Title: Me­ Allt ┴ Hreinu (On Top)
Director: ┴gust Gu­mundsson
Year: 1982
Length: 100 minutes
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Plot Summary
Me­ allt ß hreinu is still the unbroken box office hit of Iceland. The most popular film of the island tells the story of two pop music bands, the one all■male and named Stu­menn, the other one all■female and with the name GŠrur. Together they plan a tour which around the country, restlessly on the search for fame, stardom and world validity. The individual members are first presented in small amusing sequences in their everyday life, before we see them together at a rehearsal. The Leadsinger of both groups, actually a loving couple, disagree during the reharsal, both vocationally and privately. Thus diverted every group starts touring for itself - with hurt pride, but however with loads of enthusiasm. But soon it becomes clear that the respective opposite side is likewise on the way - and the contest begins... "Me­ allt ß hreinu" is one of the most amiable and witty films of the last decade. It is a over-foaming little film, somewhere between comedy and musical, maybe better to be called roguish. With its naive charm and the gushing enthusians of the participants the spectator is carried forward on a route through a strange country, full of little stories and full of little strangeness. Despite a budget, which reminds more of a donation for an orphanage than of professional film financing and despite a simple guidance, the joy takes the viewer instantly. The director ┴gust Gu­mundsson succeeded to lead the real existing heap of very talented and skilled musician that one is not aware of the fact, that one watches a knitted story, but is rather catched to take the bands to one┤s heart, whatever may come. They are a group of musicians, who are in their selfirony a as much better example of Icelands peculiarness, than all travel guides could ever describe:

Moodily, shrewed, ordinary and proud, rough and clever, and all this in a country of lies, Show-offs and charmers, without any kind of discipline, which gives, despite everything, the urge to the participants of being faster and more modern than the rest of the world. A world power in literature, in some moments also in music, and in addition, master of the naivety. This comedy lives on these attributes. What makes this movie standing apart from them all is the rare fact, that a story not only describes such characteristics but reflects them also with nonchalant mockery. But nevertheless these characteristics and peculiarnesses of the country and its inhabitant are only the background for the partly suggestiv, partly tongue-in-the-cheek-like battle of the sexes, the fight for fame, acknowledgment, and particularly for the pride in conquering. Only gradually the spectator realizes, how clever the strings are pulled, how cunning the wit is and how intelligent the dynamic of the film works With their self irony and their noticeable fun at playing Stu­menn and GŠrur create a marvellous bow, which wakes musically memories on the legendary Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band, cinematically on Monty Python. Noticeable is surely the achivements of the participants as actors, especially Ragnhildur GÝsladˇttir as bandleader Harpa Sj÷fn, who faces up squarely and with nonchalance the singer of the male band, Kristinn Styrkason PropÚ, alias Egill Ëlafsson.

Films of this kind become unfortunately rare, and it is so far the only one in the Scandinavian cinema. Therefore one should keep an eye open if there is an opportunity to see this film on a Festival.