Woman at War (Kona fer i strio) (2018)

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Image via miff.com.au

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I love a quirky Icelandic drama and Benedikt Erlingsson has created an engaging and tongue-in-cheek story with a mostly subtle but effective message.

Halla (Halldora Geirhardsdottir) lives a double life as a choir leader and an environmental activist. Convinced that the government support for the development of heavy industry in Iceland is helping destroy the country on the planet, Halla works largely alone to sabotage the power supplies and so deter foreign investment.

Erlindsson makes good use of the sparse Icelandic landscape as we follow Halla as she wreaks determined havoc across the countryside. Abetted by an alleged cousin and with the lost tourist occasionally crossing paths with her (was he the one from Tower. A Bright Day?), Halla endures just about any hardship to fulfill her ambition. Geirhardsdottir is immensely watchable as Halla and although her motives might at times be naive, there is no doubting her resilience and indomitable spirit.

What is most endearing about this film is the quirky and knowing art direction and style. Without words we are given clues to Halla’s character through her surroundings – Gandhi and Mandela grinning down from her lounge room wall – and her interactions with the different people in her life. The most delightful affectation is the integration of the music score into the film – I won’t spoil it by telling you how. It so easily could have not worked but it helps ease the tension of the more serious story arc and provides a welcome reminder to not take it, or ourselves, too seriously.


Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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