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#eco-anxiety #activism #clashes

2018 / Iceland, France, Ukraine

Length: 100 min

Language: Russia

Subtitles: English

Classification: U


Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

Writers: Benedikt Erlingsson, Ólafur Egill Egilsson

Cinematography: Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson

Editing: Davíð Alexander Corno

Music: Davíð Þór Jónsson

Production: Benedikt Erlingsson, Carine Leblanc, Marianne Slot


Woman at War

Few people in her hometown know that outside of her conventional city life, choir conductor Halla is a determined environmental activist, whose goal is to disrupt the operations of an aluminium factory in the highlands of Iceland. Armed with an impressive array of battle gear, Halla is able to disappear into the landscape like a chameleon. After one successful operation Halla gets an unexpected phone call. The adoption application she submitted years ago has been approved and there is a little orphaned girl waiting for her in Ukraine. At the same time, the Icelandic government has set up a manhunt to catch her. How will Halla combine the upcoming adoption with her calling as an eco-warrior?

Despite the tormenting nature of the film’s ecological theme, at the end of the day Woman at War, with its quirks and black humour, is a film that can be enjoyed with a relatively light heart. Halla’s belief in her actions is greater than the industrial giants, threatening local ecosystems, or the state apparatus that is being controlled by the former. They don’t scare her, but instead she is troubled by the age-old dilemma, familiar for women the world over: should she choose her career or motherhood? In Halla’s case, this situation is made all the more complicated by the fact that the career that concerns her isn’t the one of choir conductor. If she doesn’t abandon her calling as an environmentalist saboteur, will she sabotage a little girl’s chances of a new home, family and safety?

The film won the coveted Nordic Council Film Prize in 2018 as well as the SACD screenwriting award at Cannes Film Festival.

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