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Woman at War, true Viking spirit.

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Iceland has very strong environmental protections, so when the lead character, Halla, in Woman At War, fights to halt the encroaching aluminum industry, we discover a serious activist with a sense of humor and a cause. Known by reputation as the  Woman of the Mountain, Halla leads a double life, directing a choir by day while secretly committing vandalism on the corporation with her Viking inspired bow and arrow. Halla is such a powerful person; we see her use her body for sport, climbing  and performing clever physical deeds…she is active in ways women are too rarely seen in film. Halla is not about being watched; she watches, constantly on the alert to protect nature and the future of nature for our world.

Halla befriends a man who may or may not be a cousin … he, too, is fighting for the land and calls his herding dog Woman. He helps Halla, but mostly she goes it alone and is fine, until her life’s journey comes to a fork. She receives a letter that her application to adopt a little girl has finally come through and a new role is in the offing, to be a  mother to a Ukrainian child

Halldóra Geirhasdóttir is such a fine actress that we witness her internal struggle as she must now contemplate a future for humanity and the environment through dangerous activism or the future of an orphaned child by giving her a homelife. She cannot do both.

Director Benedikt Erlingsson uses a sort of musical Greek chorus of indigenous singers who follow her around, reminiscent of the odd musicians who show up in a Fellini film, commenting subtly on the main players. They are amusing, but the heart of this wonderful film is Halla and her character.  When she argues with her twin sister who prefers to live in India with a guru ‘going inside’ to  Halla’s tackling the outer world, you know that it is not because Halla is unconscious. She has contemplated and made choices from a strong moral, humble fiber, characteristics we see too little of today.

The rugged landscape is beautifully filmed by Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson

Run to this film. It is funny, touching and speaks to the idea of the strong and good mother…what nature and the environment cries out for if we are indeed to keep going.

The film is playing at the IFC and Landmark Theatre.

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Written by nancykoan

February 21, 2019 at 2:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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