From Magnolia Pictures and Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, a new film “Woman at War” comes to the Lincoln Theater, opening Friday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. This visually stunning film, featuring Icelandic actress Halldora Geirharosdottir, takes us on a cinematic and philosophical journey with Halla – choir director, Green activist, and female superhero.
Halla is a 50-year-old independent woman. But behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist. Known to others only by her alias “The Woman of the Mountain,” Halla secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminum industry. As her actions grow bolder, from petty vandalism to outright industrial sabotage, she succeeds in pausing the negotiations between the Icelandic government and the corporation building a new aluminum smelter. But right as she begins planning her biggest and boldest operation yet, she receives an unexpected letter that changes everything. Her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. As Halla prepares to abandon her role as saboteur and savior of the Highlands to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother, she decides to plot one final attack to deal the aluminum industry a crippling blow.
The screenplay by Benedikt Erlingsson and Ólafur Egill Egilsson, calls into question issues of globalization, ecological degradation, and state-sanctioned media. According to Ann Hornaday, film critic for The Washington Post, “a film that could be a reflexive celebration of radical political action instead becomes a thoughtful meditation on the ethics of extremism, the limits of nonviolence and the proper response to global threats that aren’t just environmental or economic but existential.” Erlingsson describes “Woman at War” as a “mainstream blockbuster story for everyone kind of film… a heroic tale set in our world of imminent threat.” Yet, through its catastrophic subject matter, there is a warmth and wit about “Woman at War.” Erlingsson’s dry sense of humor and absurdist approach is present with the appearance of the trio of musicians – a Greek Chorus if you will – who follow Halla on her quest. Their drums, accordion and sousaphone, break the fourth wall as they draw the audience deeper into Halla’s psyche.
“Woman at War” is the story of an everyday woman, neighbor, mother-to-be, and citizen looking for a place in a deteriorating world. A world she is trying to make better. The story of a woman who some will see as brave and heroic, while others will see her as misguided. As Film Critic Roger Ebert says, ““Woman at War” strikes a near perfect balance between delivering a character study, an urgent environmental and societal message and some good old-fashioned entertainment through a genuine and warm tale of one woman’s stubborn efforts to be on the right side of history.”
Presented in partnership with Tenji, Inc., “Woman at War” opens at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater Friday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m., and continues Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m.; then at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, June 2. Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday June 6. Not rated. It is presented in Icelandic with English subtitles.