The Twisted Life of Elva

Everywhere Elva goes, people stare at her. And it´s no wonder, because she turns in circles, stamps her feet and twists her body in every other step. She is thirty years old and has the worst case of Tourette syndrome her doctor has ever seen. At the same time she has excessive amounts of wit and humour, and constantly makes fun of herself. This documentary is made at the point where Elva has reached her limit. Her ticks have grown so powerful she can no longer take care of herself and her little son. Her last chance is a risky brain surgery where electrodes are planted deep in her brain, an operation which is still in the experimental phase for Tourette´s. Her family and friends shave off their hair for her support, as she will lose hers in the hospital. Elva says that she looks most forward to being able to run like a normal person. Elva goes fearless to the hospital when the time comes, but in there she realizes the seriousness of the situation and she cannot escape the thought that she has said good-bye to her son for the last time. Even so, she makes jokes all the way to the operating table. The operation is shown in details in the film. When she wakes up it is apparent that everything has gone according to plan, although it can take months for any improvements to show. The final shots of the film are taken six months later, Elva puts on her running shoes, and in a park in Reykjavík she starts to run confidently without her ticks. This film is a heroic tale about how the forces of love and humour make Elva and her family capable of going through a great ordeal.


About the film

  • Type
  • National Premiere Date
    November 13, 2011
  • Length
    57 min. 40 sec.
  • Language
  • Original Title
    Snúið líf Elvu
  • International Title
    The Twisted Life of Elva
  • Production Year
  • Production Countries
  • Premiere TV Channel
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant
  • Production Format
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Color
  • Sound


Company Credits


  • 2012
    Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany