Under the Tree

Thursday, April 12, 7:15 PM
Sunday, April 15, 4:00 PM

Under the Tree
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Narrative
89 minutes
Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany

The shade from a front-yard tree brings the already simmering tensions between two families in an Icelandic suburb to boiling point, in this hilariously absurd and psychologically astute comedy.

Grieving Inga and put-upon husband Baldvin are the proud owners of the area’s only tree. Next door, amateur marksman Konrad lives with his new, much younger wife, the athletic Eybjorg — whose mere appearance incites torrents of expletives from Inga. Worse, it’s a pleasant summer, and the only thing more coveted than trees in Iceland is sunlight. Eybjorg is infuriated by the way the overhanging branches of Inga’s beloved tree block the sunshine. The sudden return of Inga’s son, Atli, tossed from his apartment after his wife found him enthusiastically interfacing with salacious material on his laptop, only complicates the situation.

Absurdly hilarious and psychologically astute, Under the Tree probes the way proximity heightens resentment and malice, suggesting a fusion between Norman McLaren’s Neighbours, the sociological observations of Life in a Fishbowl, and the deadpan humor and insight of Rams.

“Charting an initially familiar battle of across-the-fence attrition between bad neighbors in polite surroundings, Sigurdsson gradually takes petty bourgeois tensions to alien, gasp-worthy extremes; what the film occasionally lacks in human finesse, it makes up for in sheer anything-goes resolve”. -Guy Lodge, Variety

Posted in Contemporary Spotlight 2018, Out of Competition