Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð)
Cert: 12A Year: 2018 Length: 100 mins Language: Icelandic/Spanish/Ukrainian
In a world where climate change has become the biggest issue of our time, it is not surprising that films should be made about fighting it, but you will be surprised by the way this Icelandic comedy-drama-thriller handles it.
Our hero is a middle-aged woman, Halla, who is a choir leader by day and has been trying to adopt a child for years, but we meet her walking across a vast moorland with her bow and arrows. Her target is not any animal though: she is after the electric wires held up by pylons. The tension is high right from the beginning, though maybe the three-piece band playing on the moor is a little unexpected... "It's a striking introduction to one of the most original and exciting characters to emerge from recent European cinema" - Nikki Baughan, Sight and Sound.
Our eco-warrior has taken on the aluminium industry which she believes is ruining the local countryside, supported by the government which is frightened of losing the Chinese investment involved. Rather than make this "a gritty political pot-boiler", director Benedikt Erlingsson (we had his 'Of Horses and Men' here in 2014) "weaves a captivating dark comedy from these urgent, quite chilling issues" - Aimee Knight, Little White Lies. He is very ably assisted by the star Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir who plays Halla and her identical twin Asa: she "...is phenomenal. Showing a flair for both drama and comedy" - Nikki Baughan again.
The storyline weaves its way between Halla and Asa, with some beautiful side stories (Halla's choir is hilarious, as is a poor cycling tourist who I won't tell you about...). Erlingsson, who also co-wrote the story, gradually extends the plot, chasing the 'Mountain Woman' into the hills and following her home life into Ukraine. You will have to come to see the final mix of comedy and drama for yourself, but "there can be no doubt that she is one of the year's strongest, most inspirational heroes" - Nikki Baughan. Then we can discuss what happens at the end...
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