A White, White Day

“I’ve been there in Iceland when it was like that”, I whispered in the ear of my friend as we watched the film, “A White, White Day”. “You were there in winter, weren’t you?”, she asked to which I replied, “No it was summer. But there were still four seasons in the one day”.

A bus trip in Iceland. When we started out, it was a bright, sunny day. By the end of our trip thirty minutes later, there was a blizzard.

Some of the earliest scenes in the film show people driving along remote roads in Iceland, where the line between the land and the sky blur. It’s all white, it’s all grey.

Fade to grey
The only other time I’d experienced something similar was visiting the West Coast of Sweden.

Those road trips are pivotal to the film, as that’s where one of the lead characters comes to an untimely death.

There was an interesting parralel between this film, and the last film I’d seen, “Bellbird”. In both cases, the death of the wife and mother brings about re-evaluation by those left behind, and a series of relationship changes. However, the gentle evolution of relationships found in “Bellbird” is contrasted with the drama of the experiences of those in “A White, White Day”.

There were times when I had to look away. There were some moments of uncomfortable violence. There were moments when you thought the film would go into a much deeper, darker space.

Though “slow” for a while, the film picks up pace towards the end. On top of the cinematography (which is beautiful), the acting and direction are wonderful. In particular, there’s a standout performance by a young actor in the role of the grand-daughter. “Could she look any more Icelandic?”, my friend whispered, referring to her blonde hair and blue eyes.

Despite the darker moments, it was a really enjoyable film, and once which my friend and I both enjoyed. We were both looking forward to the film very much, as we had previously seen the film “Hrutar” / “Rams”, also from Iceland, and also from the same director.

“They punch above their weight”, my friend commented about Icelandic culture more generally. In movies, in music and culture, Iceland has produced some amazing material in recent years.

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