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Published April 3rd 2019
Can one person make a change?
Woman at War is a thoughtful and dynamic blend of genres and is a delightful and whimsical Icelandic movie with a plot that is more serious than expected from its billing as a "comedy/thriller/drama".
The story takes us on a journey filled with continuous thrills and a side of laughs and endearing moments, following Halla (Halldora Geirharosdottir) who is in her early fifties, rebellious and confident eponymous 'Mountain Woman' who is an activist fighting a power company who are trying to finalise a mysterious deal with Chinese investors.
Halla lives in a handsomely appointed home where pictures of Nelson Mandela and Ghandi decorate her workspace, she rides her bike to work and wears a congenial smile and leads a responsible life and a secret double-life..
Behind the scenes of her quiet routine, she mostly operates alone in her heroic yet elaborate quests, sabotaging power lines and skillfully evading capture from the local Keystone Cops. This beloved, single choir director discovers that her long lost dream of adopting a child is about to come to fruition.
She secretly wages this 'one-woman war' on the local aluminium industry. Her actions grow bolder, from petty vandalism to outright industrial sabotage; she succeeds in pausing the negotiations between the Icelandic government and the corporation building a new aluminium smelter.
She slowly finds herself at life-threatening odds with the authorities and their intensifying efforts to hunt her down. This couldn't be happening at a more inconvenient time for her- when suddenly, her long-awaited child adoption plans start looking like a real possibility after the adaptation agency finds her an orphaned little girl in the Ukraine.
When she receives the unexpected letter that changes everything (her application to adopt a child is finally accepted) for her to fulfil her dream of becoming a mother, she decides to plot one final attack to deal the aluminium industry a crippling blow...
The film brilliantly melds together smart and wry humour which informs and deepens Halla's journey as a single woman, friendly neighbour and concerned citizen looking for a place in a deteriorating world that she desperately tries to make better.
Woman at War is a striking perfect balance between delivering character study, urgent environmental and societal message as well as delivering good old-fashioned entertainment through a genuine and warm tale of one woman's stubborn efforts to be on the right side of history.
Woman at War will be in cinemas from Thursday, 4 April.