There are many stories of neighbour’s conflicts in Iceland. People start fighting about something and don't speak to each other for decades. Sometimes they even forget why they are enemies. In small and remote communities, where people need the companionship of each other, this can be very difficult. Especially if your neighbour is your own brother!
I found this an interesting set-up for a tragi-comic film and at the same time describe the essence of Icelandic mentality: A story of two brothers who live side by side in the middle of nowhere and don't speak. They come across each other every day, out on the ramp or on the headlands, but ignore each other. They cannot communicate except through a third party.
The opening scene of the film is a ram competition where the bothers are the main rivals. The rams are a metaphor for the brothers. The sheep stock, which is the main reason for their conflict, is what unites them at the end of the film. The film will be shot in a remote valley in North Iceland called Bárðardalur. The farms are at the end of the valley and surrounded by mountains, a place where you get a strong feeling of isolation. The cinematography will be naturalistic, the shots will be long, wide and rather static, emphasizing on the characters environment, their relationship with nature and to create certain loneliness.
There are three reference films we've been thinking about:
THE STRAIGHT STORY by David Lynch (1999), about brothers who haven’t spoken for a decade, ALVIN travels on a LAWN tractor for weeks to visit his sick brother LYLE.
KITCHEN STORIES by Bent Hamer (2003), where Folke Nilsson is assigned to study the kitchen habits of Isak Bjørvik, they don’t speak
at first but end up as good friends.
NÓI ALBINÓI by Dagur Kári (2003), where the main character NÓI is isolated in a fjord in Northern Iceland.
The Rams is a classic drama between brothers who haven’t spoken for 40 years, a global theme but also carrying strong local Icelandic ironic undertone; the sheep culture, the remote valley, the farmers, the isolation. The development, team-building, casting and financing is going well. I’m confident and I truly believe the film will have a broad appeal for film lovers all around the world.