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Under The Tree
Opening Night
2017 | 89 min | Comedy, Drama | Iceland, France
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Cast: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Selma Björnsdóttir, Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir, Þorsteinn Bachmann
Icelandic with English subtitles

Thirty-something Atli has been thrown out of his marital home, accused of cheating, and has temporarily moved back in with his parents: stern mother Inga and put-upon father Baldvin (Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Rams ScandiFF15). Next door, their old friend Konrad now lives with his new, much younger wife, the athletic Eybjorg – whose mere appearance incites torrents of expletives from Inga. 

Eybjorg is infuriated by the way the overhanging branches of Inga’s giant tree block the precious sunshine from their deck, but Inga is resolute in forbidding her husband from trimming it back. Whilst Atli’s desperate and socially questionable attempts to contact his wife and their daughter intensify, the across-the-fence dispute between the neighbouring couples escalates – property is damaged, pets go missing and security cameras are installed…

Universal yet singularly Nordic, Sigurðsson’s darkly funny, mordant and compulsively watchable story of bad behaviour in otherwise polite surroundings gradually takes the petty bourgeois tensions on display to rollicking, gasp-worthy extremes. You may find yourself nervously laughing the next time you want to talk to your neighbours about the noise.

Near-perfect calibration between family drama and black comedy.
The Hollywood Reporter
2018 Academy Awards
Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, Iceland Academy Awards (Edda Awards) 2018
Toronto International Film Festival 2017