Cold Fever

Cold Fever

Icelandic theatrical poster.
Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson
Produced by Jim Stark
Written by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson
Jim Stark
Starring Masatoshi Nagase
Lili Taylor
Fisher Stevens
Music by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson
Cinematography Ari Kristinsson
Edited by Steingrímur Karlsson
Distributed by Artistic License Films
Iceland Film Corporation
Release dates
February 23, 1996 (USA)
Running time
85 min
Country Iceland
Language English / Icelandic / Japanese
Budget ISK 130,000,000

Cold Fever (Icelandic: Á köldum klaka) is a 1995 Icelandic film directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. It is a road movie set in Iceland and was the first of Friðrik's films to be made in the English language. The movie depicts the travels of a Japanese man across Iceland. It was jokingly promoted as the best Icelandic-Japanese road movie of 1995.


Hirata (Masatoshi Nagase) is a successful Japanese businessman whose plan for a two-week winter holiday in Hawaii to play golf changes when his elderly grandfather (Seijun Suzuki) reminds him that he should go to Iceland.

Hirata’s parents died there seven years ago, and the seven year death anniversary is a significant event in Japanese culture. Hirata must perform a ceremony in the river where they died after drowning in an avalanche – the drowned must be fed by the surviving family members if they are to find peace.

Hirata goes to Iceland – to Reykjavík. His final destination is a remote river on the far side of the island. He encounters one mishap and misadventure after another. He first accidentally gets on a wrong bus filled with German tourists traveling to see the hot springs. He also confronts a language barrier; Hirata cannot speak any Icelandic, and knows very little English. After his first day's misadventures, Hirata decides to purchase an ancient, bright red Citroën DS to make the journey. During the long drive, Hirata meets several strange people along the way. These include the mystical woman who sells him the car, that only plays one radio station. Next, Hirata meets a local woman who collects photographs of funerals. The following day, Hirata meets two American hitchhiker/fugitives (Lili Taylor and Fisher Stevens), who turn out to be armed and dangerous who proceed to steal his car. Nearing his destination on foot, Hirata arrives in a small village where he meets an old man (Gísli Halldórsson) named Siggi, the owner of a local lodge who teaches Hirata how to drink the most potent alcoholic beverage in Iceland.

After explaining his determination to travel to where his parents died, Hirata is aided by Siggi who borrows a pair of Icelandic horses from a local farmer, and the two of them travel on horseback to Hirata's destination. After riding across an ice cap glacier, over a ridge and into the valley where Hirata's parents died, he dismounts and tells Siggi that he must go on alone to complete his journey. After traversing a rickety bridge to the river, Hirata arrives at the river bank where he performs his cleansing ceremony at last. He then rejoins Siggi waiting for him and they both ride on their horses down a gully where they make it to a beach and the final shot shows them riding down the coast towards a nearby coastal village which hopefully will have a ferry to take Hirata back to Reykjavik and presumably back to Japan.




See also

The Goddess of 1967, another movie in which a successful Japanese man travels foreign land in a newly purchased bright (this time pink) 1967 Citroen DS and meets strange characters, though this time in Australia.


    External links

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