1990, Arbelos Films, 78 min, Iceland, Dir: Nietzchka Keene

An unsung talent in her lifetime, director Nietzchka Keene’s stark, stunning debut feature is loosely based on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name, and stars Björk in her first screen performance. Set in medieval Iceland, THE JUNIPER TREE follows Margit (Björk) and her older sister, Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadottir), as they flee for safety after their mother is burned to death for witchcraft. Finding shelter and protection with Johan (Valdimar Orn Fygenring), and his resentful young son, Jonas (Geirlaug Sunna Pormar), the sisters help form an impromptu family unit that’s soon strained by Katla’s burgeoning sorcery. Photographed entirely on location in spectacular black-and-white by Randy Sellars, this deeply atmospheric film is a potent allegory for misogyny and its attendant tragedies, and a major rediscovery for art house audiences. “Distinctive, ambitious, and genuinely poetic.” – Los Angeles Times.

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