Artun (2014)

Ártún (2014) is the fourth Coming-of-Age film from Iceland I’ve reviewed on the site and, like most Scandinavian films, it portrays the rites-of-passage of its young protagonist in a daring, true-to-life manner.

The journey to self-discovery often includes exploration of one’s own body (seen in films such as Barnens ö and World Wide Woven Bodies), in combination with a growing interest in body image and looks. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, who wrote and directed the film, made sure to include a scene in which the young Arnar (Flóki Haraldsson) inspects his naked body for any changes hinting at the entrance into manhood.

Flóki Haraldsson as Arnar in Ártún (2014)
Flóki Haraldsson as Arnar in Ártún (2014)

He has never kissed a girl (although no self-respecting boy will ever admit that, especially in front of same age peers), and his budding sexuality and natural curiosity makes him join his boastful (though equally inexperienced friends) on a trip to Reykjavík, where the girls are said to be open-minded and wild.

The naturalness of the story makes it easy for the viewer to associate with Armar’s experiences and their own. As a small town boy myself, I felt truly moved by the story, recalling two girls from the capital that spent their summer vacation in the house across the street – and how completely naïve and innocent I must have appeared to them back then.

Scene from the film
Scene from the film

Aside from its story-line, Guðmundsson’s film impresses with a musical score comprised of energetic Icelandic rocks songs, which really charge its scenes. The music also serves as a time indicator, placing the film in recent days, unlike many other filmmakers who prefer to set their Coming-of-Age stories in the 60s or 80s.

Flóki Haraldsson (who I have previously seen in the beautifully shot and haunting short-film from 2012, Strýta) manages to portray the confusion and nervousness of his character in a stunning manner and it doesn’t come as a surprise that filmmakers often rely on his facial expressions to move the story forward.

Devoid of pretense, the nostalgia infusing and fun Ártún is a pleasant short-film that fans of the Coming-of-Age genre are guaranteed to appreciate.

Ártún (2014)

20 min|Short, Drama|N/A
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 71 usersMetascore: N/A
A boy from a small town has never kissed a girl. So one day he and his friends decide to go to the 'big city' to see if they have more luck there. In the city, the boys get much more then they bargained for.
Artun (2014)
The Icelandic short film Ártún (2014) portrays the rites-of-passage of its young protagonist in a daring, true-to-life manner.
Watch it for
upbeat musical score
Flóki Haraldsson`s acting
true-to-life storytelling
Skip if you don`t like


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