Two brothers live next to each other but have not spoken for forty years. Their response to a mutual crisis is in turn melancholic and darkly funny. The images of Iceland are breath catching: the glimpse into its peoples’ humour enlightening.
Grímur Hákonarson | Iceland/Denmark/Norway/Poland | 2015 | 93 mins | 15
“Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson are utterly convincing as the battling brothers whose alienation is expressed more through morosely bearded gesture than drunken buckshot dialogue. There’s real pathos in the possible loss of the pair’s livelihood, an emotion intensified by Hákonarson’s positioning of these antiheroes as men out of time, the last vestiges of an all-but-obsolete way of life. A wonderfully minimalist wheezing score by Atli Örvarsson lends a mournful solemnity to the proceedings, perfectly accompanying cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s imposingly chilly vistas.” Geoffrey McNab – The Independent.
Like ‘Of Horses and Men’ that we showed in an earlier CFS season, ‘Rams’ is a thoughtful tale of man and beast set in a very chilly Iceland. It is a story of place, routines, intransigence and isolation – at times melancholic and funny. It is a story of sheep and their importance to their shepherds and to Iceland. It is also a story of brothers, of alienation, chance and character.
“…there is something special about sheep,” says writer-director Grímur Hákonarson. Judging by this film, there is indeed. There is also something very special about the Icelandic film industry. Not only is the quality of their films astonishing, the country has become Hollywood’s latest playground. The size and location of the country, its technicians and the sheer breadth and isolation of its geography means its landscape can represent so many different parts of the globe: with virtually no modern intrusions during filming. Iceland has stood in for the India, Italy, Russia, and countless others as well as areas in outer space.