Rams (2015 film)
|Directed by||Grímur Hákonarson|
|Produced by||Grímar Jónsson|
|Written by||Grímur Hákonarson|
|Music by||Atli Örvarsson|
|Cinematography||Sturla Brandth Grøvlen|
|Edited by||Kristján Loðmfjörð|
|Box office||$1.90 million|
Rams (Icelandic: Hrútar) is a 2015 Icelandic drama film written and directed by Grímur Hákonarson. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Prix Un Certain Regard. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was selected as the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated. In 2016, online newspaper Kjarninn voted it the second greatest Icelandic film of all time.
Two sheep farming brothers haven't spoken to each other for forty years due to differences in their personalities, complicated by one brother's poor temper and alcoholism (it is implied his problems caused him to be disinherited, another source of strife between the two men), and the other brother's resentment and jealousy. They live in adjacent houses on the family farm, legally owned by the sober brother. Both are unmarried and attached to their flocks. A prize-winning ram belonging to the alcoholic brother is found to have scrapie, causing all the sheep in the whole region – even though they show no symptoms – to be destroyed as a precaution so that the disease does not spread to the entire country. The farmers must also burn all their hay and disinfect the barns.
The sober brother, Gummi, kills his own flock before the biohazards team arrive, but he hides a few ewes and a ram in the basement of his house, as they are the last of their breed. His errant brother Kiddi blames Gummi for reporting the disease and the subsequent kill, enflaming tensions between them. Kiddi refuses to kill his own sheep, and after authorities intervene and exterminate them, he becomes more frequently drunk and abusive. He also refuses to clean his barn, so as the legal owner, Gummi must step in and clean it – which he does while Kiddi is in the hospital. Upon his return, sobered-up Kiddi accidentally discovers Gummi's hidden flock of sheep and wants to help save them, but Gummi refuses all association. When a member of the cleanup team also discovers the hidden sheep, the two brothers are forced to collaborate and they attempt to drive them into the highlands in a blizzard. Their quad bike bogs down in a snowdrift, and the brothers become separated. The drove wander off, and Kiddi finds Gummi in a snowdrift, near death from hypothermia. He attempts to save his brother by building a makeshift snow shelter, but Gummi does not revive. The film ends with Kiddi attempting to warm Gummi in the womb-like shelter, acknowledging their reconciliation.
- Sigurður Sigurjónsson as Gummi
- Theódór Júlíusson as Kiddi
- Charlotte Bøving as Katrin
- Jon Benonysson as Runólfur
- Gunnar Jónsson as Grímur
- Þorleifur Einarsson as Sindri
- Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson as Bjarni
Rams was based on a story told by the director's father about two brothers sharing the same land who had a falling out over a woman and stopped speaking to each other for 40 years. Grímur liked the tragicomic underpinnings of the story, noting that such conflicts can be common in rural Iceland and beyond. "These brothers are not only in sheep farming, they are also in the parliament.”
The film was shot with anamorphic lenses to impart the feeling of a western and was partially inspired by the 2007 film There Will Be Blood, as well as the work of the Finnish filmmaker, Aki Kaurismäki. Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson, two of Iceland's best known actors, prepared for their roles by working on a sheep farm. Most of the other characters were actual farmers, as was the film's sheep trainer.
Rams received critical acclaim from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 95% based on 99 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7.7/10. The critical consensus states: "Rams transcends its remote location -- and somewhat esoteric storyline -- by using the easily relatable dynamic between two stubborn brothers to speak universal truths." On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 82 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Rams won the prize for Un Certain Regard for 2015, the top prize conferred by a jury presided over by Isabella Rossellini. At the 2015 Transilvania International Film Festival, Rams won the Special Jury Award (i.e. third place) and also won the Audience Award (most votes for a film in competition). It won the Audience award at the Tromsø International Film Festival and Iranian Fajr Film Festival in 2016.
- List of submissions to the 88th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Icelandic submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "RAMS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- "Rams (Hrútar)". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- "Rams (press kit)" (PDF). New Europe Film Sales. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- Wendy Mitchell (26 November 2015). "'Rams' director Grimur Hákonarson plots next film". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
Rams was a co-production with Denmark’s Profile Pictures and made in association with Norway’s Film Farms and Poland’s Aeroplan
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- "RAMS (HRÚTAR) (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
- "Rams". Metacritic. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "14th Transilvania IFF Awards" (Press release). Transilvania International Film Festival. 7 June 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- "TIFF 2016 AWARDS". Tromsø Internasjonale Filmfestival. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "Icelandic film 'Rams' a hit with Iranian audience". Mehr News Agency. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.