Tender comic drama from Iceland
The sibling rivalry between two ageing sheep farmers provides the backdrop to Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams, a tender comedy about the struggle for independence in today’s economic climate.
The brothers live opposite each other but haven’t spoken in years, communicating solely through notes delivered by their sheepdog. However, when an outbreak of scrapie (BSA) is discovered the authorities impose a cull, forcing the brothers into a corner. Do they stubbornly continue their feud, or resolve their differences and fight to save the deeply rooted traditions of their sheep-farming community?
Hákonarson’s background in documentary filmmaking imparts this battle of wits and wills with a humanistic angle, while the austere beauty of Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s cinematography allows the harsh Icelandic elements to articulate the external forces at play. This combination of visual lyricism and naturalism allows Rams to transcend its parochial surroundings and posit more universal questions about globalisation. A beautiful film that’s both broad in its emotional intensity, yet intimately invested in local detail.