Fueled by a remarkable breakout performance by actress Thora Bjorg Helga, Bragasons drama of loss, faith, redemption, and heavy metal begins with a farming accident in the 1980s that sends a young girl named Hera and her parents into a tail-spin of grief over the death of her heavy metal music-obsessed older brother. A decade later, Hera is transformed into a surly headbanger, dressed in black leather and a Slayer t-shirt, clutching her dead brothers electric guitar as she howls anthems of rage to a barn full of cows. Seemingly trapped in a haunted landscape of slaughterhouses and barren winter fields, making all the wrong choices in her life, Hera slowly and painfully comes to terms with her familys loss and the sound of her own true voice.
Decibel Magazine premiered a scene from the film where Hera watches a newscast about the extreme nature of black metal and its connections to the Norwegian church burnings in the 1990s. That scene is basically an exact copy of my life, Bragason recalled during an interview with Noisey about the scene, which serves as a pivotal moment in this female headbangers life.
Watch the scene here:
Metalhead was the winner of 8 awards at the 2014 Icelandic Film Awards (including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor & Actress, and Original Score by noted Icelandic musician Petur Ben). It received rave reviews during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, as well as during a special screening held at the 2014CMJ Music Marathon in New York. Metalhead is a very personal piece of my filmography, declares Bragason. It grew out of my collective love for film and Metal music, which was something I grew up listening to and has been a lifelong passion of mine. I sincerely hope that the U.S audience, both fans of film and music can find in it something to love and identify with.
Dates for upcoming screenings of Metalhead:
02/14 Lowell, MA @ Luna Theater
02/22 02/23 Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
02/27 03/01 Seattle, WA @ SIFF Uptown
02/27 03/05 Grand Rapids, MI @ Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
03/18 03/20 New York, NY @ Scandinavia House / New Nordic Cinema
03/20 03/26 New York, NY @ Cinema Village
03/27 04/02 Los Angeles, CA @ Laemmle NoHo 7
04/10 04/16 Portland, OR @ Hollywood Theatre
04/27 Pleasantville, NY @ Jacob Burns Film Center