Posts Tagged ‘Benedikt Erlingsson’

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir

“WOMAN AT WAR” My rating: B

101 minutes | No MPAA rating

A middle-aged choir director maintains a double life as an eco-terrorist in “Woman at War,” an Icelandic film that despite its heavyweight themes maintains a surprisingly airy tone.

At 49 Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) lives what appears to be an unremarkable life in Reykjavik.  On her weekends, though, she loads up a backpack and heads deep into the country’s rugged, treeless interior where she wreaks havoc on the electrical grid.

Halla’s motives and how she came by them are never fully explained in the screenplay by director Benedikt Erlingsson and Olafur Emilsson.

Apparently she opposes an Icelandic/Chinese consortium dedicated to beefing up heavy industry, which Hanna believes will destroy the environment. She employs technology as basic as a bow and arrow and as sophisticated as military-grade explosives to bring down high-tension transmission towers, cutting off the juice to a large foundry she regards as a particularly odious polluter.

She’s a one-woman wrecking crew and the authorities employ everything from satellites to heat sensors, drones and flying squads of military commandos in an effort to put an end to Hanna’s activities.  She is surprisingly good at avoiding detection, though it’s pretty clear her days are numbered.

Now a yarn like this could be played for polemic drama, but director Erlingsson instead opts for whimsy.

There is, for instance, the musical score, performed by six musicians (pianist/accordianist, drummer, tuba player, and three women singers) not just on the soundtrack but in the film itself.  Thus as Hanna treks across a volcanic landscape she passes the musicians, who have set up their instruments in the wide open spaces. Occasionally the players — invisible to everyone save the audience — will react (wordlessly) to the scenes being played out in front of them.

Then there’s a semi-comic subplot about a bicycle-riding South American tourist (Juan Camillo Roman Estrada) who is always at the wrong place at the wrong time and is arrested repeatedly on suspicion of being the terrorist. Worst vacation ever.


Read Full Post »