Film Notes: Rams (2015) directed by Grímur Hákonarson

IS / 93 minutes / color / Netop Films, Profile Pictures, Film Farm, Aeroplan Films / Dir: Grímur Hákonarson  Pro: Grimar Jonsson Scr: Grímur Hákonarson Cine: Sturla Brandth Grovlen Film Editor: Kristjan Lodmfjord Mus: Atli Orvarsson Cast: Sigurdur Sigurjonsson, Theodor Juliusson, Charlotte Boving, Gunnar Jonsson, Porleifur Einarsson, Sveinn Olafur Gunnarsson, Jon Benonysson Release Date: 15 May 2015 (Cannes Film Festival) 13 November 2015 (Spain) Original title: Hrútar Spanish title: Rams (El valle de los carneros)

Rams (Icelandic: Hrútar) is a 2015 Icelandic drama film directed by Grímur Hákonarson. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the top prize. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was selected as the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. (Source Wikipedia)

Rams_2015_film_poster Synopsis: Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes festival, Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams — a warm, compassionate drama laced with moments of beautifully deadpan comedy — tells the tale of two rival sheep farmers whose decades-long feud is interrupted by an unforeseen event that threatens to destroy centuries of tradition. Despite the fact that they live on neighbouring farms, Gummi (Sigurdur Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) have not spoken to one another in forty years, their intermittent and grudging communications carried out via letters carried by Kiddi’s dog. Their rivalry reaches its height in the valley’s annual competition for best ram, which Kiddi has won several times. After once again losing the prize to the boastful, hard-living Kiddi, the stern and solitary Gummi spots a dead sheep in Kiddi’s field, and soon begins to notice symptoms of the lethal and highly contagious disease scrapie in his neighbour’s flock. Veterinary authorities quickly arrive in the valley and decree drastic measures that may mean disaster for the entire region, and that the two men determine to resist, each in his distinctive way. With keen observation and gently sardonic humour, Hákonarson offers an understanding yet incisively satirical take on the Icelandic championing of independence and self-reliance, and how those otherwise admirable qualities can turn into isolationism, short-sightedness, and unyielding recalcitrance. Driven by the stellar performances of its two leads, Ramsmasterfully mixes comedy and heartbreak in its portrait of an ancient, and endangered, way of life. (Source: Toronto International Film Festival)

Grímur Hákonarson was born in Iceland and graduated from the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. His graduate film Slavek the Shit (04) was selected in the Cinefoundation section of Cannes, and his following short Wrestling (07) won twenty-five festival prizes around the world. He made his feature debut with Summerland (10), and followed it with the documentary A Pure Heart (12). Rams (15) is his latest film. (Source: TIFF)

A couple of weeks ago Begoña and I went to see Rams (El valle de los carneros). I very much enjoyed watching Rams, the story is very well narrated and the film captures wonderfully the rural environment in which it unfolds. To round it off, the actors’ performance is indeed excellent. Films like this one are those who makes us love the seventh art. Highly recommended.

Un Certain Regard – Hrútar (Rams), interview with Grímur Hákonarson

Rams review at The Hollywood Reporter

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