Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson competes in the Official Section of the Seminci
10/26/2017.- The 62nd edition of the Valladolid International Film Week screened Undir trénu (Under the Tree) on the sixth day of the festival. This feature, which competed in the Official Section, was directed by Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, who presented his film on the Icelandic Day of the contest.
Sigurdsson’s third fiction film tells the story of Atli, a man whose wife throws him out of the house and does not want him to see their daughter anymore. Atli struggles to see her as conflicts begin with their neighbors. The biggest of these disputes has to do with a tree in the family’s yard whose shade covers their neighbors’ porch. “This story is based on a real fact that, although it may sound strange, actually happened,” said the director of the film.
“Although in Spain people like trees for the shade they give, in Iceland it is the opposite, because people fight for a little sun,” said the filmmaker, who added that in addition “trees in Iceland are not very common and the people who manage to have one take very good care of it and try their best to maintain it, but there is always a dilemma between the neighbors regarding the subject.”
In this film, the director understands that “the viewer has many feelings.” “The spectators will interpret it as a war between neighbors, which is what it is, but it doesn’t just stay there, one must extrapolate it to the world in general and to other problems that exist on the planet,” said the Icelandic director, who added that this film is a reflection of “how to live as a community and that we have to reach agreements that, if you are not willing to comply, will create conflict.”
Undir trénu (Under the Tree) premiered in Venice and a week later in Iceland, where it was a blockbuster. “About 40,000 people went to see the film, which is not bad considering that this figure is 10% of the population of the country,” said Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson. This film reflects what is currently happening with Icelandic cinema: “Icelandic cinema is booming and that is something new and very good,” said the filmmaker