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The Juniper Tree 15 rating

A teenage Björk stars in this Brothers Grimm adaptation, which finds witchcraft thriving in the wilds of medieval Iceland.

Fantasy 1991 79 mins

Director: Nietzchka Keene



When their mother is killed for suspected witchery, sisters Katla and Margit go searching for a new home. Soon Katla entrances a shepherd widower and becomes his wife, while Margit spends her days in nature and begins to experience visions of her own. Opening with a T.S. Eliot quote, The Juniper Tree is suffused with a literary sensibility in the form of poetry, songs and bible readings.

This Bergman-esque folk tale was the feature debut by Nietzchka Keene, a female director who made two more films before dying of cancer, aged 52, in 2004. As Margit, the young Björk is a major presence and the film shows a strong connection – in its mythic storytelling and its evocation of landscape as rough, tangible and salty – to the drama and themes of her subsequent art and music.