Friday, February 26, 2016


Moira+I went to the Watershed cinema last night (yes, twice in two days for me!) to see Grimur Hakonarson’s film about two ageing Icelandic brothers who haven’t communicated for forty years – despite being neighbours - until their sheep flocks are threatened by disease.
For some time now, Iceland has provided a rather strange and attractive fascination for Moira and me - which only increased after we both read Sarah Moss’s “Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland” as one of Book Group books (recommended!), so it seemed only natural that we should see this film.
To be honest, even with the benefit of a little time for reflection, I still don’t quite know what to make of the film.
Lots of rather beautiful, bleak, wintry scenery… plus keen observation, sardonic humour and fine performances from the two brothers (Gummi, played by Sigurdur Sigurjonsson, and Kiddi, played by Theodor Juliusson). It’s a film about independence, self-reliance, isolationism, reconciliation… and stubborn stupidity(!).
The film was the winner of last year’s “Un Certain Regard” prize and apparently enjoyed a rapturous standing ovation. Judging by the audience’s somewhat stunned reaction at the end of last night’s showing, I find the standing ovation a little hard to understand… but, hey, what do I/we know?
Not quite an Icelandic saga, but it definitely made engaging viewing!
If Trump becomes the next US President and the EU referendum vote goes the wrong way, I might consider becoming an Icelandic sheepfarmer…
PS: I rather liked that the film credits included the names of the some of the sheep “stars” (including one named “Saga”)!

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