Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

June 19, 2020

Icelandic Noir

Filed under: Counterpunch,Film,Iceland,television — louisproyect @ 5:10 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, JUNE 19, 2020

Over the past couple of months, I have been bingeing on Netflix like most house-bound CounterPunchers. In case you haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend two series that originated on Iceland television: The Valhalla Murders and Trapped. Both are close relatives to the Swedish Marxist detective stories that I reviewed on CounterPunch in 2014. They succeed both as social commentary and art.

What’s surprising is that a tiny nation (364,134, a population smaller than Wichita, Kansas) can produce the type of television drama that not only competes with Sweden’s but leaves HBO and Showtime in the dust. After reviewing the two TV series and a couple of Icelandic films that also merit watching during these pandemic social isolation days, I’ll conclude with some thoughts about Iceland that CounterPunch author and Iceland citizen José Tirado helped stimulate.

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4 Comments »

  1. Glad to see Louis write words of praise about Iceland. Unlike the US, during the global recession they shut down a major bank a decade ago and even sent an executive or two to jail. I’ve met working class Icelanders traveling abroad who could afford an expensive flight and a decent hotel whose US counterparts are surviving on food stamps despite working a long week. Indeed not all capitalism is the same.

    Besides maintaining a population where few are living in poverty, Iceland, the size of Akron, Ohio, supports a major symphony and several national dance companies, among others. Not bad.

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — June 19, 2020 @ 6:07 pm

  2. Thanx for the tip. Iceland is a bucket list item for me after I saw an episode of a food show (maybe Tony Bourdain) where they were eating deliberately spoiled raw shark. Still pissed at Bourdain and have not watched his show since he died. My girl and I saw him at Royce Hall UCLA where he performed his audience-friendly presentation. As we walked from the parking lot, there he was on a fire escape on the building’s back wall. “Tony, that shit’s gon kill ya!” “Something will.” I had no idea.

    JAI

    On Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 10:12 AM Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist wrote:

    > louisproyect posted: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUP5uNDV6DA > COUNTERPUNCH, JUNE 19, 2020 Over the past couple of months, I have been > bingeing on Netflix like most house-bound CounterPunchers. In case you > haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend two series that orig” >

    Comment by John A Imani — June 19, 2020 @ 6:53 pm

  3. I shudda added that Tony was smoking a cigarette and hence “‘Tony, that shit’s gon kill ya!” “Something will.’ I had no idea.”

    Comment by John A Imani — June 20, 2020 @ 1:20 am

  4. I watched an episode and a half of “Trapped” last night. That, to me, constitutes ‘binging’. I found it much as comrade Louis describes: beautifully filmed, a realistic and not stereotypical presentation of the shows main character with a supporting cast up to that high bar and on a par with the detective’s portrayal. The subtitles are but a minor nuisance and quickly fade into the back of mind. Looking forward to seeing more. Thanx, Louis, for bringing this to our attentions. JAI

    PS: re the brief encounter with Tony Bourdain, I was quite jealous of the ‘cancer stick’ he was taking drags upon. I had recently stopped smoking and watched him exhale the smoke with greed and envy. I missed my Pall Mall, king size and unfiltered, called ‘Red Death’ by the ‘boyz in tha hood’. And miss it to this day. Cigarettes and heroin are ‘all or nothing’ propositions: either you do it or you don’t. There is no in between. Those who think that can ‘chip’, “Just one snort”, is an impossibility.

    Comment by John A Imani — June 20, 2020 @ 2:15 pm


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