A movie that takes place in Iceland and involves dance lessons, could there be a more perfect storyline for a dancetravelnews.com review? With high expectations of being transported to another land, while watching a story familiar to many a dance student in the U.S., and apparently Iceland too, Virgin Mountain delivers on the theme and delivers a movie sure to be the audience favorite for Best Feature Narrative. By familiar story, I am referring to dance lessons leading to an improved social life, not the story line of bullying, manic depression and living at home at age 43 with mom and her boyfriend. By improved social life I mean simply your life after dance lessons is never the same, not necessarily boy meets girl and keeps her. A sweet and moving film, Virgin Mountain follows Fusi, (Gunnar Jonsson) an airport baggage handler who is shy, socially awkward and has the hobbies and breakfast of an 11-year old boy. After he receives a birthday gift certificate for line dance lessons and eventually shows up to a class he meets Sjofn (Ilmur Kristjansdottir), and they eventually eventually end up in bed. Is there a dance studio in America that doesn’t sell this promise, though never explicitly? True, most of the movie transpires before that takes place and a beautiful and touching journey it is. Writer-director Dagur Kári, said, at a post screening Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, he wanted to make a love story that’s not a love story, that the couple doesn’t end up together but their lives are richer for it. I asked him, How did he come to choose dance lessons to be part of this story? He said it could have been anything, he was just trying to think of something that Fusi wouldn’t want to do. Many a transformed person will tell you it’s the dance lessons that make our lives richer. Virgin Mountain would belong on an Oscar list for Best Foreign Language Film.
By Lisa Skriloff, @dancetravelnews