Country Wedding (Sveitabrúðkaup)

Country Wedding (Sveitabrúðkaup)

Country Wedding (Sveitabrúðkaup) (2008, Director: Valdís Óskarsdóttir): For a coun­try of just 300,000 souls, Iceland has a remark­ably cre­at­ive and pro­duct­ive pop­u­la­tion. It’s prac­tic­ally crawl­ing with artists, musi­cians and film­makers and nor­mally we get a good selec­tion of Icelandic films at TIFF each year. Strangely, this year there are only two, and they are both about wed­dings in the coun­tryside. I chose to see this one based on the trailer, which made it look more like a com­edy than Baltasar Kormákur’s White Night Wedding (Brúðguminn), which is in all like­li­hood an equally worthy film. Director Valdís Óskarsdóttir is a well-known editor who has worked on the films of Gus Van Sant, Michel Gondry, Lars von Trier and oth­ers; it makes sense that for her dir­ect­orial debut she would return home to work with a tal­en­ted group of act­ors who were com­fort­able work­ing in an unortho­dox way.

The bare­bones story con­cerns a couple trav­el­ing in two ren­ted buses with their fam­il­ies, friends and assor­ted hangers-on to their wed­ding cere­mony in a coun­try church. The film is more inter­est­ing for the meth­ods used in its mak­ing than the actual story itself. Óskarsdóttir gave each of her act­ors a sort of char­ac­ter out­line and asked them all to come up with their own back­stor­ies and at least one “secret” that they could choose to reveal or not reveal dur­ing film­ing. They rehearsed, but only events that would have happened before the actual events por­trayed onscreen. The actual shoot was just seven days long and was com­pletely unscrip­ted and largely impro­vised. The res­ults are genu­inely funny and uncom­fort­able in equal meas­ure, with the plans and rela­tion­ships going off the rails at every oppor­tun­ity. The best part of the cast Q&A after the screen­ing was learn­ing that sev­eral of the onscreen obstacles and rev­el­a­tions were actu­ally real.

Trailer (sub­titled)

Here is the Q&A with dir­ector Valdís Óskarsdóttir and the cast from after the screen­ing:

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Duration: 15:01


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