An austere, black-and-white adaptation and expansion on a tale by The Brothers Grimm with a prefaced poem, “Ash Wednesday” by T.S. Eliot, is a low-key and innocuous blip with an Icelandic provenance.*************************** The Juníper Tree. An austere, black-and-white adaptation and expansion on a tale by The Brothers Grimm with a prefaced poem, “Ash Wednesday” by T.S. Eliot, is a low-key and innocuous blip with an Icelandic provenance. When this was made in the early to middle Eighties, I believe the star of the film, Björk Guðmundsdóttir (known almost exclusively to us by her first name), was already somewhat established at least in her homeland as a singer. She plays the curious, quiet and pensive Margit, who travels with her nomadic mother in search for a new husband. There isn’t very much plot to The Juníper Tree, which barely accosts a 75- to 80-minute running time, but it is a peaceful piece, with solemn and tractable performances. It has the retention of beautiful whispering sounds, chimes and voices; writer/director/producer/editor Nietzchka Keene’s debut film is something of a student experimentation. It has a certain feeling about it, not so much like a dilettante, but the elegant exercising of all of the technical facilities—Randy Sellar’s cinematography, Larry Lipkis’ musical score, etc. It’s no technical marvel either, but the calm precision is a respectable one. Björk is adorable to watch, so self-consciousless, fearless and unaffected. There is nothing factitious about her innocent, unadorned performance.
With Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir, Valdimar Örn Flygenring, Guðrun S. Gisladóttir and Geirlang Sunna Þormar.Final Verdict: B.