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The County

The County image - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
The County image - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
The County image - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
The County image - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
The County image - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
2021 SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL - FROM 6 JULY
The County poster - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
Stirring. This is a film about the clash of old and new, but there’s something else, too. Egilsdóttir’s excellent performance as Inga shows us a principled woman, rejuvenated by her battle against corruption: a woman who is thrilled, not just by the principled confrontation with these local bullies but the prospect of just being rid of everything.
Rousing. A quietly gripping study of moral courage. Beneath the superficial stillness – no one moves very fast in this windswept world – there’s a burning sense of injustice at work, and a lovely streak of bone-dry humour too.
Like ‘Rams’, The County blends elements of heartfelt tragedy with absurdist comedy, conjuring a humanist portrait of life in which community and loneliness coexist in a landscape of contradictions – geographical, personal, and political. Carrying the film shoulder high, Egilsdóttir does a terrific job of embodying Inga’s gradual change from stoically suffering farm owner to unstoppable force of nature, a change that catches everyone, friends and foe alike, by surprise. There’s an echo of Frances McDormand’s middle-aged antiheroine from ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the rebellious figure Inga becomes, although anyone who enjoyed Benedikt Erlingsson’s 2018 Icelandic hit ‘Woman at War’ may see closer ties with that film’s eco-warrior. The drama may be down to earth, but that doesn’t stop the film – or indeed its protagonist – from dreaming big, and daring to look beyond the horizon.
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Cast: Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson
Duration: 92mins
Country of Origin: Iceland
M
Mature themes and coarse language
Stirring. This is a film about the clash of old and new, but there’s something else, too. Egilsdóttir’s excellent performance as Inga shows us a principled woman, rejuvenated by her battle against corruption: a woman who is thrilled, not just by the principled confrontation with these local bullies but the prospect of just being rid of everything.
Rousing. A quietly gripping study of moral courage. Beneath the superficial stillness – no one moves very fast in this windswept world – there’s a burning sense of injustice at work, and a lovely streak of bone-dry humour too.
Like ‘Rams’, The County blends elements of heartfelt tragedy with absurdist comedy, conjuring a humanist portrait of life in which community and loneliness coexist in a landscape of contradictions – geographical, personal, and political. Carrying the film shoulder high, Egilsdóttir does a terrific job of embodying Inga’s gradual change from stoically suffering farm owner to unstoppable force of nature, a change that catches everyone, friends and foe alike, by surprise. There’s an echo of Frances McDormand’s middle-aged antiheroine from ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the rebellious figure Inga becomes, although anyone who enjoyed Benedikt Erlingsson’s 2018 Icelandic hit ‘Woman at War’ may see closer ties with that film’s eco-warrior. The drama may be down to earth, but that doesn’t stop the film – or indeed its protagonist – from dreaming big, and daring to look beyond the horizon.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION – 2020 NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2020 PERTH FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Writer/director Grímur Hákonarson’s eagerly-anticipated follow up to the worldwide hit Rams is a rousing, David-and-Goliath comedy about a farmer’s wife who steps up to take on the corrupt local co-op in her remote Icelandic valley.

Dairy farmers Inga (Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir) and her husband Reynir (Hinrik Ólafsson), love each other deeply, but are trapped – they’re in debt, they’re working 24/7 and haven’t had a vacation in years. Inga has always been frustrated by the unquestioned commitment Reynir has to the local co-operative, unable to see the logic in them holding a monopoly over the milk they produce (nor in being forced to pay considerably more for groceries and supplies than what those items cost online or in Reykjavik).

So after disaster strikes, and the plucky Inga is forced to try and make it on her own, she launches a social media campaign to bring attention to the organisation’s exploitative practices. Unfortunately, everyone else in the community is dependent on its economic heft, and Inga’s quest soon makes her the target of a ruthless adversary.

Reminiscent of underdog fables such as Woman At War and Three Billboards, and driven by Egilsdóttir's commanding and moving performance (as well as a fine turn from Rams star Sigurður Sigurjónsson as the co-op's self-assured director), Hákonarson’s humanistic and charming film deftly melds wry humour and Icelandic gruffness to deliver an crowd-pleasing tale of a woman who’s simply had enough, and decides to try to live life on her own terms.

The County poster - a film by Grímur Hákonarson
2021 SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL - FROM 6 JULY
Touring nationally, 6 Jul to 4 Aug 2021