TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘A White, White Day’

TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘A White, White Day’

Paul Cezanne painted the mountain in Saint Victoire, France, an obsessive act that drove him to insanity. I remember this when I see the mountains behind a house in A White White Day. These mountains show up and hide behind the white fog, a constant reminder of natural change. But this film is less about nature and more about the people living under its difficult whims. One of those people is Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson), who cares for his granddaughter, Salka (Ida Mekkin Hylnsdottir).

Ingimundur and Salka’s familial relationship enters a rough patch when he discovers something about his dead wife. Here, director and writer Hylnur Palmasson uses sparing language to show his leading character’s shocking discovery. It all starts with a book, and then three, all coming from a man he doesn’t know. Which leads him to a picture and a phone number and a decision to discover more. Palmasson also makes a decision to let Ingimundur, a cop, use non-social media methods for these discoveries.

Ok fine, let’s go back to nature, which, in Palmasson’s defense, is an element he uses well. Palmasson mostly uses these wide shots to depict Ingimundur either trying to fix his life or otherwise. He eventually allows us inside Ingimundur’s home or within the presence of the latter’s loved ones. He only lets us in after we feel what it is really like on the outside. This inclusion feels intimate, especially when Sigurdsson shows emotions as raw as roaring winds of coastal Iceland.

For more information on A White, White Day go to https://www.tiff.net/events/a-white-white-day.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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