Six great Icelandic films to look out for in 2023

There is a lot to get excited about coming from Iceland this year! Here are six brilliant new Icelandic films to look out for in 2023.

Beautiful Beings

Director: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

We will let you in on a secret – this film was very much in our Top 10 Nordic films of 2022, however the film had to have its UK release delayed, so now it will be a strong challenger for 2023!

We have harped on about this film so much now, so hope it is well received – the new release date for the UK is 30th January with Signature Entertainment releasing it on all digital platforms.

The Oscar long-listed brutal yet emotional story of a group of Icelandic youths will linger with you long after you have seen it, mainly for some absolutely outstanding performances. Do not sleep on this one!

Read our interview with one of the films leading stars – Birgir Dagur Bjarkason

Driving Mum

Director: Hilmar Oddsson

This is a relatively new film which had its first screening only recently at Tallin Nights Film Festival – it is already a favourite of ours, and despite its black and white filter it still manages to make Iceland look rather remarkable.

The film follows a man who takes his dead mother on a car journey to see the sites she never saw in Iceland – along the way he meets a number of characters including ghosts from his past as he settles his own personal demons. Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson puts in a beautiful performance as the lead, along with another great performance from an Icelandic dog!

We are not sure on release date yet for this but we highly recommend this one so will be updating you with more information as and when we receive it.

Read our interview with the film’s director – Hilmar Oddsson


Director: Hlynur Pálmason

You might have already heard about Godland after it has had such an incredible year picking up much accolade and awards throughout the film festivals. The film is due to be released in March through Curzon and it is certainly one to keep an eye out for to try and catch in the cinema.

I think it is fair to say that you won’t really catch a more scenic movie than Godland, espcially when it comes to the Icelandic scenery.

Look out for our interview with the film’s director later this year!


Director: Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir

One of our favourite documentary films of 2022 which blurs the lines between reality and fiction when we follow the Icelandic group The Post Performance Blues Band (The PPBB) as they try one last stab at making it big.

In our interview with the director she said:

With a camera present it is hard to tell if people are being completely truthful or performing a version of themselves but I think everyone means what they say – although I can’t be certain. I love it that people are not sure if it is true or not – it is exciting for me. I wanted my documentary to feel like fiction.

Their trials and tribulations are followed, generating both incredibly funny and heart-breaking moments. We are already hoping we get to see the band perform over in the UK and hope that the film will get a UK release.

In the meantime you can read our interview with the film’s star and director – Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir

Operation Napoleon

Director: Óskar Thór Axelsson

To mix things up even more is Óskar Thór Axelsson’s Operation Napoleon. Axelsson is known for his work on the Stella Blomkvist series and also with his films Blacks Game and I Remember You.

Given how great he was at adapting I Remember You, we are excited to see what he does with this adaptation that sees a lawyer sucked into a conspiracy involving a German World War II plane when she is accused of murder.

There is an international cast which includes the excellent Iain Glenn joining he likes of Vivian Ólafsdóttir, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, and Atli Óskar Fjalarsson.

We can’t wait for this one!

Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night

Director: Elfar Adalsteins

Another Icelandic gem and book adaptation, this one tells the stories of a number of characters living in a village in the West Fjords and how their lives interconnect.

The cast in the film is stacked with famous Icelandic faces – director Elfar Adalsteins said of working with them:

It was magnificent to work with all these fine artists and I felt early on in rehearsals that the whole group was there under the same pretence; to collectively make a human story. They all poured their heart and soul into their characters, which was of course a joy to experience as a director.

We hope to see this released later this year – to find out more about it read our interview with the director HERE

Alex Minnis
Alex Minnis

Alex is the Founder and Content Creator of Nordic Watchlist which he has been running now for over the past couple of years. He also has over 12 years of experience working in the travel industry for the Nordic region.

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