The Juniper Tree

1990 film by Nietzchka Keene

The Juniper Tree is a 1990 Icelandic film loosely based on the Brother Grim fairy tale.

Directed by Nietzchka Keene. Written by Nietzchka Keene
A Twisted Tale of Witchcraft and Mysticism


  • She's got two legs and a nose, she's not a goat.
  • Why are you here? You don't belong here.
  • He's dead and she's gone, little girl. And we're all that's left. We're all that's left.


  • I don't want to see. Even if I could.


  • I'll sew my footprints into his coat, and he'll follow me forever.


  • Katla: [to Jónas] She must have loved you very much to give you something so fine that you can't show it.
  • Jónas: You're a witch, you're a dirty witch.
  • Title card:
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining.
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other.
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand.
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
in the quiet of the desert.
T. S. Eliot


Margit: Where did she go?
Katla: She became ashes and left with the wind.
Margit: And her sould?
Katla: Her sould... was tied with the heart of a bird.
Margit: And the tread will hold forever?
Katla: Until the bird's heart breaks.

Jónas: I come here every day so she'll remember me.
Margit: And if you didn't come, she would forget?
Jónas: Yes

Jónas: Don't.
Katla: Don't what?
Jónas: Don't do your work on me.

Jónas: You took two.
Margit: I only nocked it with my hand.
Margit: You have to pick a shell first.
Jónas: Where are you end your sister from?
Margit: It's not there anymore.
Jónas: It disappeared?
Margit: No. There aren't any people there anymore. They are all gone.
Jónas: Will you ever go back?
Margit: Katla sais we'll stay here. That we are from here now.
Jónas: But you can't change where you are from
Margit: But what if where you are from isn't there anymore?
Jónas: Then you can be from here, but your sister can't be.
Margit: Why not?
Jónas: Because I'm from here and I don't want here to be.
Margit: But she's my sister and she has to be from the same place as I am.
Jónas: But I don't want her to be.
Margit: But she has to be.
Jónas: No, she can't be. I don't want her to be. No she can't be. I don't want her to be. She can't be. I don't want her to be. No. She can't be. I woun't let her.

Margit: What's it like beeing married?
Katla: Do you have someone in mind?
Margit: No, I just wanted to know.
Katla: Are you sure you're not thinking of someone?
Margit: No.
Katla: When you know, then you'll know why I woun't leave Jóhann. And you will know when you will find out.

Margit: Jónas, Jónas.
Jónas: What's the matter?
Margit: I've seen my mother.
Jónas: Where
Margit: By the see, and on the heath. I couldn't remember before. But now I do.
Jónas: What dose she look like?
Margit: She's very beautiful.
Jónas: But how can she be here?
Margit: Sometimes people return.
Jónas: Is she a ghost?
Margit: No, she came to take care of me.

Margit: [to mother] This is Jónas.
Margit: [to Jónas] She can't speak. When people are dead they can't speak anymore.

Katla: You should remember I'm carrying your little brother
Jónas: He woun't be my brother.
Katla: Your father is the father. So he will be your brother.


  • Björk - Margit
  • Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir - Katla
  • Valdimar Örn Flygenring - Jóhann
  • Guðrún Gísladóttir - Mother
  • Geirlaug Sunna Þormar - Jónas

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