Icelandic Documentary Opens Sheffield Film Festival Skip to content

Icelandic Documentary Opens Sheffield Film Festival

Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’s new documentary, The Greatest Shows on Earth, was the opening film at the Sheffield Film Festival, one of the world’s largest festivals for documentaries, on Friday.

Margrét Jónasdóttir from Sagafilm, one of the film producers, told Vísir that the premiere had been a success and that she considered it a great honor to open the festival.

The film, featuring traveling circuses from the late 19th century to present day, was produced by Sagafilm for the BBC.

The score was written by Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Icelandic band Sigur Rós in cooperation with Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Dagur Hólm.

The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars, stating: “Benedikt and his team cover impressive ground and are unafraid to highlight the darker side of the industry. The uncomfortable animal cruelty, the sexual objectification of women and the mistreatment of children get shown in all their unregulated grime, with some snippets (a throwing knives trick featuring a small girl, for example) proving to be particularly shocking.”

“But there’s also awe on show, especially in a series of tightrope tricks which provide more thrills than most Hollywood action scenes, given what’s really at stake. The film itself is ultimately a paean to the art of inventive, practical entertainment and the shared joy of experiencing it with an audience. Given the increase in solitary, indoor experiences of lazily constructed CGI blockbusters, this is a loving and vital flashback,” The Guardian concluded.

“We are of course thrilled about the review,” Margrét commented.

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