Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson
From 3rd May 2019
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
In the opening scene of the film you see Halla (Halldora Geirharosdottir), amid the beautiful sprawling Icelandic landscape, firing an arrow tied to a cable over power lines, resulting in a smeltering factory grinding to an immediate halt.
You could describe her as an eco-saboteur, determined to bring an end to the increasing spread of mining conglomerates and other companies which are having a detrimental impact on the country’s natural terrain.
In effect she is attempting to destroy the electrical grid to return Iceland to sustainable energy that will no more have a fatal effect on the environment.
Woman At War is highly unusual in its presentation, which adds to the eye-catching appeal of the film.
I detest drones so it was uplifting to see Halla bring one down to the ground with an arrow as it tried to pursue and spy on her, as she continued to wreak havoc on the capitalist state.
Intermixed with the strong political statements made by director Benedikt Erlingsson there are also humorous and quirky aspects to the story, notably the regular appearance of a three piece band (comprising tuba, piano and drums), sometimes at highly unlikely locations, for example, in the middle of barren countryside while Halla pursues her quest.
She avoids arrest on several occasions by the security services, helped in part by veteran farmer (Johann Sigurdarson), accompanied by his oddly named dog called Woman!
Such is the incompetence of those trying to track down Halla that they, on at least three occasions, wrongly arrest a hapless Latin American backpacker (Juan Camillo Ronan Estruda) thinking that he had committed the acts of sabotage that Halla had carried out.
There are no bounds to the ways Halla avoids arrest. In one scene she escapes being identified by police cameras by wearing a face mask made from a photograph of Nelson Mandela.
Perhaps the most touching moments was when Halla presses her face against the Earth. Her love of Mother Nature is self evident.
The problem though is that Mother Nature, throughout the planet, has been continually raped by the human race.