As a big fan of Scandinavian cinema, I was really looking forward to the premiere of this film. Godland is definitely worth a watch, and not only for lovers of cinema of this origin. This film was slow, extremely beautiful and made me want to buy a ticket to Iceland as soon as I left the cinema.
Godland is loosely based on true events and tells the interesting story of a Danish Lutheran pastor Lukas who goes to Iceland to build a church and photograph the island. It is set in the 19th century and seems to be staged as if seen through the eyes of the pastor, with a film format like Lukas’s camera.
Pastor Lukas carries a heavy camera everywhere on his journey through Iceland, which adds a lot of difficulty to his journey, but he is a stubborn man, very determined to achieve his goal. During the journey, the travellers encounter many setbacks and obstacles, and at times Lukas seems to be unable to ride his horse anymore and turns to God in desperate breakdowns. The viewers could wonder how they would cope with being there themselves given the severe conditions in Iceland, and Lukas makes unanticipated decisions that then cause him to doubt his vocation.
It is worth mentioning that the pastor does not speak Icelandic, but in Iceland many people speak Danish, a phenomenon of a small country that has a big impact on the plot of the film. This may have to do with the fact that the director of the film, Hlynur Palmason, was born in Iceland but raised in Denmark. When Lukas arrives in Iceland, he meets Ragnar, a local guide who accompanies him to the place where the church is to be built. A nervous and tense relationship begins between them. It is as if opposites are being juxtaposed. Like Iceland and Denmark. One character in the film is Danish, the other is Icelandic.
Godland is a drama that clearly shows how vulnerability exposes the deepest human desires, vices and the various things we try to hide. It is worth watching both for the extraordinary beauty and for the story. There is much to learn from both the priest and Ragnar. Love is part of this film as well, as there are also lines of a very strong friendship, a secret love, and a beautiful love between animal and human.
Written by Salomėja Siparytė