A country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Love and death become interlaced and with immense consequences. The fortunes of the people in the country through the horses' perception.
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Kolbeinn loves Solveig and Solveig loves Kolbeinn but Kolbeinn is in love with his prized possession and darling, the mare Grána and Grána is obsessed with the stallion Brúnn. Spring is coming and the whole community is following the story. This cannot end well. Vernhardur is in love with vodka and the horse Jarpur loves Vernhardur, his master. Aboard a Russian trawler is a mate by the name of Gengis who doesn't have vodka but loves horses like Jarpur. This not going to end well. Grimur has a passion for ancient horse roads but Egill admires barbed wire fences. Grimur owns a horse and a pair of pincers and Egill owns a tractor. This cannot end well. Johanna loves Raudka, her mare, but Raudka is in love with freedom. On the heath by an old summer cottage lies an injured old man. This could have a happy ending. Juan Camillo loves life and nature and is seeking God in the Icelandic highlands but the horse Old Piebald is tired and longs for rest. How will this end? Well, it all ends in ... Written by
Hilarious and dramatic events within an Icelandic village. Men, women and horses play equal roles as protagonists, with hormones and social conventions as main driving factors
Saw this film at the Noordelijk film festival 2014 in Leeuwarden (NL). Beautiful landscapes with men/women looking after horses and riding on them, while at the same time very occupied with the other women/men in the village. The movie is carried by several intertwined story lines to keep the flow going, including all sorts of humorous and dramatic events.
The village population sees and knows everything that's going on with their neighbors, even watching more distant neighbors and their interactions by means of binoculars when line of sight allows. Much of this was exactly as I remember from my youth, having grown up on a farm in a very small village (750 people, 100 houses). There was one remarkable difference, however, namely that the horses in this film were treated very different in comparison with the cows I am more familiar with. I felt these horses to be more closer to humans than cows ever were in my remembrance.
Not all village life is a happy life, however, in spite of the romantic feelings we derive from adverts with green meadows filled with happy cows. It involves tedious manual labor in difficult circumstances, in good and bad weather, and long travel distances that cross unfriendly rocks and rivers. We had to witness two funerals in the process, something wherein the whole village comes together and sympathizes in the family's grief. Major events like rounding-up horses to be brought to the market when ready to be sold, also form opportunities where the whole village works together in taking the herd over the rocks and rivers and the vast fields in between, typically a task that can be completed only when everyone joins in and cooperates.
On a more frivolous note, we see hormones at work within horses as well as people. It is something that can unite as well as break up people or even families. Phenomena like this were more hidden in the village where I grew up (it was in the sixties, and maybe I was just ignorant and as youngster did not see the obvious at the time). Anyway, hormones in this village are prominently present and active, with a definitive influence on everyone's actions. We witness several actions frowned on by any church I know of. The whole village witnesses it, or at least hears about it, and certainly has an opinion in the matter.
As an example I can mention a hilarious scene where a price winning mare is being sired (is that the correct verb?) by a young stallion, while the owner of the mare is still sitting on its back.... This event involved lots of additional shame, as it happened while the proud owner was actually showcasing his newly bought mare. Everyone in the village saw it happening from close-by or via their binoculars. Yet I did not fully comprehend the aftermath of this intimate gathering of the two horses, who actually did nothing wrong while following the call of nature. I assume that the shame and being the talk of the town played an important role in the decision.
All in all, the landscapes, the inside view in the micro cosmos of an Icelandic village, with the horses as important protagonists together with their owners, it all mixes very well while showing dramatic as well as hilarious events. A lot of interesting things happen on screen in only 81 minutes, which is an achievement in itself. You don't get the chance to loose your attention while so many things are happening.
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