Rams is an Icelandic film about sheep farming. From that very short synopsis, you may not expect much from this indie film that won Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2015, but you’d be wrong. Rams is a beautiful, quiet and at times highly tense drama.
The film focuses on estranged brothers, Gummi and Kiddi (played by Sigurdur Sigurjonsson and Theodor Julisson) who, despite being neighbours, have not spoken in forty years. Rams tells a bleak tale of the devastating affect of scrapie (a disease that affects sheep) on the livelihoods of these people.
The most captivating thing about this film for me was the relationship between the brothers; the quiet disregard, but deep connection and common goal, that unites them.
Following the outbreak of scrapie the farmers across the valley are faced with the difficult decision to kill off their herd.
Despite the somewhat downbeat tone of the storyline, the film is not without humour; a lot of it coming from the way in which the brothers relate to one another. They communicate largely through notes sent via Kiddi’s dog, and Gummi – on more than one occasion – must save his brother from freezing to death after passing out in the snow following heavy drinking sessions.
I think the success of this film is all in its understatement; the performances are well drawn but not over dramatic, and the storyline is low key. But it also successfully builds tension throughout. Rams is thoroughly enjoyable and well worth seeking out.
Rams is out now in cinemas and VOD.