Svanurinn (2017) - full transcript

A wayward nine-year-old girl is sent to the countryside to work and mature, but finds herself instead deeply entangled in a drama she can hardly grasp.

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Once upon a time
there was a girl

who lived in a house on the shore.

Every day she would swim in the sea.

But one day she swam so deep

all the way to the bottom
where all the seaweed was.

And the seaweed started to wrap
itself around her neck.

She couldn't breathe.
She was almost strangled to death.

Have you packed?

You can borrow it for the summer.

You can wear it if you go
someplace nice.

You were so good when
you were little.



I'm still good.

Sometimes.

Can you carry it by yourself?

Yes, but not very far.

There we go.

You don't have the eyes of a thief.

Anyone can see that.

Our daughter is upstairs.

Well, not at the moment.
She's at the university in Reykjavik.

There. That's your bed.

You look so serious.

Just like your mom.

You know your mother is my niece,
don't you? -Yes.

Not much use for these here.



Such bad reception.
Just use the landline.

...everything is so old and smells weird.

Can't you just tell dad to come get me?

Mom!

She wants to talk to you.

Hello?

Hi, sweetie.

No, no... Don't worry.
She'll adjust.

We'll talk more later.
Alright, sweetie.

Goodbye.

My mom needs me.

There's just us girls now.

What?

Dad left us.

He doesn't love mom anymore.
So he left.

I have to go home to help her.

Well, aren't you a piece of work.

Lying on top of everything else.

You know what?

Just take it easy today.

Tomorrow you'll start working
and then you'll feel much better.

Can I hold on to this?

When is he coming?

Today or tomorrow, he said.

With the bus then.
-I suppose so.

Unless he bought a car.

Buy a car.

He'll never own anything.

The poor sod.

A Norwegian worker left this behind.

Good with a paintbrush.

Completely useless as a farmhand.

Spread this by the rhubarb.
The hens will peck at it.

Hi, you're the new girl, aren't you?

I just came from the pool.

The pool here sucks and you always
have to come get the keys from her.

You're weird.

No, no, don't.

Come here. Yes.

Good.
Like that, yes.

Who are you?

I work here every summer.

But what are you doing in my room?

There is a leak in the basement room.

This was the only other bed.

Do you live abroad?

I try to spend as little time as
possible on this island.

What are you writing?

Just...

Words.

Do you like words better than people?

Quite the warm welcome I get.

Do you always wait for me before
you pull the calves out?

There there.

I'll make it up to you by
naming it after you.

Pull.

Harder!

Pull harder!

There's life in him.

Here we go, here we go.

That's it.

Rub some life into him.
Want to touch?

Look how cute he is.

The girl who lived in the shore house
had all kinds of dreams.

One night she dreamt that hair was growing
all over her body.

Not just on her head.

It was so thick she could hide behind it.
Like a curtain.

But when she woke up,
the hair wasn't gone.

She was still covered in it.

When she walked
around, people said:

"Look, there goes
the hairy girl."

"She is stuck in a dream."

Angel bird.

We miss you terribly.

When I was your age
I had a pen pal in Switzerland.

It was a lot of fun.

Should we be pen pals this summer?

Guess what, I've started to make jewelry.
Can you believe it?

I'll send you a bracelet
once I make one nice enough.

Enjoy the beautiful nature.

Hugs and kisses.

Your loving Mom.

It's alright to cry.

Now, it's good to hold it like this
on both sides.

It's not that difficult.
Just start out slow.

What?

What is it?

How long have you been standing there
with the binoculars?

Hi, dad.

Don't you have exams?
-All done. Thank God.

Hi, mom.

Why didn't you tell us
you were coming?

I wanted to surprise you.

Surprise us?
You're terrible.

Aren't you hungry?
-Starving.

And who is this?

Your cousin from the south.

We're going to get the ocean stink
off her this summer. Aren't we?

What's the deal
with this girl?

You're trying to save yet
another problem child?

Come on, routine is good for these kids.

Right. Real good to keep them in a room
with crazy farmhands.

Enough. How's school?

Fine.

Oh my god.
-What?

Well, there are these two
girls at school, right?

God, they're so weird...
like cartoon characters.

They always dress identically
in these white lace dresses...

Well, she started out taking Spanish.

But then switched over to Psychology.
-I see.

She also just came back from visiting
her boyfriend. -When is he coming?

Look who it is...

Well, hello!

It's always like the Queen has arrived
when she comes home.

Soon enough the farmer will come out
with the stallion

her predictable boyfriend gave her.

How did you know?

People are always in character.

Terrible!

It's not the first time he cheats on
his dear, sweet Lóa.

Lóa is so cute!
-Yeah, so cute!

Unbelievable.

If you're done eating, you say thank you
and excuse yourself from the table.

Are you done?
-No.

Thanks. I totally overdosed on
pineapples in Berlin.

Wasn't Berlin wonderful?

How's my son in law?

Is he alone there? Or with some
other Icelanders maybe? -No.

Why go abroad if he's just going
to hang out with other Icelanders?

I agree.

You agree?

What, is that such a bad thing?

If something happens
it's better not to be alone.

I wouldn't mind.
-He's not alone.

Or if he feels that way it's
not my problem.

