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Iceland, 2000 (MIFF 2002, Northern Lights)

Director: Róbert I Douglas

A loser in Australia, a tosser in England, whatever term you choose, Toti - the hero of The Icelandic Dream - is no winner. In some ways he's the George Costanza of Reykjavic: the kind of guy who gets into the shady 'import/export' business with no knowledge of the product. Saddled with a history of failed schemes, his latest involves becoming Iceland's sole supplier of dodgy Bulgarian cigarettes and profiting on the huge mark-up.

His ex-wife loathes him, if only because he keeps turning up to her parents' house cadging money. He constantly berates his confused teenaged girlfriend (barely out of high school) and does a woeful job of marketing his product. Suddenly his luck changes: it turns out that the smuggled smokes contain Guarana and Toti is sitting on a potential fortune in 'Energy Cigarettes'.

Screened at numerous international Festivals including Montreal, Pusan and Toronto, this martini dry docudrama boasts spot-on performances and the cool directing hand of debut filmmaker Róbert Douglas. As the crates of cigarettes in Toti's apartment pile high, so does the film's pathos and humour. Black, bleak, but never without a heart for its bumbling protagonist.

Róbert I Douglas (born in Reyklajik, Iceland, 1973) has directed numerous music videos for Icelandic pop groups. The Icelandic Dream is his debut feature.

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