Mondays in Iceland - #81
This cinematic offering from Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson concerns itself with the struggles of two brothers who raise sheep in Iceland. It is a extremely well-crafted, if slow paced, film set in the present but has saga-like overtones. It gives a unflinching look at life in rural Iceland and their timeless struggle of trying to make a living on this inhospitable rock in the North Atlantic. It is almost unrelenting in its grimness, except for the love the brothers have for their sheep. Their flocks have become like an extended family to these alienated bachelors, making the film even more tragic. Hákonarson is a fine director who can work in a variety of genres. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from him in the future. The DVD I got from my local library (!) also has the Hákonarson short film Bræðrabylta (Wrestling) which I found to be exceptional. The actors, as is usually the case in Icelandic cinema, are superb.
It is hard to make a general recommendation for a movie whose plot revolves around diseased sheep; I found it to be worthwhile but a bit of a slog at times. Grímur is an accomplished filmmaker, this interview gives some background on his process.