleted scenes and publicity photos.
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After their mother is burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft. Margit (Bjork) and her older sister Katla, journey far away where no one will know them, because they fear they too will be burned.
In the first minutes of the film, they see a woman floating face down in a creek, her hands bound behind her. Margit asks who she is; Katla replies "I don't know, but we haven't gone far enough away from home". Soon they're in the company of a young farmer and widower, Johann, who Katla bewitches with her magic.
But Jonas, Johann's young son is suspicious, and fears she is trying to take his dead mother's place. Angering Katla.--she wants Johann all to herself, and resents Jonas.
Margit's mother starts to appear to her, first outside her window, then she sees her up close, when she and Katla are at the beach. Katla begs Margit to tell her what she sees, but her mother motions to Margit not to tell.
Margit bonds with the Jonas and tries to protect him from her older sister, but with tragic however *mystical* results.
Beautifully shot in black and white
Based on a story of the same name, by the brothers Grimm
Ends with Bjork reciting this passage:
Once there were two children, whose mother was a bird.
They flew away with her, to the land of the birds.
But she sent them back among people, to take care of their father.
When they returned from the land of the birds,
their father had found a new wife and did not know them.
She closed his eyes to them, and filled his hearing with her voice.
Sent her laughter over the mountains, and he followed.
His children called after him, but he did not know their voices.
So they stayed behind...and they knew what the birds knew.
The black & white, plus the beautiful photography, mysterious content and brooding thoughful nature...sort of reminded me of a Bergman film
And for Bjork fans, it should be added that she does sing..:-)
Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadottir) and her younger sister Margit (Bjork) have left their village after their Mother (Guorun Gisladottir) has been burned to death by the villagers for practicing witchcraft. As they wander through the countryside they eventually come upon a small dwelling occupied by a recently widowed man and his son. They take refuge in his home and before long Katla begins to work her magic to win the heart of their unsuspecting benefactor.
Unquestionably the best moments in the film are young Margit's disturbing visions of her Mother's spirit. Guorun Gisladottir's long, matted dark hair and flowing, faded clothing are the perfect compliment to the frozen tundra surrounding her. As she sits silently amongst the protruding rocks she strikes a chilling pose in harmony with the stark, evocative Icelandic landscape.
This is not a film that stands up well to repeated viewings, but it has its moments. Now if you're a big Bjork fan that's a different story.
Even though the movie has a couple of good moments, it is not a dark tale of mysticism as the cover of the DVD tries to sell, in fact it is too slow and the strange way in which it is edited does not help at all. Had it been a shorter film with only the key points it might have been a better film. Bjork's performance is quite decent but nothing more and so are the rest of the actors in this film.
The movie is presented in full screen and on a not so good digital transfer, no subtitles are available. Extra features contain deleted scenes with some bloopers, an interview with the writer/director Nietzchka Keene and a slide show of publicity photos.
An average film that should obviously be a must for all Bjork fans.
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Shot in black and white on bleak locations in Iceland, the story is an old...Read more