Marteinn Thorsson’s ‘Backyard Village’ (2021): A Film About Pain, Loss, and Human Connection

After spending over a year in the isolated, lonely world in the grips of the coronavirus, human connection feels more precious than ever. Marteinn Thorsson’s (Permille) Backyard Village tells the story of two lonely people at a crossroads in their lives who find solace in one another.

Synopsis:

Unable to face the mother who left her at a young age, Brynja (40) takes shelter in a small guesthouse in a village outside Reykjavik. There, she befriends Mark (50), a British tourist, who’s dealing with his own personal tragedy.

When the film starts, Brynja (Laufey Eliasdottir: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead) is looking lost in the streets of Iceland until she stumbles on Backyard Village, a guesthouse. She impulsively decides to stay there for a few nights. She had, it seems, previously been spending time at a local spa, but is reluctant to go home. As she is settling in, she gets a knock at her door. Her neighbor, Mark (Tim Plester: Game of Thrones TV series), needs paprika and is soon inviting her over for dinner. This simple interaction will change both of their lives.

This is a deceptively simple movie, but it strikes so many cords: family strife, sisterly bonds, loneliness, and the aching need of humans for some kind of connection. Brynja is running from a family that has had struggles in the past and she isn’t sure she’s ready to face them again. Mark is struggling with problems of his own and longing for human connection. In the end, both stand at a crossroads and need each other in order to move on with their lives.

The acting is terrific by both leads. Eliasdottir conveys so much emotion with subtleties of her face. It’s brilliant work. Plester, (and his character), is more expressive, but no less skilled in the expression of his pain.

Backyard Village is set in Iceland, which, thanks to the cinematography by Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson (Edge of the World), has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The dance of the Northern Lights on a glacier absolutely made me gasp. Seeing Iceland in its green, lush, dreamy glory at the end was also an unexpected delight.

This was a great movie for those who appreciate well-acted dramas. It’s worth the watch alone for the incredible acting and the stunning cinematography.

About Christine Burnham

When not writing, Christine Burnham is watching TV, Horror films, reading, cooking, and spending time with her menagerie of animals.

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