The Juniper Tree – 1990

The Juniper Tree is a 1990 Icelandic film with a small cast of five actors, Björk, Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir, Guðrún S. Gísladóttir, Valdimar Örn Flygenring and introducing Geirlaug Sunna Þormar. It was written and directed by Nietzchka Keene and based on the fairy tale “The Juniper Tree” collected by the Brothers Grimm.

The film was shot in Iceland with an extraordinarily small budget in the summer of 1986, but because of financial problems later on in the editing room it was not released until 1990, when it screened for the “Grand Jury Prize” at theSundance Film Festival. Rhino Home Video released the film on VHS in 1995 and on DVD in 2002.


“Margit and her older sister, Katla, flee their homeland in Iceland after their mother is killed for practicing witchcraft. Needing a place to stay, Katla casts a spell over a young farmer named Jóhann which makes him fall in love with her, ensuring the wellbeing of herself and Margit. Jóhann’s son, Jóhas, sees through Katla’s plan and pleads for his father to make her go away. To help Jóhas in his struggle, Margit’s mother appears to Margit in visions and provides a magic amulet of protection for the boy. Will Jóhas be able to rid his family of Katla or will she continue to control them with her witchcraft?” Written by Todd Rose


“The Juniper Tree is one of the grimmer of the classic folktales recorded by the Grimm brothers. This movie is a artfully rendered interpretation of that fairytale. 
Scandinavian films have a tendency towards a slower, subdued style and this movie is no exception. The grainy quality of the black and white images and that slower pace creates a dreamlike experience for the viewer that suits the plot well. 
I would not recommend this movie for everyone. It is not particularly scary or exciting. It is however a great movie for fans of surreal dramas. People who enjoy David Lynch and Lars Fontrier movies will probably enjoy The Juniper Tree.” – Review


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