Movies under the star 4: Woman at War (2019)
As we continue the saga of watching films under the stars, this week's film was a revelation. Last week in the outdoor theater screenings from my town's film club took us to the sunny Mediterranean island of Malta, this week we moved further north to Iceland. A special film with the most imaginative and intelligent direction I have seen in recent years.
Woman at war (2019)
The plot of the film is gebius. Halla, a choir director and eco-activist, sabotages the operation of a multinational company's aluminum factory of that does not respect the environment. Cuts power pylon wires with a bow.
And while the state launches a manhunt with all the advanced means of technology (even drones with thermal cameras are set in motion), a long-forgotten adoption application comes to turn things upside down, as she is given the opportunity to adopt a little girl from Ukraine.
Will she be able to continue her ecological "sabotage" alongside the adoption process while the Icelandic authorities try to track her down?
The action is complemented by a three-men band playing alongside the protagonist as well as a group of three Ukrainian traditional singers.
This particular one was one of the films I particularly enjoyed. The capture of the band on stage playing music next to the female lead was brilliant idea. In fact, it was interspersed with details, such as the cigarette one of the band members smoked after an intense scene to unwind the tension. Or the scenes that refer to the adoption of the little Ukrainian girl are accompanied by the wonderful traditional Ukrainian melodies.
The theme of the script pleasantly surprised me: the dilemma that activists - of whatever form their action takes - often face in their efforts to protect their personal lives? What comes first? The purpose or our loved ones?
On the other hand, the protagonist - in a double role, as she also plays the role of her twin sister - performs very well the eco-activist who tries in her own way to awaken consciences (the action scenes, when she carries out the sabotages are a mixture of suspense and comedic elements). Hard-willed, a fighter when she needs to be, but also tender and smiling with her choir members and deeply emotional on the subject of adoption. Her facial expressions, her movements and even her stunts show a very good actress that I would like to see in another movie.
And since I mentioned the comic elements, the film is full of it, just the presence of the orchestra and the Ukranian women singers alongside the action sometimes is aimed to make you laugh. What I will single out is the directorial find of the Spanish tourist traveling by bicycle in Iceland, which not only causes laughter, but brings tears to the eyes.
Finally, the cinematography was excellent. The choice of landscapes, the shots, the images that the director chose to present to us leave the feeling of an aesthetically perfect film. Especially, the symbolism of the environmental crisis through a flooded river highlighted in such a simple way the problem that threatens us all and we must take action.
If I would advise you to see the movie : YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is one of the smartest movies I've seen in a while with a theme that wakes us up and motivates us to do something. If I would see her again? YES!!!!!!!! with the first chance. I think I missed some of the director's imagery and symbolism and need to fill in the blanks.
Dare it too!
Woman at War
Directed by: Benedikt Erlingsson
Written by : Benedikt Erlingsson, Ólafur Egill Egilsson
Cast: Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Davíð Þór Jónsson
Duration: 101 min.
Thank you for reading!
PS. Iceland is one of the countries that I would go to live permanently, if not for the cold climate. But the scenery has won me over again, making me thinking about moving there.
Most photos were taken by me, except the ones otherwise stated with source.