Named for an old saw that under certain weather conditions one can commune with the dead, Hlynur Palmason’s A White, White Day thrives in exactly this melancholic liminality.

Its two opening sequences make an assured statement of intent. First, a lone car sweeps along a winding road under the whitest of fog, the dangerous conditions visually becalmed before an inevitable, quiet calamity. Second, we sit in frame for several minutes as Palmason and editor Julius Krebs Damsbo simply cut, with hypnotic rhythm, through successive days and nights around a small valley-bound house. Both segments ease us into precisely the anxiously observational mindset that characterises our protagonist.

Ingvar Sigur∂sson plays Ingimundur, a taciturn rural police chief who deals with the sudden death of his wife by largely ignoring his feelings, then—after a seemingly minor observation that only metastasizes—stalking the local man who apparently made him a cuckold.

It’s worth using this somewhat archaic term with only limited irony, as it sits in the same well of ingrained masculinity from which Ingimundur, still tall and muscular in his sixties, draws his entire bearing. Part of the story draws on traditional stoicism meeting modern emotional expectations: Sigur∂sson and Palmason take great pains to show us wounded selfish pride as much as genuine love and betrayal, and the palpable absence of the deceased—and her side of the story—only helps entrap us in the claustrophobia of Ingimundur’s barely-repressed breakdown.

What distinguishes all this is Ingimundur’s relationship with his charmingly spiky granddaughter, Salka (Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir). The two bounce off one another remarkably, navigating the cutesier moments along with the more draining.

A lengthy climactic sequence following the two into the wild shows each element—these perfectly-pitched performances, the emotionally rich script, and some quite astounding expressive music courtesy of Edmund Finnis—working in searing harmony.


Available to watch on: VOD


CAST: Ingvar Sigur∂sson, Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir, Hilmir Snær Gu∂nason, Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir, Björn Ingi Hilmarsson

DIRECTOR: Hlynur Palmason

WRITER: Hlynur Palmason

SYNOPSIS: An off duty police begins to suspect a local man for having had an affair with his recently dead wife. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth accumulates and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones.