In a secluded valley in Iceland, Gummi and Kiddi live side by side, tending to their sheep. Their ancestral sheep-stock is considered one of the country's best and the two brothers are repeatedly awarded for their prized rams who carry an ancient lineage. Although they share the land and a way of life, Gummi and Kiddi have not spoken to each other in four decades. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi's sheep, the entire valley comes under threat. The authorities decide to cull all the animals in the area to contain the outbreak. This is a near death sentence for the farmers, whose sheep are their main source of income, and many abandon their land. But Gummi and Kiddi don't give up so easily - and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits. As the authorities close in the brothers will need to come together to save the special breed passed down for generations, and themselves, from extinction.Written by
Rams is an Icelandic saga of the highest order, not of Kings, but of the Icelandic sheep farmer. There are battles, but the opponents are nature, the struggles of human relationship, and the hardships of life. It is a saga of and for the working man, expressed and pared down like a working man's haiku, and it is breathtaking. Beyond the story, it is a visual feast. The Icelandic landscape - seen in both its green glory and its stark white glory - literally made me gasp at first. The sound of the howling, relentless winter wind touched a primal nerve in me. And as someone who has co-existed with animals for much of my life, and who has worked on farms for years, I was touched by the aphorism that you can love - truly love - your animals, and then kill them and eat them. Killing something you love is not an easy thing to do of course, but Rams is a blast of reality in that way. Sustenance and survival in the real world, people. It's not always pretty, and never packaged. Rams is harshness and it is beauty, contrasting, colliding, and intermingling, like an Icelandic landscape and an Icelandic sheep farmer's life. Ten out of ten stars.
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