Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the Hampton’s Film Festival, this charming, stunningly shot drama focuses on two Icelandic sheep farmers whose decades-long feud comes to a head when disaster strikes their flocks. In a secluded valley, estranged brothers Gummi and Kiddi live side by side tending to their prized ancestral sheep stock, despite not having spoken in 40 years. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, all the animals in the area are culled to contain the outbreak, with many farmers abandoning their land. But the brothers don’t give up so easily and each 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, they will need to come together to save the special breed, passed down for generations, and themselves from extinction.
Serious and moving but also with a bleaker than bleak Scandinavian sense of humor, Rams is so much its own film that figuring out where its unusual, unpredictable plot will end up is difficult if not impossible. Writer-director Grímur Hákonarson tempers heartbreak with flashes of dry humour, carried on excellent performances of the two lead actors. The brothers, so different in terms of how they live their lives, have only their devotion to their flocks in common, even if it adds rivalry to their feud. A lovely film that will stay with you.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall