Under the Tree (Undir trénu)
Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson
When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control. Family drama and black comedy mix in a distinctive and freewheeling picture of suburban warfare. Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, whose film Either Way was remade by David Gordon Green as Prince Avalanche, brings a wry sensibility to the lives of two families living in near identical cube houses.
Atli (Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson) is promptly turfed out of his family house, and finds himself away from his wife and daughter and in the arms of his parents. If he was hoping for calm there, he is sorely mistaken, as they are in a bitter dispute with their neighbours over a tree shared by both houses. One side sees it as a beautiful piece of nature; the other, an obstruction to sunbathing. What follows is an acute social drama, alive to the hilarious pettiness of any two sides unwilling to back down.
Bringing a human touch to often unlikeable characters, awkward observational humour is never far from hand in this film that debuted at Venice Film Festival.