the byline for this 75-minute documentary film’s trailer was simple “góða ferð (good trip) follows a rucksack tourist on her journey around iceland.” and i was generously sent a DVD of the film for review from the filmaker himself. thank you!
the film was produced by long-time travel filmmaker, Frank Nagel and is shot in digital video 16:9 format.
she begins her journey in reykjavik, exploring the city’s many sights and sounds but you get the sense that she’s looking for something more. in comes a helpful stranger, also a tourist, who draws her a squiggly, cartoon version of the map of iceland, with all it’s major towns, sights and attractions marked out. this helpful map can also be found on the DVD’s inner sleeve.
the next day, she leaves the capital city and heads east. she hits up all the familiar south iceland attractions before covering the rest of the island’s other must-see places like höfn in the south east, akureyri in the north and a day-trip round the western board of the island.
i enjoyed re-visiting all the southern attractions in iceland and exploring the towns that i would want to visit next time i’m in the country.
i also enjoyed the quiet moments of this journey that the filmaker slipped in through montages of iceland’s epic landscapes, from its vast volcanic mountain ranges and glaciers to its newly bloomed spring flowers and sparkling summer waters of its many brooks and streams.
however, there were some things i felt could be improved from a filmmaker/producer’s point of view and one of them was the narrative. voiced by our german lady traveller, there were times when there were no voiceovers to guide the viewer on, which i felt affected the storytelling, creating uncomfortable viewing gaps as i didn’t know what to expect next. i’m not sure if this was because i was watching the dubbed english version or not, but the gaps certainly felt odd.
i also don’t want to sound nit-picky but i felt the editing was choppy at times. it was quite apparent mostly between the solo travel and interview bits as these were where she transitioned from an observatory role (the backpacker tourist) to a participatory one (the interviewer). it felt real weird that just as you were enjoying the sights and sounds of our traveller’s solo travels, in came an interview from nowhere that disrupted the flow of the journey.
but despite those few shortcomings, “góða ferð” is a great piece to watch for any would-be first-time visitor to iceland. just bear in mind though, that the film presents viewers with a quick basic look at what iceland has to offer and is not representative of all of the country’s culture or its people. to do that, you have to pry deeper into iceland’s vault of treasures; things that are more than just its tourist attractions.
it’s a country, i’ve been told, with deep roots and traditions that begs to be appreciated and if you’re a novice, you can definitely start that journey with this film which gives you a ‘big picture’ of the country, especially when there is just so much information out there and you’re not sure where to begin.
so fret not, friends. “góða ferð” puts it all in perspective, laying out quintessential iceland in a compact, easy-to-digest, 75 minutes.
visit the “Góða Ferð” website to find out more about the film and how to get your hands on the DVD today.
all pictures courtesy of frank nagel for góða ferð and nordicspotlight.com