“The Swan” is a coming-of-age drama that is because beautiful and intense because the remote, outlying landscape of northern Iceland where it will require destination.
The debut function from writer/director Asa Helga Hjorleifsdottir offers a number of fascinating contradictions within its seemingly familiar framework. On the basis of the novel by Gudbergur Bergsson, “The Swan,” monitors the journey of a nine-year-old woman whose parents send the girl to live with family members when it comes to summer in someplace that’s the entire opposite of everything she’s understood. Theoretically, this is a nurturing experience, a time to mature, develop and find out life’s classes in a warm, protective environment.
That’s … not quite what the results are to Sol (Grima Valsdottir), whoever steely appearance and stoic demeanor make various other kids think she’s strange. We learn vaguely at the start that she has taken anything, which she’s becoming shipped off to her great-aunt and uncle’s farm to get results the land as penance.
“You were so excellent when you had been little,” her mama laments softly throughout the girl’s last moments yourself. “I’m nonetheless good,” Sol replies. “Sometimes.”
Working with cinematographer Martin Neumeyer, Hjorleifsdottir quickly and evocatively depicts the sounds and textures for this crazy, stunning country. Waves lb black colored stones near Sol’s coastal residence. Sand dots tangles of seaweed. Wind blows through the woman long, blond tresses. The topography changes considerably whenever she measures from the coach alone in the center of no place, with severe, jagged mountains extending towards the clouds and channels winding through expanses of tall lawn and scrub brush. It’s an unforgiving play ground that she’ll need navigate (mostly) on the very own.
Sol’s great-aunt (Katla Margret Porgeirsdottir) and uncle (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson) put her to your workplace first thing the second early morning, figuring that occupying the woman time using chickens, cows and ponies could keep the woman mind off the woman homesickness and usually do the girl good quality. But Hjorleifsdottir loves to linger within the peaceful areas between, as Sol peruses her brand-new, unknown environment: an old guide on a shelf, or a dead fly on a dusty windowsill. Whether she’s in the small house or call at the vast expanses, Sol’s loneliness is palpable.
But bursts of psychological strength punctuate the film’s wispy, impressionistic tone. Assisting utilizing the birth of a calf is scary but interesting for Sol as well as us, since we’re seeing the planet through her perspective. (Later, however, that animal’s fate functions as a clunkily literal exemplory instance of loss-of-innocence symbolism.) And soon, the farmers’ girl, Asta (Puridur Blaer Johannsdottir), returns residence unexpectedly from university in Reykjavik, radiating big-city bravado and shaking up the status quo. That includes the end result she’s got in the hunky but soulful farmhand Jon (Thorvaldur David Kristjansson), who’s worked this land when it comes to past seven summers and that has some kind of enchanting last with her.
The mere existence associated with the durable, twentysomething Jon has received a visible impact on innocent Sol. First of all, they’re forced to share a bedroom, an inappropriate arrangement that lends a steady way to obtain tension. But then, Sol becomes emotionally entangled in whatever is being conducted between these condemned fans. And in time, the tales Sol tells by herself to pass through the time—a mix of Icelandic folklore, recounted ambitions additionally the men and women and places surrounding her—begin to blend into one, causing a heightened sense of reality.
Hjorleifsdottir’s movie is evocative and personal, and it’s interesting to see her shirk the formula we’ve grown used to in most those summer-that-changed-everything films. But within its lyricism and daring, “The Swan” might-be a little too vague, too languid. The quietly confident Valsdottir reveals Sol’s maturation as a reliable blossom that gives no pat answers and isn’t obviously gratifying. But by the end, there’s a glimmer of hope for her out there coming in those nightless skies.