THE COUNTY (12A)
THE COUNTY (12A)
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Cast: Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Hinrik Ólafsson, Hannes Óli Ágústsson, Ragnhildur Gisladottir, Jens Albinus
Runtime: 92 minutes
Synopsis: Inga is a careworn dairy farmer struggling to survive in a small Iceland community. Her husband’s death comes as a devastating blow, but subsequent revelations leave her determined to wage a crusade against the powerful local farming Co-operative that stifles competition and dissent. Inga’s plan to rock the boat transforms her from mild-mannered farmer to ‘enemy of the people’.
Directed and written by Grímur Hákonarson [Rams (2015), Wrestling (2007), A Pure Heart (2012)], this agrarian political thriller is loosely based on actual Icelandic events.
Set in a small Icelandic farming community, The County tells the story of Inga (an outstanding Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir), a middle-aged dairy farmer who rebels against the all- powerful local farming Co-operative. Inga tries to get other farmers to join her in rising up against the Co-op’s corruption, but she encounters great resistance, forcing her to confront the reasons for the community’s dependence and loyalty to this single, dominant enterprise. Inga has to use all her resourcefulness and cunning to break free of the Co-op’s grasp and finally live life on her own terms.
When we first see Inga, she is pulling a newborn calf from its mother’s womb in a viscerally realistic scene. She is a careworn dairy farmer struggling to survive in a small rural Iceland community.
Her taciturn husband’s sudden violent death comes as a devastating blow; but the subsequent revelation that he was being blackmailed by ‘the Co-op’, the supposedly community-minded local monopoly, sets her off on an Erin Brockovich-style crusade. She publishes a Facebook post comparing the Co-op to the mafia, drawing media coverage and dividing neighbours into friends and foes.
Sigurður Sigurjónsson is quietly threatening as Eyjólfur, the leader of the Co-op, under whose steely reign the organisation has lost sight of its original ideals.
The County screened earlier this year at the Glasgow Film Festival 2020.
The County is a hugely atmospheric crowd-pleaser that will have you cheering on the indomitable underdog.
Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema
Images courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye