Of Horses And Men… Or Why Artsy Cinema Just Isn’t For Me

I have this vision of myself: creative, open-minded and cultured. Every once in a while I try and expose myself to the kind of things that I suppose would enhance this self-image, I see live music and visit a gallery and eat fancy food and all of that. Except, most of the time, I have to find that I am very much not cultured and hip. I prefer classic food (as in the kind of food that 6-year-olds enjoy) to innovative cuisine, art in museums is just a bit full-on for my taste and I get intimidated if I don’t know all the words to all the songs that a band plays like everyone around me seems to.

Today I have encountered another excellent example for this. Instead of sitting on my sofa watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory I went to the cinema. The cinema itself made me feel the way I wanted to feel: serious and thoughtful. Not only did it show funky off-mainstream films, but the whole make-up of it was unconventional. I mean, it didn’t even sell popcorn. And if you did decide to buy a soft drink, you were presented with an organic lemonade by a small local business. Also, no trailers! What a shame! I love the trailers and at that precise moment, organic lemonade in hand, I would have been eager to see what other artsy movies were coming to the cinema. But no.

Let’s cut to the chase. The film I went to see is called ‘Of Horses And Men’ (I know: “Of Mice And Men”, “Of Monsters And Men”, “Of Horses And Men”…? What next??). It is and Icelandic production and, according to the Guardian review “deserved its cult status”. Well, let’s see about that, shall we? Because she’s been riding Icelandic horses for years and because organic lemonade isn’t cheap (I’m just a poor student, ok), I brought my mum with me. When the film was over and the lights were turned on we both sat there, stunned.

You might want to see the film for yourself, but brace yourself. I’m fine with the dark, dry humour, but the film is just too graphic and grisly for me. They just never panned out, and lingered way too long. The disclaimer that followed the film “No horses or people were hurt during the making of this film” was truly needed, which is just really not a good sign. Here are my two top worst moments in this film (spoiler alert!):

  • A farmer cuts through a barbed wire fence that another farmer had built over a public road. The second farmer, enraged by the ruined fence, chases after farmer no. one with a small tractor. Riding away on his horses, this farmer, fleeing, encounters yet another fence, which he tries to cut through in a hurry. The barbed wire slings back and whips across his face. Blood everywhere, farmer blinded. Still, he manages to get up on this horse, instructing it to just bring him home. At this point, the other farmer catches up to him, is horrified by when he sees the bloody zombie-like face and drives off the cliff in his tractor.
  • Having met “la mujer de mi vida”, a South American tourist decides to learn how to ride a horse to impress the Swedish horse lady he met. To do so, he joins a horse travel trip, but not knowing how to spur on his horse, he soon get’s left behind. A struggle for survival ensues, in the midst of a snow storm. He kills his horse, cuts it open, removes its insides and crawls inside it. Days later, they find the horse and pull him out, alive. In the ending, he proceeds and encounters the Swedish girl.

Afterwards we found the film was open to anyone aged 12 or over. I mean, twelve!! If I’d seen this film at the tender age of twelve, I would have been scarred for life. Also, I would probably avoid Iceland and its inhabitants at any cost. Which brings me to my next point: What is wrong with those people?? I imagine that when you live on a quite isolated island near the arctic, things do get weird. It’s like a friendship group that develops its own ‘a little too dark’ and ‘a little too dirty’ private jokes when they spend a lot of time together, but this is just beyond normal (I do realise that this is some hard-core generalizing, soz).

So, no more artsy cinema for me in the near future. This morbidity is gonna last me for a while.

B x

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