Once in a while, a piece of work comes along that reminds you why film matters.
Hlynur Pálmason’s A White, White Day is one such film.
Former police chief Ingimundur has lost his wife to a car accident two years previously. He seeks solace in the renovation of a small house in the Icelandic wilderness, and in the company of his nine year old granddaughter.
Ingvar E. Sigurdsson towers over the screen like a latter-day Max Von Sydow. His performance is controlled, yet passionate.
Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir gives one of the most outstanding child-actor performances you will ever see, as granddaughter Salka. Their on-screen chemistry is breathtaking. In fact Sigurdsson tells the story about when he first meet Hlynsdottir, two weeks before shooting began. When she found out he was playing her grandfather she ran up and gave him a big hug. That beautiful connection is at the heart of this work.
Palmason’s screenplay delivers grief, humour, warmth, anger and love in equal doses. It is perfectly under-written, trusting the actors to give depth to the words.
Rural Iceland is a gift to any cinematographer, and Maria Von Hausswolff makes the most of it. Each scene has a pitch-perfect sense of place, and of emotion. The interplay between the external and internal landscapes carries this film, right from the opening scene, when we follow Ingimundur’s wife on her fatal car journey. So many shots in this work cause a sharp intake of breathe.
A White, White Day is imbued with that particular Scandinavian sense of the slow-burn: gently but inexorably building up tension, through script, cinematography and an extraordinary score by Edmund Finnis.
This is nothing short of cinematic perfection.
A White, White Day currently has advanced screenings at PalaceNova Cinemas Eastend and opens officially on July 9th.
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