The film Sons of the Soil marks the beginning of film-making in Iceland. It was produced by Nordisk Films Kompagni by Gunnar Gunnarsson’s novel Guest the One-Eyed which brought him fame in Denmark. It was largely shot in Iceland in autumn 1919 and premiered a year later, one of the great films of Nordic film history during the silent movie era.
The director was Gunnar Sommerfeldt, who also played one of the leading roles. The leading actors were mostly Danish, apart from Guðmundur Thorsteinsson, better known as artist Muggur, who played the main character Ormarr Örlygsson and was widely praised for his performance.
Sons of the Soil drew a lot of attention and was shown in fifteen countries upon its release. In Iceland, it premiered early in 1921 and has been dear to the Icelandic people since. Long after the arrival of talking pictures, it was regularly shown in Nýja Bíó, to a full house, until the public broadcasting company took over around 1970.
To celebrate the film’s 100th anniversary, the Icelandic Film Archive, together with Dansk Film Institut, has reconstructed it in digital form and high definition. Composer Þórður Magnússon has composed a film score, as it is high time the film got its own original score on its centennial. Þórður has worked as a composer for over 25 years and received various awards and recognitions. The score is written for an orchestra of 40, and performed live by SinfoniaNord.
SinfoniaNord has in recent years specialized in performing film scores, both live and recorded. This is one of its biggest projects so far, as it is a three hour long silent movie. The orchestra is conducted by the safe hands of famous Finnish conductor Petri Sakari. He needs no introduction to Icelandic music lovers as he was the chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra for years and has conducted many great musical projects around the world.
A unique artistic event which won’t be repeated!
Director: Gunnar Sommerfeldt
Score: Þórður Magnússon
Live music: SinfoniaNord
Conductor: Petri Sakari
Length: 3.5 hours including an interval