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  • This movie could have been very preachy. It deals with a middle-aged woman who is very concerned about the effects of industry on the Icelandic environment and decides to take a very active role in opposing it, sabotaging efforts to create a new aluminum processing plant. All very PC.

    But it is the form that makes this movie truly exceptional, not to mention fun and fascinating to watch. It is full of imaginative touches that seem to come out of nowhere and that capture your attention and admiration.

    The acting is fine, and some of the countryside shots are wonderful, but it's not a scenic tour of Iceland. Rather, it's a remarkably create take on what could have been a very dull topic.
  • "Woman at war" it is a story about strong female who trying to do all she can, at any price, in order to save her homeland ecosystem. She is in partisan war against big technological giant who pollute her land. I give my salute and an applause to Halldóra Geirharðsdótti for her amazing performance both twins sisters Halla and Asa. The way how Halldóra run on Icelandic mounts and survice in wild nature would make to envy every single trail runner in the world together with Bear Grylls. Of course Cinematograph - Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson. The camera of this man shows magnificent landscapes of Iceland. I know it was shown many times ago in many movies. But in "Woman at the war" we don't see warm and green Iceland, as well as cold and snow land of Vikings. No we see foggy and grey tons, but this fact doesn't bring shade to Mr. Björgúlfsson work. Because the weather and colors of nature represent mood of protagonist. If you look at main banner of this film you may find hidden symbol. Treble clef. Because music is playing very important, or even A Key role in the movie. When Halla takes an actions and fights against police, government and spies systems we can hear\see her feelings & mood "in hands" of Icelandic music trio (Drumms\Sousaphone\Pianist &accordion). When, suddenly, in her life appears a hope, that somewhere in Ukraine there is a small girl (Nika) who lost her parents, at the war, from that moment, every single thought of Nika create for Halla a group of three Ukrainian choir singers. During all actions and all circumstances main heroine participate in, we see those 6 musicians represents different sides, and always split. But only at the end, we saw all of them standing together, when Halla and Nika finally met. I think these unity of different music styles together shows that Halla has finally find a peace in her life. This movie have everything. Good Acting performance. Great - cinematography. An Amazing music. Without any doubts - One of the best movies of 2018.
  • Every single scene, from the first second on, is sheer perfection. I wanna be Halla when I grow up!
  • A virtuous man alone against the system, there has been a lot on the silver screen, particularly when it comes to American movies where the figure of the individual hero is set, in accordance with the American ethos, as the paramount role model. From early cinema till today, examples abound, among the most seminal "The Life of Emile Zola", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "The Setup", "Harvey Milk" come to mind, but they are but a few samples of a practically endless list. By contrast, their female equivalents can be counted on the fingers of one hand: women fighting alone like Sally Field ("Norma Rae") or Julia Roberts ("Erin Brokovich") are the exceptions that prove the rule. But, well, The Times Are-A-Changin', as Bob Dylan once sang and are slowly acquiring (not everywhere alas!) the role they deserve. A point illustrated by this excellent Icelandic film, aptly titled 'Woman at War', offering the striking portrait of a modern-times female warrior, the wonderful Halla, played by the equally awesome actress Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir ("Regina!", "Of Horses and Men"). Inventively directed by Benedikt Erlingsson (the author of the already mentioned "Of Horses and Men"), it may well become a cult classic.

    To tell you the truth, before entering the hall, I thought I knew in advance how the film would develop : a corrupt system (in this case an aluminium company that threatens the environment of Iceland and its people), would make the protagonist (a carbon copy of the white hero) an activist who would start by winning her first fights before having to face severe counter-attacks only to triumph in the end, all the wrongs righted. The only thing that really attracted me was that the story was set among the unusual landscapes of Iceland. How big (and pleasant) my surprise was! For, as of the very first shot, it was quite evident that "Woman at War" was not going to tread the beaten track. What other movie indeed opens on a fifty-year old lady drawing a bow and shooting an arrow towards high voltage power lines? And not only that but also managing to cause a short-circuit cutting off supply in the aluminium plant area? There mustn't be many. Such an attack against toxic modernism carried out by a woman using archaic weapons sets the tone for this fanciful and utterly unpredictable film.

    For, in the wake of this inspired overture, imagination, suspense, laughter, happily follow suit. The delighted viewer is indeed treated to a whole menu of various pleasures, such as breathless sequences (Halla being hunted by cars, dogs, drones, helicopters), constant surprises and twists (impossible while watching a scene to guess what will come after), unexpected changes of tone (the underground warrior being also the conductor of an amateur choir), unusual ideas (Halla saved from icy waters by being plunged into a... hot water source), detachment from the action (the ever-present brass band) and irrepressible comedy (the recurring mishaps of a poor foreigner). At the same time and for the same ticket price, you get a very serious social and political commentary (among the topics broached, corruption, commitment, environment, the future of mankind). And although this last aspect is pessimistic, even bordering on bitterness and despair, it is always alleviated by the writer-director's sense of humor and narrative skills.

