ON SCREEN // HOP FILM
Aging bachelor farmers, their beloved sheep and breathtaking Icelandic vistas clash in this funny and moving tale.
Two aging brothers and next-door neighbors: Gummi is quiet but essentially decent, while Kiddi is a bombastic, misanthropic drunk. They do, however, share a passionate love and lifelong dedication to their sheep. Locked in a decades-long feud, the brothers go to dryly comical extremes to avoid any contact, until their livelihoods and prize herds are threatened by a contagious disease. Come for the breathtaking Icelandic vistas, stay for the sheep. D: Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland, subtitled, 2015, 1h 33m
Programmed in conjunction with the June 29 performance of Doggie Hamlet
A.O. Scott describes the balance between the comedy of daily life and the icy chill of a blood feud in Rams:
Even though they live in rural Iceland, thousands of miles from the Holy Land, and in a modern reality of computers and mechanized farm equipment, Gummi and Kiddi have a decidedly Old Testament vibe. It’s not just the untended beards and the well-tended sheep. The two men, who live on neighboring farms in a quiet valley, are feuding brothers, locked in a sibling rivalry that recalls Jacob and Esau or Cain and Abel. The sources of the bad blood are never specified, but it trickles though Rams , Grimur Hakonarson’s new film, like an icy stream.
Mr. Hakonarson’s patient attention to the brothers’ daily routines yields some low-key humor, and Rams is in some respects a familiar kind of Nordic comedy , deadpan and touched with melancholy, about stoical men with unusual jobs. There are simple, satisfying sight gags built around the clumsiness of farm machinery, the absurdity of sheep and the indignities of advancing age and cold weather. But despite its affection for the quirks of its characters and their milieu, the film is most memorable for its gravity, for the almost tragic nobility it finds in sad and silly circumstances.READ MORE