Art imitates life in “Noi”

Diana Luzzi

Everyone can relate to the feelings of a 17-year-old who feels he is an outcast. This is the idea that Dagur Kari conveys in his vibrant film, “Noi,” a recent seriocomedy set in a small, isolated village.

Noi is a social outsider, not only because of his slacker attitude and his apathy towards his schoolwork, but also because of the fact that, as an albino, he does not look like the rest of the people in his community.

Despite his lethargic manner, the viewer of the film becomes intrigued with Noi and wants only the best for him. The audience is compelled to feel for Noi, when almost all the characters within the film do not, not even his alcoholic father or his wacky grandmother (who wakes up her grandson every morning with a gunshot).

Like the protagonists of films such as “Ghost World,” “Donnie Darko” and “Rushmore,” Noi wants to escape from his oppressive surroundings. He feels entrapped in this small town atmosphere and dreams of a way to flee this environment.

When he meets the new girl in the town, they cook up a scheme to leave their isolated fjord and head for a tropical paradise. Remarkably, strange turns of events occur to make this dream a real possibility for these teens, and the opportunity for a new start becomes more viable.

Dagur Kari, the young director of “Noi,” actually got the idea for the main character from a dream he had when he himself was 17. In fact, he cast one of his old school friends as the title character. Kari doesn’t concentrate on just the main characters, though.

The townspeople in this community are also quite quirky, in the style of the Coen brothers’ wacky, award-winning film “Fargo,” which is also set in a snowbound town. Their eccentricities, of course, adds to the comic tone of the film, and no doubt contributed to its being a crowd pleaser at the 30-plus international film festivals where it has been featured.

The second offering in Villanova’s current Cultural Film & Lecture Series, “Loss of Innocence/Growth of Awareness,” this coming-of-age movie will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 6 at 3:30 & 7 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students with I.D. and $5 for all others. The Monday evening showing will feature Gordon Coonfield as the guest speaker. Professor Coonfield will introduce the film and lead a discussion, “Northern Exposure,” afterward.

For more info, call the Communication Department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page.