Driving Mum

Driving Mum (Á Ferð með Mömmu) poster

Life does not offer much opportunity in the Westfjords in the north of Iceland, a grim stretch of land where the cold seas batter against the rock shore with a single lonely outpost of habitation between the towering rocks and the water, home to middle-aged Jón Jónsson and his elderly mother, knitting together as they listen to their taped radio shows and finding nothing to talk about as they go about their established routines.

Mamma lamenting that she always wanted to visit Gullfoss to have her photograph taken with the waterfalls and geysers and stating she does not wish to be cremated but buried in Eyrarbakki, it is almost as if she has anticipated her imminent death, sending Jón and his dog Bresnef across black volcanic beaches and single track roads to the distant southern coast with his late mother propped up in his old Ford Cortina, a white dot in the distant hills making slow progress.

Driving Mum (Á Ferð með Mömmu); Jón Jónsson (Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson) takes Mamma (Kristbjörg Kjeld) to see the waterfalls of Gullfoss.

A bleak monochrome road trip of overdue confessions and confrontations, Driving Mum (Á Ferð með Mömmu) is written and directed by Hilmar Oddsson, starring Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson as Jón and Kristbjörg Kjeld as Mamma, a presence in the back seat and the back of his mind who comments and criticises when he is alone but remains silent when there are others around such as Tómas Lemarquis’ recurring hitchhiker.

Jón an unsentimental man whose few ambitions were thwarted by circumstance, an exile in his homeland as much as his mother was, cut off by her family years before and both of them shaped by that harsh environment, he has grown accustomed to his own thoughts, awkward company when forced to interact with strangers such as a pair of drunk women unable to take a hint and hunting male company.

Driving Mum (Á Ferð með Mömmu); a moment of surreal beauty on the road from the Westfjords to Eyrarbakki.

Uncomfortable around other people while not actually rude, Driving Mom reminds of About Schmidt, a black comedy of having to tolerate people in awful circumstances when you would rather be alone, but like life it is a long road where the direction of travel is dictated rather than chosen, the random encounters along the way more frustrating than fulfilling although Jón begins to seize the small opportunities to practice his photography.

Moving from abstract forms and textures to landscapes and portraits and finding he has to burn the past to set himself free of the woman whose perpetual unhappiness shaped his life, as the policeman who cautions Jón on blocking the other vehicles following him comments Driving Mum undeniably takes the less frequented roads but could also pick up the pace more than a little while it drives through the fog of regrets.

Driving Mum is on limited release now

Driving Mum (Á Ferð með Mömmu); Jón Jónsson (Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson) enjoys a moment of solitude.



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons