January Film: THE WAVE


When: Wednesday, JANUARY 9th, 7 pm;   Where: Peacock Theater   

This thrilling feature film about a landslide-generated tsunami opens with old news footage of a landslide hurtling toward a small town, and the statement “It’s only a matter of time before the next big disaster.”

The Film’s Location

It’s high season for tourists, yet Geologist Kristian Elkjord and his family are leaving their idyllic Norwegian village to move to the city . . . but they are one day too late. Although forewarned, no one is really ready when the mountain pass above the scenic, narrow fjord sends tons of rock and earth crashing into the water, causing a 280-foot high tsunami – the wave. Our hero works at the warning station, sounds the loud siren, but everyone has only ten minutes to get to higher ground. The drama that unfolds is based on reality.

Glaciers, Landslides, and Tsunamis

Such geologic catastrophes occur often in real-life, and they are becoming more common due to climate change and receding glaciers. Glaciers help to hold the walls of icy narrow valleys in place. When there is a large landslide with a sudden displacement of material into a body of water, a very large wave is created called a megatsunami. They are more than 10 times as large as the much smaller type of wave caused by an underwater earthquake.  Just such a tsunami hit the Sunda Strait in Indonesia after the collapse of a wall of the Krakatoa Volcano into the ocean during an eruption last month.

Landslide Tsunami Effect

Several megatsunamis have occurred in uninhabited fjords in Alaska. The largest on record occurred in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. It destroyed trees up to an elevation of 1720 feet — a third of a mile high. In 2015 (the same year our film was released) a 633-foot high megatsunami occurred in the Taan fjord in Alaska. In 2017, a fishing village in Greenland was washed into the sea and 4 people were killed. Scientists have identified and are monitoring multiple likely future sites all over the world.


This film won awards for best visual effects, best score, and best editing.

It is in Norwegian with English subtitles.   Length:  1 hr 45 min.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2929702169

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