    A very positive assesment, to which can be added a fine homegenous cast in which Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, remarkable as she is, never tries to be number one.

    All in all, a perfect film, managing to combine art, entertainment and reflection, which is not so common. Recommended of course.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although in her late forties, eco-warrior Halla is an all-action woman: she thinks nothing of yomping across the Icelandic countryside, wading through icy streams and even disguising herself with a dead ram's carcass as she wages her campaign against heavy industry. But when a long-forgotten application to become an adoptive parent suddenly proves successful, Halla has to step up her campaign just as the police start getting more hi-tech...

    I will deal with the bad points first: a three-piece band (sometimes with a choir in what I think are Ukrainian traditional costumes - the film is part-financed by Ukraine) are frequently seen on-screen as they provide the background music. They are in the countryside, at the airport, in Halla's flat... while this is a device that is amusing the first time it is used - and is perhaps supposed to indicate Halla's feeling of increasingly being oppressed as the authorities get closer - the viewer ends up feeling oppressed too. Secondly, although brief mention is made of the benefits of development, the overall tenet of the film leans so heavily in the direction of environmentalism that it is very one-sided: for instance, the final shot of the band (oh, blessed relief!) sees their background of pristine Icelandic countryside transform into a dirty industrial landscape, and the last scene of the entire film has a group of bus passengers forced to abandon their vehicle and wade through flooding caused, I suppose, by climate change. I actually agree with the environmental argument, but in a work of fiction would prefer not to be preached at.

    On the other hand, a film with an active middle-aged woman as the main character is unusual. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is engaging as Halla (and also plays Halla's New Age sister). The Icelandic scenery is as bleakly magnificent as always - indeed, the film could almost act as a tourism advertisement for Iceland, if it did not also suggest visitors to the country will spend their time being wrongly arrested for crimes committed by local eco-warriors...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Kona fer í stríð" is a relatively new Icelandic movie from 2018 that already garnered a pretty solid amount of awards recognition. It runs for 100 minutes approximately and was written and directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, his second full feature non-documentary and from what I saw here he is also a pretty prolific actor. But now to this movie. The main character is played by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir and the name tells you of course that she is also Icelandic as is the rest of the cast pretty much, so don't worry if you have never come across any of the cast members here. You don't need to in order to enjoy the watch. By the way, the lead actress also plays the character that is the main character's identical twin sister, so she is really in each and every scene here, sometimes twice in fact. This film is about eco-terrorism, not only, but that is very much at the center of it all. And despite how likable the main character is depicted here, it should not be forgotten that she is a criminal and not just a petty thief or so. Her actions cause millions of dollars damage to companies and to the country. So no surprise the police is constantly after her. It is also interesting to discuss how much she maybe loves the thrill of it all, but actually I believe it is more about the message and her motivations really than about a need for thrill. It is also a bit of an addiction you could say because even after she has a chance to find private happiness by adopting a daughter, she cannot stop with her actions and they become more and more intense. Sure you can also see it she wants to stop with these sabotage procedures at a peak and that's why she virtually blows stuff up, but yeah. I would not be entirely surprised if she gets back to what she does when having her daughter. Sounds fairly serious so far and there are many serious moments and plot components for sure here, but there is also some comedy. Of course you'd think immediately about the tourist fella who keeps getting arrested and humiliated instead of the actual offender and this is a pretty nice running gag, even if it is entirely realistic. But it is funny for sure, especially in the last scene. What else is funny? How she constantly keeps getting away with tricks from the police. It's the little details there like the Mandela mask etc. You will recognize them when you see them. Or the guy they call the uncle. The only recurring comedic reference I did not approve of was how the soundtrack was displayed visually by depicting the actual musicians on many occasions, also have them walk through the water at the very end. Not that the music was bad or so and of course my perception there is also entirely subjective. Maybe this lighter side is also an indicator that the film ended in a happy fashion perhaps. I am not sure if this was the right choice or if the sister's actions felt really realistic given what happened to her because of her sister's crimes and if she'd really give up on her 2-year plan. Maybe it does not need to be entirely realistic to succeed. Still there are more than enough realistic moments. It was for good reason this film got picked by the Icelandic film comitee to represent the country at the Oscars, even if it did not get in. May have needed a 15-country field perhaps. Anyway, this movie is definitely worth seeing. Not only because of Erlingsson's vision, the beautiful cinematography, the strong lead performance, but also for elaborating on an important and serious subject while still managing to put a smile on people's lips and never become condescending or so. It is a smart movie. It is an entertaining movie. It is a good movie. Go check it out if you get the chance. Always nice to see such little countries produce quality films like this one we have here. Thumbs up!
  • benyoo6 January 2019
    8/10
    8
    Compelling movie, doesn´t leave you off the hook a minute, fantastic story, striking performance.