Dreamland (2009 film)

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Directed by Þorfinnur Guðnason
Andri Snær Magnason
Produced by Sigurður Gísli Pálmason
Cinematography Þorfinnur Guðnason
Guðmundur Bjartmarsson
Hjalti Stefánsson
Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson
Edited by Eva Lind Höskuldsdóttir
Release dates
  • April 8, 2009 (2009-04-08)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Iceland
Language Icelandic

Dreamland (Icelandic: Draumalandið) is a 2009 Icelandic documentary film about politics, environmental preservation and damming, focusing on the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant and its environmental impact. The movie is based on the book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation by Andri Snær Magnason. The film's soundtrack is composed by Valgeir Sigurðsson.


The documentary Dreamland is about the question, in how far the unspoiled, unique nature of Iceland should be preserved or if it is more important to build up enormous dams to produce hydro-electronic energy. It shows, how the aspiration after "green energy" more and more threatens the natural wonders of Iceland just to provide aluminum industries with cheap energy. Through interviews with economists, psychologists, historians, poets, editors, managers and so forth, the audience gets insight of different point of views. Furthermore, it deals with the fact that fear is a powerful emotion and a way of controlling people. For example, the fear of unemployment often leads to a limited view of other possible alternatives. To develop the countryside of Iceland and to preserve it from unemployment, the Icelandic government decided to make Iceland the biggest aluminum manufacturer. It seemed to be the simplest way.

The second theme the documentary deals with is how the world makes business with war. The military base in Keflavík increased the economy of this region, but when it got more and more irrelevant for the American government, the people feared for their jobs and the government tried desperately to convince the American military to stay.

During the whole documentary, pictures of a beautiful, untouched nature are shown, followed by gigantic hydro towers and dams which destroy the picture of the wilderness and beautiful landscape, which unites volcanoes, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls and so much more.

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