Woman at War


Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) focuses on a fictional Halla (played by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), who is determined to stop global warming in her native Iceland in the role as a Luddite. She does so by felling power lines, at first near a Chinese-operated aluminum smelter plant and later by upsetting the country’s power grid albeit leaving forensic evidence—a drop of blood on the ground while sawing a utility pole. To ensure that filmviewers will embrace her deed kindly, which she justifies as based on a higher law than government law, they observe her life as church choir leader, a family-oriented single person with an identical twin sister, Àsa (also played by Geirharðsdóttir), and later as a prospective mother, agreeing to adopt an orphan from war-torn Donesk, Ukraine. Juan Camillo (Juan Camillo Román Estrada), a bicycling tourist, is arrested as the alleged culprit, but DNA evidence is definitive. While the surreal plot thickens, magnificent landscapes of Iceland fill the screen as well as music. But the music is not in the background, off stage. Instead, three Ukrainian females in traditional dress sing a cappella in various poignant scenes. So do four musicians—an accordionist, a drummer, a pianist, and an enormous sousaphonist. Leaving the cinema, Woman at War asks filmviewers to ponder whether governments will ever adopt a Green New Deal. MH