“A WHITE, WHITE DAY”
Iceland is a place made for fog, it can come sweeping in even in high places, turning everything white. On a day like this, they say that the dead will return to visit the living. Ingimundur’s wife accidentally drives off the side of the road on a day like this and she smashes through a barrier and disappears into nothingness.
Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson) never imagined being without his wife. He continues on, trying to do what’s expected of him, but he can’t quite deal with the situation. He has been seeing a therapist who asks him to define himself and Ingimundur answers that he’s a father, a grandfather, a policeman. It’s his policeman’s habits that get him in trouble.
After someone dies, we are left with the memories and we see those as we want. To discover that the person we tryto keep alive might never have been real. Ingimundur might seem to be coping with his wife’s death, what he can’t cope with is the growing suspicion that she was having an affair and as he compulsively investigates, he wonders how well he really knew her. Did she belong to somebody else? Was the man she was seeing involved in her death? These questions threaten to overtake him and he has violent outbursts or temper.
“A White, White Day” is both a deeply dramatic story and a comedy of the absurd. There is something absurd about death and it’s something that a men like Ingimundur are unable to be told how to adjust to. Doing it by himself, he leaves unexpected casualties wherever he goes. The only person who gets close to him and help him through this is his young granddaughter Salka (Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir). The child’s unwillingness to tolerate foolishness seems more helpful to him than sympathy.
Sigurdsson gives us a man who represses his emotions yet giving us just enough of himself to understand what’s going on. WE look beyond the bursts of rage and see somebody who is filled with love and warmth. The way he is treated by his relatives and colleagues help us to cheer him on even when we are afraid of what he might do.
Director Hlynur Palmason’s film is full of mid-shots in small rooms and characters crowded together. Ingimundur needs to find a way through and a space of his own in which he can see clearly. The film is seriously strange with Ingimundur struggling to cope with loss and the impact his actions have on the various folks around him. The opening effectively establishes the remote environs in which the characters live and it is Sigurðsson’s performance and cinematographer Maria von Hausswolff’s compelling visuals that carry the film. Although director Pálmason gives us elements that periodically hold our interest, it is the atmosphere that tries our patience and it does become more and more difficult not to wish that there was more action and less scenery. The climax brings us to a positive end that confirms that the film is a gripping look at extreme grief.
About Film Movement
Founded in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide. Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com. Visit www.filmmovementplus.com for more information about Film Movement Plus, the new subscription streaming service from Film Movement.