A Vanished City is a sweet melancholic ode to Reykjavík in past and presents tense. In this poetic black and white short directed by photographer and director Magnús Andersen, the camera travels effortlessly around town, exploring the streets and life’s of its residents.
The film is based on the song “Horfin borg” (A Vanished City) by Úlfur Eldjárn, a film composer (Mandy, InnSaei), solo artist and member of the legendary Apparat Organ Quartet.
The song is taken from his interactive music experience Reykjavík GPS, a composition where the music is connected to GPS ordinates, and the listener has to walk around town with a smartphone to discover different parts of the music. (The work can be found on rvkgps.com)
A Vanished City is a reflection on how music and film work together: How music can alter the meaning of what we see, how it adds colour and mood, and how it creates a narrative between seemingly unrelated scenes.
The film explores the creative and destructive forces behind the ever-evolving cityscape, how a city erases its past. It features a collage of historical photos from the early days of photography, creating a contrast against the more modern footage. Most of the film was recorded at the end of summer in 2019, only months before the pandemic hit that would transform everyday life. So even though it’s near us in time the period of filming already feels like a distant memory from a different age.