Valdís Óskarsdóttir | 2008 | 99 mins | Iceland
A directorial debut from the accomplished editor behind a slew of Scandinavian films (most notably a bunch of Dogme stuff, including my personal favourite: Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration), Country Wedding is a light hearted comedy about a totally dysfunctional family en route to a rustic, intimate wedding in the beautiful countryside of Iceland. The small wedding party is traveling in enormous his & hers buses (a booking mistake made by the unreliable best man, who is MIA with the rings at the start of the film).
The bride's parents are divorced, mom's new boyfriend seems to be a shady businessman (at best), and the maid of honour has brought a weird date and a senile grandma without consulting the horrified bride. Throw in a long lost gay uncle who's lived abroad for 25 years, a disgruntled sister, some drinking and some fist fights, and you've got yourself a wedding: Iceland style.
To add to the miserable mix of incompatible personalities, no one in the motley crew of celebrants knows where the church is, and country churches with red roofs are apparently a dime a dozen on the icy island nation.
It's easy to see the Dogme influence on Valdís Óskarsdóttir's hand-held, intimate shooting style and fast cuts. The tenuous peace between the young lovers is barely maintained as the group gets more and more lost. Somewhere between a charming cautionary tale and a clever satire of family relations and the notion that love always has to be perfect, Country Wedding manages to skillfully walk that fine, Scandinavian line between being hilarious and totally depressing.