RIFF 2012′s series of special events aims to bring the film-viewing experience into different, unusual surroundings. We’ve already covered their swimming pool screening of Back to the Future here and last Thursday we attended the free screening of Icelandic cult favorite 101 Reykjavik at Iceland’s cultiest bar, Kaffibarinn.

For those not familiar with the film, it follows the 30-something Hlynur Björn as he makes his apathetic way through the Reykjavik nightlife while resisting to grow up, dealing with his mother’s sexuality, his on/off f**kbuddy’s pregnancy and his feelings for the Spanish flamenco teacher Lola.

The film manages to perfectly capture the Reykjavik atmosphere in the late 90′s (it came out in 2000 but the novel it is based on was published in ’96) and the aimlessness of going into your thirties without a clear idea of what it is you really want to do with your life. It also manages, in its second half, to astutely convey the peculiar loneliness that comes with living in a small town where everybody knows each other. In fact, sitting there in the crowded space, listening to the sounds coming from the bar downstairs really made you wonder whether anything has really changed. A rather depressing thought, that.

It was tight but cozy at the Kaffibar screening of 101 Reykjavik at RIFF 2012

The screening was held on the second floor on a small TV placed in the corner of the room, meaning that the people in the back couldn’t see very well. Due to a lack of seating space, people sat on every available space on the floor which, although in keeping with the tone of the film, meant that going to the bathroom or the bar was a no go.

Despite the minor niggles the crowd was in good spirits, laughing and groaning in equal measure at Hlynur’s various predicaments. The program promised a DJ playing ’90s tunes after the screening but due to conflicting reports about the time of the screening (they had to add another one straight after) and the fact that half the bar was closed off for renovation, it seemed to have fallen through.

All in all a great idea that just needed some better planning. Hopefully RIFF will continue on with this next year as it would be interesting to watch other Icelandic films in some of the locations they were shot.

Keep up with our RIFF coverage here.

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