Insert dung joke here
OF HORSES AND MEN ★★ Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. Starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Charlotte Bøving, Helgi Björnsson
Club, IFI, Dublin, 81 min
This unpleasant, uneven Icelandic drama concerns an isolated equestrian community hat, despite its apparent dependence on the pretty, wild horses of the area, seems to view manes and tails as characteristics that fall somewhere between the rat and faecal matter.
An opening sequence follows Kolbeinn, a stiff country gentleman, as he calls on eager local widow, Solveig. When the mare he is riding – his pride and joy – is interfered with by a local stallion, he promptly shoots the poor beast for giving it up too easily.
The incident sets the tone for a sequence of mishaps, funerals and horse butchery. In theory, these shaggy, grim overlapping vignettes ought to persuade us that we’re watching a black comedy. In practice, there’s little by way of levity, dark hued or otherwise.
No horses were killed during this production, promises an end title card. We’re also informed that the people onscreen are horse lovers. Sadly, this news does little to justify the random collection of equine abuses. One beast is castrated; another is disembowelled. The landscape, flanked by volcanoes and marvels of the glacial age, is beautifully shot. The horses are lovely to behold until they’re snipped at or bludgeoned. But the chorus of plotlines never does congeal into a satisfying narrative.
We wait for a Night of the Equusstyle revenge sequence that never comes.