Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
An eccentric, dissonant film navigating the forlorn nature of an outsider, Winter Brothers is punctuated with bursts of surrealism and bouts of dark humour. Shot in a cool 16mm that blends into its snowy environment, Hlynur Pálmason’s debut feature is an impressive, immersive look into the cold world of a remote limestone mine through the eyes of Emil, an awkward, fragile man who can’t quite fit in.
Played with a soft-faced naiveté by Elliott Crosset Hove, Emil struggles to find a place with his fellow miners—including his brother Johan (Simon Sears)—steals chemicals for his dubious moonshine, pines for his neighbour Anna (Victoria Carmen Sonne) and obsesses over his M1 rifle (which includes rigorously watching several Monty Python-esque training videos). As Emil continues to alienate those around him, he retreats further into his own dark side… This is a strange, compelling film—beautiful to watch but full of troubling ruminations on the nature of man.
"An impressively original, auspiciously idiosyncratic debut, one that scratches away at truths about masculinity, lovelessness and isolation that are no less true for being all but inexpressible."—Jessica Kiang, Variety