Screening with Finding Hillywood at 12:30pm Fri., Oct. 11 at The Oxford Hotel; 10:30am Sat, Oct 12 at Regal Cinemas Old Mill
Although Herd in Iceland creates little tension or drama, it’s a beautiful portrait of Iceland’s barren, windswept countryside and its storied horses, which have existed on the island without crossbreeding for more than 1,000 years. The 28-minute short focuses on the country’s fall roundup in which scores of hardy Icelandic farmers, all clad in thick wooly sweaters, venture up into the highlands to retrieve the horses from their summer grazing zones. The annual tradition is clearly an important piece of the frozen country’s rich history (it’s referred to as “one of the best weekends of the year”) and is filled with plenty of celebration. Drinking, dancing and even feasting on horse stew—there are no idealized notions about a horse’s role here. Regular slaughter is necessary, one farmer points out, otherwise there would not be enough grassland and horses would starve. Such simple, honest, traditional country values are refreshing and part of film’s overall appeal.