The Juniper Tree


1h 20m 2002
The Juniper Tree

Brief Synopsis

Themes of maternal love and loss resurface as two sisters flee their home after their mother is burned to death as a witch.

Film Details

Also Known As
Juniper Tree
Release Date
2002
Location
Iceland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m

Synopsis

Themes of maternal love and loss resurface as two sisters flee their home after their mother is burned to death as a witch.

Film Details

Also Known As
Juniper Tree
Release Date
2002
Location
Iceland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m

Articles

The Juniper Tree -


Although filmed in exotic Iceland, 1990's The Juniper Tree is a personally financed independent production by the enterprising American Nietzchka Keene, a Fulbright scholar with a focus on Old Icelandic studies. In 1986, Keene found a willing collaborator in singer Björk, who was changing bands and had just had a baby. Adapted from the Grimm fairy tale of the same name, the medieval-set fantasy uses witchcraft and magic to tell a tale of murderous family relations in harsh times. Two sisters attach themselves to a widower after their own mother is burned as a witch. Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir) is the seducer, and the quiet Margit (Björk) experiences supernatural visions. Katla inherits a stepson, who she immediately decides is an enemy. The sisters follow instinct to subsist in the raw, isolated landscape. Margit surreal visions of her dead mother are images that could have come from a David Lynch movie. Writer-director Keene internalizes the fantastic content. Although there are no overt supernatural events, awareness of a spiritual world is very much a part of this semi-mythic reality. Margit finds herself in a state of wonder. Although not a literal adaptation, Nietzchka Keene's film retains the spirit of the original Grimm fairy tale's gruesome family dynamics. She had to wait four years for completion funds, but Björk's rising popularity insured that The Juniper Tree would find its audience. Although active in both scholarly work and film production, Keene made only one more feature film, finished and released several years after her early death from cancer at age 54. It too is a spiritual fantasy about a strong woman in peril.

By Glenn Erickson
The Juniper Tree -

The Juniper Tree -

Although filmed in exotic Iceland, 1990's The Juniper Tree is a personally financed independent production by the enterprising American Nietzchka Keene, a Fulbright scholar with a focus on Old Icelandic studies. In 1986, Keene found a willing collaborator in singer Björk, who was changing bands and had just had a baby. Adapted from the Grimm fairy tale of the same name, the medieval-set fantasy uses witchcraft and magic to tell a tale of murderous family relations in harsh times. Two sisters attach themselves to a widower after their own mother is burned as a witch. Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir) is the seducer, and the quiet Margit (Björk) experiences supernatural visions. Katla inherits a stepson, who she immediately decides is an enemy. The sisters follow instinct to subsist in the raw, isolated landscape. Margit surreal visions of her dead mother are images that could have come from a David Lynch movie. Writer-director Keene internalizes the fantastic content. Although there are no overt supernatural events, awareness of a spiritual world is very much a part of this semi-mythic reality. Margit finds herself in a state of wonder. Although not a literal adaptation, Nietzchka Keene's film retains the spirit of the original Grimm fairy tale's gruesome family dynamics. She had to wait four years for completion funds, but Björk's rising popularity insured that The Juniper Tree would find its audience. Although active in both scholarly work and film production, Keene made only one more feature film, finished and released several years after her early death from cancer at age 54. It too is a spiritual fantasy about a strong woman in peril. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on DVD May 29, 2002

Feature acting debut for Icelandic singer Bjork.

Feature directorial debut for Nietzchka Keene.

Shown at 1991 Montreal International Festival de Nouveau Cinema.

Shown at 1991 Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Shown at American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica February 28 - March 8, 1991.

Shown at Berlin Film Festival (International Forum) February 15-26, 1991.

Shown at Cannes Film Festival (market) May 9-20, 1991.

Shown at Sundance Film Festival Park City, Utah January 17-27, 1991.

b&w

dialogue English

Released in United States on DVD May 29, 2002