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The film is indeed an excellent and very dynamic balance of several genres: comedy and drama, hectic and suspense-filled action and detachment with a touch of fable, very strong realism regarding the fight against the climate imbalances caused by man and the deep connection with the ancient wisdom of the body and Viking power. In short, a feminist film, not lacking material for reflection in a very entertaining package that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Everything starts with a pair of feet on the ground, immersed in the extreme isolation of a (sublime) Icelandic moor, Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, who carries the film brilliantly on her shoulders) – a small fifty-year-old woman – carries a bow and fires an arrow, launching a cable over the immense power lines that striate the landscape. Moments later, she short-circuits an entire aluminium smelter on the other side of the island before running away, hunted by a police helicopter, which she shakes off with the unexpected assistance of a farmer cousin (Jóhann Sigurðarson). We soon learn that this is our heroine’s – the real Amazonian ecologist and professional singing teacher – fifth go at this. Portraits of Gandhi and Mandela adorn the walls of her apartment in a city that she travels by bike, and where she meets up with her twin sister and yoga teacher Asa (played by the same actress). But Halla’s clandestine fight against polluting multinationals is turned upside down by some unexpected news: an adoption request she made four years ago has been accepted and a little Ukrainian orphan is waiting to be picked up in the Ukraine. Our intrepid and very methodical „mountain woman“ (the nickname given to her by the media) decides to make a big splash whilst the authorities pursue her on charges of terrorism…
Perfectly employing his country’s natural setting, Benedikt Erlingsson shapes a breathless, physical and brilliantly-structured film, in which drones and sheep cross paths in the wake of its protagonist, ultra-determined in the defence of her ideal. Both a message and a call to civil resistance in order save nature from industrial greed, Woman at War does not bother with psychological quibbles, but instead gets straight to the point by dramatising its purpose with a trio of musicians who accompany the action as it unfolds. A small stylistic coquetry which, despite not being annoying, could have been a tad more limited, but does not, however, detract from this pleasing film’s very positive impact, both in terms of content and form.
Sjá nánar hér: Review: Woman at War