The 9th Odesa International Film Festival took place recently. Benedikt Erlingsson’s film Woman at War, a co-production between Iceland, France, and Ukraine, had the honour of opening the festival. This film took the gong at the Cannes Film Festival for best soundtrack which consisted of Ukrainian folk songs. The music in the movie accompanies the reflections of the main character Halla. What is interesting about it is the musicians and singers appear in the movie at key moments to give their musical “commentary”. It’s like breaking through the so called ‘fourth wall’ between the actors and viewers.
The movie has nothing in common with the real war. This is a story about a 50-year-old woman, a choir director, and all the people in town know her. However, even her closest friends and family don’t have any idea that she is an ecology activist, who’s trying different methods, sometimes radical, to stop heavy industry in the town. Her life changes completely when she gets the nod to adopt a child – a little girl from Ukraine’s Donetsk region. It’s not the right moment for motherhood, as Halla is eager to preserve Iceland’s ecology. Nevertheless, she decides to take a final stand against an aluminium plant, then go to Ukraine, and pick up her adopted daughter.
Most of the shoot took place in Iceland, with the exception of the plant, which was shot in the Dnipro region. Woman at War will be screened in Kyiv on 16 August. So don’t miss it!