"It’s a difficult film and almost dares the viewer to stop viewing and look away after the first minutes of a long static scene. But looking away from the masterpiece would be precisely the wrong thing to do but a worthy choice nonetheless because this is the type of film that’s not going to appeal to a lot of people."........more here: - Brief Take
VINTERBRØDRE is in the official competition at the Oldenburg Film Festival, Germany. This is our German premiere, more info here:
"Visually breathtaking, Pálmason’s debut marks the arrival of an astounding new voice in cinema."
Winter Brothers is part of the Discovery section at TIFF this year, many thanks to Steve. Here is how he describes the film:
Hlynur Pálmason’s feature debut examines the lives of Johan and his younger brother Emil, two miners whose routines, habits, and rituals are ruptured by a violent feud with a neighbouring family.
Shot in an eerie, near-apocalyptic industrial landscape, with a ferociously stylized aesthetic that suggests a surreal Dorothea Lange, Hlynur Pálmason's Winter Brothers examines the lives of miners in a remote region. Younger brother Emil (Elliott Crosset Hove) and his older, less excitable sibling Johan (Simon Sears) — our ostensible heroes, Peckinpah's Gorch brothers reincarnated as wage slaves — are dominated by the company and the constant, deafening hum of the machines they effectively serve.
The miners live in prefab sheds seemingly held together by mould. Emil's only consistent outlets, besides forlornly pining for the lone woman in town, are watching an instructional video on how to properly shoot an antique rifle and the making, consuming, and selling of moonshine. That his latest batch may have made some of his fellow miners seriously ill only exacerbates his outsider status.
Where Winter Brothers is set is wisely never specified. The dire conditions the miners work under could be anywhere the prominent and greedy abuse the powerless — from Fort McMurray to a Soviet gulag to Trump's imaginary returning coal mines. The edgy political observations in the film would be more than enough to recommend it, but Pálmason's unique vision, fierce aesthetic, and eye for telling detail make it essential viewing. His fearless approach to the medium suggests similarities with some of the most promising, intriguing filmmakers working today, such as Ruben Östlund, Ashley McKenzie, and Kevan Funk.
The writer-director works with situations rather than a plot, crafting an expressive narrative distorted by hallucinatory and neurotic digressions as Emil slowly becomes more alienated and alienating. In one such bout of fantasy invading the harsh world of Winter Brothers, Emil unlocks the great mystery of mankind when he delivers the crucial demand of wanting to be “loved and fucked”, addressing precisely the primeval urge, maybe even being the tremendous enigma of the meaning of life, to fulfil the dualism of the human condition, psychological and physical, that wields damaging, even devastating, power over oneself. - Screen Anarchy
There's not even one single frame wasted in the directorial debut of Hlynur Pálmason. Even if it is surprising to find in a first feature film such a visual awareness marked out with powerful stylish intuition, it's less unusual to think that Vinterbrødre is one part of a path which crosses photography, painting, land art and installations; moreover, it is constantly feeding upon the strength of natural elements. The whiteness in the movie is not only represented by the snow which covers a natural and devastated landscape and that total blackness is not only portrayed by the deafening darkness of a mountain. Indeed, Pálmason also uses minerals and chemicals almost as if they were characters in one of his pieces of art, he scatters shapes and traces, and places iconic objects and gestures. More extreme colours are added to the prominent white and black and some scenes would deserve an expressive out of focus that is no longer permitted by digital. This is how the world looks like for Emil, who behind the enigmatic and incredible look of Elliott Crosset Hove, knows only sudden extreme and opposite impulses. His world is in a new cold war, enemies are everywhere and it's not by chance that their boss is Lars Mikkelsen, the ineffable Russian President Viktor Petrov of House of Cards. There is no peace, we have to get the gun and prepare to fight.
VINTERBRØDRE wins four awards at Locarno Film Festival. Best actor in the main competition, Junior Jury Prize - 1'st place, critics special mention and European Cinama awards (distribution award), more here.