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BBFC RatingGodland

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Director(s)Hlynur Pálmason
Writer(s)Hlynur Pálmason
LanguageDanish, Icelandic
CountryDenmark, Iceland, France, Sweden
Running Time2HR 18MINS
SeasonMain Programme

With his third feature, Hlynur Pálmason (A White, White Day) delivers a breathtakingly inventive and ambitious historical epic, set in mid-19th-century Iceland.

A young Danish priest is sent to a remote Icelandic outpost to establish a church. Convinced of his moral purpose and fortitude, he travels via the most treacherous route to document the country’s stark beauty with his silver plate photography. It’s a dangerous crossing, guided by locals who disdain their Danish colonisers.

Godland is a film to be savoured on the big screen. Shot with a sumptuous square image and soft rounded corners, Pálmason detours to capture exploding volcanoes, a decaying horse carcass and landscapes that shift from fecund to frosty. The result is part-travelogue, part-western, part-austere Nordic drama in the tradition of Bergman and Dreyer. Craggy Elliot Crossett Hove (Winter Brothers) mesmerises as the priest; an awkward, soft-bellied fellow, transformed by hardship into a steelier version of himself, who might not necessarily be a force for good.

Text by Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival

"With Godland, Pálmason has enlisted us for a voyage of visual splendor, as terrifying as it is breathtaking, and divine contemplation." indieWire

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