Of Horses and Men is what’s known as “a hoot.” Set in a remote corner of Iceland, which is pretty remote to begin with, it strings together six episodes in the life of a community centered on horses. Setting the tone for the film, we begin with Kolbeinn (played by Ingvar Sigurðsson, the star of Jar City), the local dignified middle-aged heartthrob, as he takes his mare through its high-stepping Icelandic paces while everyone watches with binoculars. But then the stallion of his neighbor, Solveig (Charlotte Boving), who lusts after Kolbeinn, breaks loose and humps Kolbeinn’s mare. Kolbeinn has no choice but to stay on board during the entire act. Kolbeinn and Solveig respond to this indignity by killing their respective horses.
Next up is Vernhardur (Steinn Armann Magnusson), who sees a Russian trawler offshore. All he can think of is “vodka.” Mounting his horse, he rides into the ocean until he reaches the ship, calling out for alcohol. The alarmed Russians lower him a case of alcohol, but warn him that it is pure alcohol, not for drinking. Vernhardur ignores their warning and suffers the consequences…but at least he has a nice funeral.
Icelandic humor is dry and unusual, but in this case, it worked for me.