Discourse on Films

Discourse on Films is a documentary treating a new field of Icelandic culture, that is film history.
Thorgeir Thorgeirson - a recipient of the honorary Edda (Award of The Icelandic Film Academy) "for his contribution to film production and general film culture in Iceland" comments on trends and tendencies of the local film industry, from the so called pioneers - as the first semi professional amateurs generously have been named - up to the more recent production of feature films. With professional skill and a clear dissident's mind Torgeirson is able not only to analyze Icelandic film history but also to sketch up a friendly-ironical picture of the “dress up society" in general.

Discourse on Films thus is a first hand documentation of the soil in which the first experiments of independent professional film production had to grow and of the ideology behind them. Half forgotten principles of film theory are evoked as well as the conditions of film production under the soviet-like ruling ideology of television people and advertisement specialists during the sixties of the last century; technical possibilities, financing ... and “far too dominating attitudes from the sponsor side - about the content" . This last factor Thorgeirson sees as a reason for the peculiar situation that the 10 minutes running time of Man and Factory is the only fully qualified product of his 10 years in films (1962-1972) - as other films of his "do not fulfill the standards he wishes to give to his works in total". Therefore he does not allow most of his work to be shown in public, even if he has preserved the material to this date for eventual studies - if film historians later would be interested.

But film lovers have noticed that Discourse in Films includes valuable sequences from some of these apocryphal works. Anyone seeing those shots from Construction (Að byggja), Fishermen (Róður) and Flight to Greenland (Grænlandsflug) immediately realizes that the professional skills and the artistic ambitions are of the same caliber as in the totality of Man and Factoyr (Maður og verksmiðja). And some spectators have had questions about the enigmatic lack of interest - on behalf of the National Film Archive of Iceland - to preserve and study the author's contribution in whole.

In Discourse on Thorgeirson explains the theoretical background of Man and Factory, the only film he made completely on his own conditions. He refers to this film as an attempt to capture the world of the factory applying the two completely opposite methods of “eisensteinian montage” and “pasolinian camera”. From this attempt emerged something “new, powerful and unexpected” not only for Icelandic film production but for film production in general, if we may judge by the reactions of John Grierson, Eidur Guðnason and many others to Man and Factory at the time.

In Discourse on Flms the two authors - Ari Halldórsson and Hákon Már Oddsson - have been true to a simplicity of form that does justice to the natural authentic mood of Thorgeirson's story.


About the film

  • Type
  • National Premiere Date
    May 19, 2002, Háskólabíó
  • Length
    48 min.
  • Language
  • Original Title
    Samræða um kvikmyndir
  • International Title
    Discourse on Films
  • Production Year
  • Production Countries
  • Website
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant
  • Production Format
  • Color

Company Credits


  • Leshús, 2002 - VHS