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Icelandic Movie ‘Woman At War’ Gets International Attention In Cannes

Icelandic Movie ‘Woman At War’ Gets International Attention In Cannes

Alice Demurtas
Words by
Photos by
Screenshots from the movie

Published May 15, 2018

New Icelandic movie ‘Kona fer í strið’ (or ‘Woman at war’) premiered during Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival last Friday and has so far received excellent reviews from international media.

‘Kona fer í strið’ follows the success of director Benedikt Erlingsson’s ‘Of Horses and Men.’ It narrates the story of Halla, a mousy choir director by day and brave environmental activist by night who declares war on heavy industry armed with bow and arrows. But what will happen to her secret activities when her request for adoption is finally accepted?

Although hard to classify (is it a drama? a comedy? a musical?), the movie seems to tap into the ethical issues of our times, and it does so humorously and intelligently.

“Thematically, ‘Woman at War’ sounds so easy: a righteous topic, a sense of solidarity for the things that count, a satisfying stand by one woman against the powerful forces of industry,” wrote Jay Weissberg from Variety.com.  “Erlingsson’s genius lies in how he puts it all together with such witty intelligence, arranging beautifully shot picaresque episodes around a central figure who lives the ideals of the heroes she has hanging on her wall, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.”

According to The Guardian, instead, what makes the movie is really its premise, but the visuals and performances also receive praise. “‘Woman at war’ is confidently and rather stylishly made, with the same eccentric poise that distinguished [Erlingsson’s] equine success, and the same sweeping sense of landscape,” Peter Bradshaw writes.

“Bound to be one of the hot sellers at this year’s Cannes, the film is likely to do bang-up business worldwide,” Variety.com concludes. Since the Cannes Film Festival ends on May 19th, we still don’t know whether ‘Kona fer í strið’ will be as successful with the critics as amongst the international media, but we certainly hope so.


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