A Letter from Helga

The story takes place in the 1940's in the west fjords of Iceland, a strange paradise hidden at the edge of Europe. In this small but thriving community we meet Bjarni, a young, idealistic farmer. Bjarni has a place in this world; his house has been in his family for 9 generations, he has status, respect and his wife Unnur is capable and hard-working. It appears that the sun is shining on them, but underneath the surface, a silent anguish is growing between husband and wife, too painful to talk about. Unnur clings to the farm work, as does Bjarni who is torn between loyalty to Unnur and a deep, growing frustration.

And then there is Helga, the mother of two on the next farm.
Helga is intelligent, her poetic mind trapped in farm life and trapped in a marriage with a man who was never her equal. Bjarni and Helga share a love for literature and soon enough the rumor starts to spread that the two of them are having an affair. Ironically this rumor eventually does drive them together.

And just like that - they're plunged into a passion they didn't think could exist, both so thirsty for it that there's no way of stopping . Butwhen Helga becomes pregnant and asks Bjarni to move to Reykjavík with her, he can't take the jump. He stays, loyal to his wife and to this place.
Decades later Bjarni finds himself haunted by the past, wondering if he made the right choice.

About the film

  • Type
    Feature Film
  • National Premiere Date
    September 5, 2022, Háskólabíó
  • Genre
  • Length
    100 min.
  • Original Title
    Svar við bréfi Helgu
  • International Title
    A Letter from Helga
  • Production Year
  • Production Countries
    Iceland, Holland, Estonia
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant
  • Based on a
  • Production Format
    Arri Alexa
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Color
  • Screening format and subtitles
    DCP, English subs

Company Credits


  • 2023
    Santa Barbara International Film Festival
  • 2023
    Glasgow Film Festival
  • 2023
    Göteborg Film Festival
  • 2023
    Seattle International Film Festival
  • 2022
    Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
  • 2022
    Tromsö International Film Festival