Desert Island DVDs: Kristján Atli


Kristján Atli has been writing all his life and recently released his debut novel Nýja Breiðholt (New Reykjavik), a post-apocalyptic thriller about the hunt for a serial killer, a father’s determination to save his kidnapped daughter, a mysterious woman’s search for revenge and the potential for an all-out gang war in a city without law and order. A student of comparative literature at the Icelandic University, Kristján has also released short stories and poems and is the founder and main editor of one of Iceland’s biggest independent sports websites. He lives in the town of Hafnarfjordur with his family and sells fish during the day.


The Hunt (2012, Denmark)

‘A stunning exploration of a society lit up by rumours, innuendo and accusation. Nothing is ever proven and we as viewers are never given the truth of the situation, making the story all the more powerful. Are we cheering for a villain or damning a victim? This is a film that sat with me for a very, very long time. It also features a symbolic performance by Mads Mikkelsen, one of the most nuanced roles of his career.’


Life in a Fishbowl (2014, Iceland)

‘This might be the best film ever made in Iceland. It weaves together tales of three people who are down on their luck in the small community of Reykjavík, Iceland, and explores how society treats those who depend upon it for survival. If you asked me to show you one film that best explains how it is to be a person, for better and for worse, in Iceland in the 21st century I would show you this one.’


Luther (2010 – , UK)

‘By far my favourite detective series of all time. Oh, Luther, how I love thee! I’ve been an Idris Elba fan since The Wire (who hasn’t?) and when I found these series I was all over them like a pig in … well, mud. I especially think the first three seasons are great, the fourth one was a little short but it still felt great to see more of the character. Luther is an all time great TV cop for me.’


In Bruges (2008, UK, USA)

‘Just a fantastic film with fantastic performances. One of those I can watch over and over again, and often do while I’m writing late at night with the lights turned off. A good film is better than candlelight to write by, anyway. The titular city comes alive in this tale of crime, betrayal and friendship, among other things. Also, it’s really funny.’


The Spanish Apartment (2002, Spain)

‘A multinational cast comes together in this tale of a Frenchman’s year in Barcelona. I remember picking this up at a videostore thinking it would be a nice romantic tale for me and my (then) girlfriend (now wife). Instead we got a full on exploration of language, culture and an immersion into the city of Barcelona. This film has stayed with me throughout the years as a symbol of how you can make a city become a central character in your story.’

Thanks to Kristján Atli and Iceland Noir.

You can follow Kristján Atli on Twitter:



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