The original Icelandic drama is a study in forgiveness. A typical mix of light and bleak darkness but incredibly humorous in its black comedy. The line is blurred between independence and isolation. This is a touching Scandi piece of art.
Though different, true for both films is the message that there’s a sense of loneliness and isolation that you can get even if you live in the middle of a town. The conflict between the brothers affects everyone, no matter where they live, because everyone has conflicts within close family. The story is universal.
NOTE: In double feature format we are simultaneously showing the Australian version, Rams. CLICK HERE FOR THAT FILM.
In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what’s dearest to them – their sheep.
It’s shot in widescreen, with striking compositional use of sky, land, rooftops and fences, often in long-ish takes that give you time to register the crunch-crunch of boots over snow, the baa-ing of sheep, the whisper of wind over the mountains and the like. Not heaps of dialogue. And yet the film is an involving, at times curiously exciting film, because the story is so clean and simple and we always know what’s at stake.
The film is pure and different from the Australian version. Here you spend a rather long time simply watching characters exist. That’s something mainstream films almost never do, and there’s something quietly riveting about it, provided you can adjust to the film’s slowed-down, 19th century rhythms.
Iceland 2015, 88 min, rated M (offensive language & nudity)
Directed by Grímur Hákonarson
Starring Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving, Jón Benónýsson & Gunnar Jónsson