a film by Sara Gunnarsdóttir

SHORT / DRAMA / 10m / 2012

A CD filled with love songs was circulating in my hometown Reykjavik, Iceland. The story goes that it was stolen from a man by the name of Daniel C, out of his locker by four co-workers who liked the music and made copies for themselves. Nobody really knows who he is. This is an oral history that follows one mans soulful songs of love, pride and loneliness.


I first experienced The Pirate of Love at the 2012 AFI Fest where it screened in competition. Since then, I have seen this film nearly a dozen times. I am still not entirely sure what transpires. And this is most wonderful! Each viewing offers a new and inherently different puzzle piece. Ultimately this means old pieces seem to no longer fit, as the narrative shifts on subsequent viewings. The Pirate of Love is a very evocative animated documentary by Sara Gunnarsdóttir.

Sometime in the last decade, Helgi discovers an audio compact disc in Canada. Here, black and white interview footage is juxtaposed with boldly colorful animation. This effectively offers a contrast of what is known, and what is thought or rumored. The cd is then freely and enthusiastically passed around in Iceland.  It contains love songs addressed to a woman. He sings of, as yet, unrequited love. But, as it turns out, this woman may in fact be an adolescent. In any case, her name is Sherry. Gunnarsdóttir’s beautiful color animation brings the black and white musings to life. The Pirate lives in a nightmarish albeit pleasant dreamscape. You want to visit this world with a firm grasp on your return ticket.

Because the film is so wonderfully layered, multiple viewings are welcome. For example, I just recently noted there are renditions of The Pirate. And thus one’s perspective changes, if ever so slightly. Some Pirates are older and some have facial hair. Some are thinner and some are red heads. This shows how even in truth there can be fiction. The Pirate of Love celebrates the efficacy of animated documentary films. I should point that I am still not sure who Daniel C. is.