Of Horses and Men **** (vo Icelandic) We are back in the Northern climes (after the brilliant Norwegian Refroidis/Kraftidioten), this time in Iceland, where at times they come up with superb cinema – mostly of the poker-faced, comedic style at which they excel. How can one describe this one by the talented first-time director Benedikt Erlingsson? There is a small community of spread-out properties with scattered neighbours who are very curious about each other despite the distances between them. That‘s how these people are – very nosy, but brought up not to show any interest.
These various stories – all concerning horses – provide the thread: a proud, eligible man visits a lady neighbour and her family on his beautiful horse, but is terribly shamed when his mare and her stallion seem to get to coupling before their owners – hilarious and shocking! A man bent on getting his vodka uses a horse to swim out to the Russian trawler that sells him the hooch. Widows multiply as their spouses drop off like flies, due to all sorts of excess, and the eligible man seems to be their only goal. The majesty of the wild horses, much like in the American west and the smouldering emotions of these uptight inhabitants make for a strange and fascinating tale of horses, men and intense women…
As this is a MUST, catch it at the Grütli in Geneva, before it is gone on 16/12.
(photos – Filmcoopi)
Timbuktu **** (vo Arabic, French, etc.) When I saw this film in Cannes this past May, I felt it should have received the Palme d’Or. Done in the style of magical realism, its beauty and relevance come from its delicate yet direct manner in portraying the effects of radical Islamism in Africa today. The bright colours of the south and its lively people contrast with the harshness of the marauding fanatics who run the place. The great director Abderrahmane Sissako of Mauritania gives us here a lesson in humanity, tragedy and resistance. This is a grand, important work.
(photos – Trigon films)
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Germany and Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.