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Country Wedding

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Original title
Sveitabrúðkaup (Country Wedding)
Running time
99 min.
Iceland Iceland
Valdís Óskarsdóttir
Anthony Dod Mantle
Mystery Island
Comedy | Weddings
A couple decide to get married in a church out in the country. It is 1 hour drive from Reykjavik but things do not go as planed...

Conventional wisdom claims that weddings are a cause for celebration; experience tells us this isn't exactly the case. More often than not, nuptials provide fertile ground for the airing of tired grievances and secrets better left hidden. Inevitably, the big day becomes about avoiding calamity, and in that sense Valdís Óskarsdóttir's Country Wedding is a realistic portrait of weddings: it's about catastrophe. And of course, it's a comedy.

The day begins inauspiciously. The bride, Ingibjorg, is being badgered by her mother for running late. Mom isn't exactly thrilled to see her ex-husband again, and her current, much younger beau is preoccupied by a business deal that is heading south. The groom, Bardi, is desperately trying to herd everyone on board the rented buses (the ceremony is to be held in a remote countryside chapel) and locate his strangely incommunicado best man. Then there are the unexpected guests. Ingibjorg's best friend Lara didn't bother to inform the bride that she was bringing both a date and her spacey grandmother. To be fair, Lara's mind may have been elsewhere, as she has a few big secrets of her own. The excessively gregarious long-lost cousin Brynhildur shows up with his male lover, and immediately begins spinning tall tales. The angry priest (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson from last year's Jar City) is more concerned with watching a football match and getting pissed than the impending ceremony. It's a volatile crew, and as the journey drags on (no one knows where they're heading but everyone is too proud to ask for directions), it becomes clear that there will be at least one major explosion.

A veteran editor who has worked with Michel Gondry and Lars von Trier, Óskarsdóttir has a supremely well-developed story sense. She not only coaxes stellar performances from her cast, but was wise enough to involve them in developing the script. Despite being fuelled by comic misbehaviour, Country Wedding is more than a string of funny incidents. It smartly lampoons our deranged belief that true love must necessarily run smoothly. It also explains, to some degree, why Icelandic and Canadian sensibilities often click. Both cultures hold the conviction that the countryside is somehow purer and calmer than the city – a faith that is inevitably called into question the minute human beings show up. (From
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