Á Annan Veg (Either Way) is an Icelandic film I saw at a Warehouse Cinema evening at Brewery Arts Centre a couple of weeks ago. The very first thing that I noticed about this film was an unbelievable moment right at the start! The two main characters were sat in the middle of nowhere, outside a tent, brewing up on a camp stove. Their kettle was of a whistling kind. When it began whistling (an obvious sound effect!) one of them lifted it off the stove, popped off the whistle with his bare fingers and proceeded to pour. No steam! No hot whistle what with all that boiling water… Tsk!
The film is about two men who have the task of spending the summer painting lines in the middle of the road in a remote region of Iceland. During the week they camp out in the very volcanic, very barren landscape. At the weekend, one of the men remains to spend time on his own whilst the other heads back to civilisation to hopefully get ‘his little man squeezed’… Two very different characters who, over the course of the summer, come to know each other better, and to value one another’s opinions and experiences.
This is a slow-paced film where nothing particularly startling happens, just the gentle appreciation of the good in people and how, sometimes, people can surprise us. The two men were realistically drawn, and their experiences and problems easy to relate to. One of the secondary characters was larger than life and another I felt may have been related somehow to an Icelandic myth or legend, but not knowing very much about the culture, I can only guess. Although I enjoyed the film very much, I was glad to leave the desolate setting behind.