A WHITE, WHITE DAY (HVÍTUR, HVÍTUR DAGUR)

A WHITE, WHITE DAY (HVÍTUR, HVÍTUR DAGUR)

Director: Hylnur Palmason

Cast: Ingvar Sigurðsson, Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir, Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Björn Ingi Hilmarsson, Elma Stefanía Ágústsdóttir, Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir

Runtime:1hr 49min

Synopsis: In a remote Icelandic town, an off-duty police chief begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife, who died in a tragic accident two years earlier. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth accumulates and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. A story of grief, revenge and unconditional love.

URL:https://youtu.be/USkFnSbQVh0

Writer-director Hylnur Palmason follows up his 2017 debut Winter Brothers with this compelling film which was winner of Cannes Critics’ Week Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award.

Setting is a remote Icelandic town, with focus on an off-duty police chief, Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson), who won European Actor of the Year at the European Film Awards for his mesmerising performance). Despite being a robust, physical man, he is wracked with guilt, entering late middle age with a deeply troubled soul.

A White, White Day opens with a mysterious and ambiguous quote: “When everything is white, and you can no longer see the difference between the earth and the sky, the dead can talk to us who are still living”.

There follows a long scene in which a car travels a remote, curvy road on an extremely foggy day with limited visibility. It ends in tragedy.

Ingimundur, who is on bereavement leave from his job as police chief in a small rural community, puts his energy into building a house in this mountainous region, which he hopes his granddaughter and daughter will live in some day. To tackle his emotional repression he is seeing a therapist – but giving him short shrift.

“What do you want?” the psychiatrist asks. Ingimundur replies, “To build a house.” “What don’t you want?” “To stop building it.”

His 8 year old granddaughter Salka (played by the director’s daughter Ída Mekkin Hlynsdóttir) is the apple of his eye and occasionally stays with him in this house.

Everything begins to unravel when a discovery among his late wife’s effects lead him to suspect that she had an affair. Ingmundir becomes obsessed with finding out the truth, and starts to stalk his neighbour Olgeir (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), the suspected lover.

This tale of revenge, grief and guilt builds up the tension to an almost unbearable level with Ingimundur’s all-consuming quest for the truth and to penetrate the fog of sorrow that threatens his bond with his beloved Salka.

A White, White Day plunges viewers into the darkness of grief and jealousy, led by Ingvar  Sigurðsson’s brilliantly layered performance.

The stylised cinematography and montages by Maria von Hausswolff, and the skillfull rhythm of the editing by Julius Krebs Damsbo are enhanced by a beautiful Edmund Finnis score which echoes the shifting mood and temperament of the film.

The reference to Schumann’s wife and use of Brahms and Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Memories’ are appropriate and interesting.

Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Images courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures