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
Love and hate have many things in common. Each, wrote Hawthorne, "leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object." In the remote landscape of distant Iceland two neighbors, Gummi and Kiddi, nurse a fervent hatred. It has simmered for forty years running and despite the many things they have in common. Like many Icelanders, where there are more sheep (800,000) than people (300,000), they share a passion for sheep. Not THAT passionate! The calling to raise sheep is intertwined with their nature. The discovery of scrapie among the sheep, a lethal and highly contagious disease, should draw Gummi and Kiddi closer together. With the lengths they go to avoid each other, it is hard to see how much further they could be apart. Yet with true Icelandic spirit they try their best to maintain their independence and go their separate ways. The results are both hilarious and tragic.
The film is a typical Icelandic mix of darkness and light. The line is blurred between independence and isolation. The director maintains it is based on personal experience and real life situations. The themes of love and hate, as well as seclusion and self-reliance, really resonate with me. The two main characters are unique and intriguing as the film, and their parts are played well. Someone asked the director how hard it was to direct sheep and he replied that it was easier casting and directing sheep than people. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.
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