Under the Tree

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Iceland | 2017 | 89 minutes | Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson

Two families living among the manicured lawns and IKEA furnished homes of suburban Iceland find themselves in an increasingly absurd and ultimately disastrous feud over the placement of a shade tree in this savage black comedy from the director of Either Way.

"Under The Tree is a blackly comic, mad-cap, and entertaining film of feuding neighbours, culminating in a truly Hamlet-esque finale. " Simon Clark - The AU Review

Robert Frost may have been speaking ironically when he wrote "good fences make good neighbors," but in this pitch-black Iceland comedy, he may have been onto something. Middle-aged Inga and Baldvin live next door to Konrad and his younger second wife Eybjorg. Though the couples engage in general societal niceties, there is one thing that Konrad and Eybjorg cannot stand—a tree that casts a shadow on their sundeck, something especially heinous now that's it's summertime. Baldvin swears he's going to take care of the tree, but it's not even remotely his highest priority. Meanwhile, Inga and Baldvin's grown son Atli has moved into a tent in their backyard, his wife Agnes having kicked him out of their apartment after catching him masturbating to a sex tape starring him and a mutual female friend. As an increasingly desperate Atli struggles to retain custody of his young daughter, both pairs of neighbors ratchet up their fight, a simple disagreement that violently spirals out of control. Director/co-writer Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Either Way, SIFF 2012) has gleeful fun with this wicked premise in a way Scandinavians seem to do best, in a film that is equal parts cynical and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Director Biography
Born in Iceland in 1978, Hafsteinn Gunar Sigurðsson moved to New York as a young man to study screenwriting and direction at Columbia University. He has a passion for incorporating unconventional thriller elements to put a twist on what could be considered a domestic storyline.

Sponsored by Seattle-Reykjavik Sister City Association, Fool Serious

  • Original Language Title: UNDIR TRENU
  • Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
  • Principal Cast: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir, Dóra Jóhannsdóttir, Sigríður Sigurpálsdóttir Scheving
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 89 minutes
  • Producer: Grimar Jonsson, Sindri Pall Kjartansson, Thor Sigurjonsson
  • Screenplay: Huldar Breithfjorth, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurthsson
  • Cinematographers: Monika Lenczewska
  • Editors: Kristjan Lothmfjorth
  • Music: Daniel Bjarnason
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Fantastic Fest 2017 (Best Comedy Director) Official Oscar® Submission 2018 (Foreign Language Film) Edda Awards 2018 (Best Film, Director, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Special Effects)
  • Filmography: Paris of the North (2014); Either Way (2011)
  • Language: Icelandic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
  • International Sales: Icelandic Film Centre