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Katla Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
Creators: Sigurjón Kjartansson, Baltasar Kormákur
Stars: Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, Íris Tanja Flygenring, Ingvar Sigurdsson
Katla is a new Netflix original series from Iceland released on the streaming platform on June 17. Produced by RVK Studios, the eight-episode series is a beautifully shot sci-fi, a cross between Stanisław Lem’s Solaris and the French series The Returned, only this time it is set in Iceland and involves the power of a volcano.
Set in the small town of Vík in South Iceland, near the subglacial volcano named Katla which has been erupting constantly for a whole year, the first Netflix Icelandic series Katla follows the few residents who have remained in the village despite being advised to evacuate. Gríma (played by musician GDRN, Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð) is still looking for her sister who disappeared the day the eruption started. All hope of ever finding her is fading, until the day mysterious guests, emerging from the melting glacier by the volcano, start appearing in the village. These visits will have unexpected consequences for the remaining community.
Created by Baltasar Kormákur (Trapped, Everest), Katla is a slow-burning series, that is a mixture of science-fiction and Icelandic folktale, with stunning images of the Icelandic brutal and somewhat-apocalyptic landscape.
Kalta opens with beautiful images of a body emerging from the volcanic ashes. The volcano has been spewing out great clouds of ashes for a year now, making the air in the nearby town of Vík almost unbreathable. The residents who have decided to stay wear masks, and all visitors must have authorization to enter the village, which is only accessible by crossing the Markarfljót river.
One resident who refuses to leave is the distraught Gríma. Married to farmer Kjartan (Baltasar Breki Samper), Gríma is still grieving from the loss of her sister Ása (Íris Tanja Flygenring). Ása went missing the day the volcano started erupting. Her body was never recovered. Þór (Ingvar Sigurdsson), Gríma’s father and the town’s mechanic, wishes Gríma and her husband would move to Reykjavik for her own mental health.
While Eyja (Aldís Amah Hamilton) and Leifur (Björn Ingi Hilmarsson), who work at a scientific outpost that monitors the volcano, wait for scientist Darri (Björn Thors) to arrive, they find a woman, naked and covered in ash, walking on the glacier. Eyja calls police chief Gísli (Þorsteinn Bachmann) and Gríma, and they take the mysterious woman to the town’s hospital. The police chief believes the young woman is a lost Swedish tourist, but her identity will turn out to be much more puzzling. The mystery intensifies as more people, also naked and covered in ash, are discovered in town.
Katla follows a similar concept to Solaris. Each character who receives the visit from one of these ash-covered beings have some kind of traumatic past. Gríma wants her sister back. Twenty years ago, Þór had an affair which may have been the reason his wife killed herself. Scientist Darri lost his young son. Each visit reignites the characters’ unresolved trauma. These mysterious visits may in fact help them deal with their past.
These manifestations do not derive from an alien planet (or do they?), but, the series suggests, from popular Icelandic legends. Hotel owner Bergrún (played by Guðrún Gísladóttir) believes these people appearing covered in ash are Changelings—children of the “hidden people” from Icelandic folktales. These Changelings, she explains to both Gísli’s wife Magnea (Sólveig Arnarsdóttir) and scientist Darri, seem to have appeared throughout the history of the town after each of the volcano’s eruptions. The folktale of the changeling is here recontextualized into a modern setting.
Katla is an excellent, visually striking, series that tells a brutal and unforgiving tale of a few residents in an almost-deserted village festering with grief, depression and guilt. The series was co-directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Börkur Sigthorsson and Thora Hilmarsdóttir, and co-written by Baltasar Kormákur, Sigurjón Kjartansson, Davíð Már Stefánsson and Lilja Sigurðardóttir.
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