Isn't empathy supposed to be one of the
cornerstones of every relationship?

Since when are you an expert
on relationships? -Whoa...

Do you have a girlfriend?

No, you're too focused on your writing, of
course.

How's that novel coming along,
by the way?

Will it be in stores this Christmas?

Or maybe just self-published?

I suppose not, no.

Bummer! I was so looking forward
to reading it. -Come on, now.

Who wants dessert?

No, I'm stuffed.

Do you want more light?

I don't like regular books.

Like the books in the library.

Or the ones they sell at Christmas.

Stories that people just write
in notebooks.

Or tell you.

Those are a lot more fun.

I also like making up stories.

What?

Yes.

I need some air.

You're not your usual self.

How is my usual self?

You're more distant now.

I'm more distant?

You're not feeling well.

So serious.

Good night.

It's good for you to take night walks.

It's important for people

who want to tell stories

to pay close attention to nature.

Also...

at night.

Because nature

never asks for permission.

This creature of liberty.

When you're a child like you are

you sometimes do things
without knowing why.

Like lying or pretending to have heard
or seen something.

Like earlier tonight.

Good night.

You know there's a dangerous creature
that lives here?

In the lake, up on the mountain.

A monster.

I've seen it.

It can change itself into a
beautiful white swan.

And when it looks you in the eye
it sees right through you.

It tells you who you really are
and what your life will be like.

You know why?

So it can lure you into the water.

Where you will drown.

What?

Are you scared?

No.

It's just a story.

What's wrong with you?

Another thing the strange dream girl did
was to lie down in the grass

and try to sink into the ground.

She let the grass hug her and
imagined it was the arms of someone she loved.

Is that you?

Welcome home.
-Thanks.

So you found this one.
-Yeah, sleeping up in the mountain.

How was your trip?
-Good.

But...I should say goodbye.
-Oh?

I can't stay.
-Alright, sweetie.

Hi.

Hi.

What was that?
-Isn't it obvious?

We broke up.

He has a new girlfriend.
Some German horse trainer.

And yes, I was supposed to be
taking exams when I arrived.

I didn't take any exams.

I wasn't really in the mood.
Since I'm pregnant.

What?
By him?

I don't know.

Why don't you boil the meat separately?

See the vegetables.
They're covered in fat.

It's disgusting.

You should have robotic milking.
-What?

Robotic milking.
In the cowshed.

Anyone with an ounce of
ambition has switched over.

I mean, the big farms will crush you
you if you don't do anything.

Are you listening to me?

I'm trying to eat.

Wow...

You guys are completely stuck in your
medieval ways.

I'm surprised that you're not handmilking into buckets
that you carry down to the road. -Hey!

Calm down.

Dear mom...

The dream girl had been lying
in the grass for so long

and her hair becoming
so long and heavy

that she was slowly sinking into the earth,
all the way down into the ditch.

She didn't care that she barely
came up to breathe anymore.

She just asked the little black water beetles to
get air for her.

Come sit with me.

Aren't you bored here?

Don't you miss your friends?

I don't really have that many friends.

Well, you are kind of weird.

Have you ever touched
a pregnant belly?

Isn't it strange?

Didn't you think pregnant bellies
were different? Not so soft.

Turns out they're no
different at all.

Do you know what I hate the most
about all this?

There's absolutely nothing
original about it.

The beetles swam
up and down.

All day long fetching air
bubbles for the girl.

Thinking all the time she was a sea
monster.

Come, sweetie.
Let's go.

Where is she going?
-I don't know.

What is she doing?
-Let's wait here.

Do you want me to read to you?
-I'm not a baby.

It might be a nice distraction.
-You can read from your journals.

Shush, everybody's asleep.
Come into the car.

Alright.

A dream.

I was swimming in the ocean.

I was far away from shore.

There were islands nearby.

I let the tide carry me.

I was cold.

And I noticed a fire burning on
one of the islands.

It looked warm.

And a little...

A little girl.

Watched me from the shore.

It was you.

She swam towards me.

And we let the current take us.

The ocean was...

Deep.

Cold.

And endless.

But it was ours.

Want to go for a boat ride?

If the boat capsizes you'll drown
whether you hold on to it or not.

Flower girl.

Have you eaten anything?

No.

You have to eat something.
-Yes.

When my mom was pregnant she liked
to drink chocolate milk.

I'm not pregnant.

I had an abortion this morning.

Abortion?

It's when you decide you don't
want the baby inside you.

That there is no love or room for it
in your life.

Then you can have it aborted.

I took a pill this morning.
At the hospital.

A pill that makes me bleed
and bleed.

Until the fetus just slips out.

Maybe it's coming out right now.

Why do you always look at me
with those calf's eyes?

Go away.

Where are you going?

...can we get the keys to the swimming
pool?

It's so cute.

Do they die right away?
-Yes.

What are
you doing?

It's going to
be slaughtered.

Ocean girl.
-Stop it!

No.

No!

Stop.

It's my calf!
My calf! Stop!

Go away.

No!

Stop.
Let me go.

Stop.

Remember what I told you
about nature?

How it takes what it wants?

You are the one who's killing it.
Not nature.

You're back already?

Did you drive the cattle over the river,
like I asked?

That's enough, you rascals.
Go away!

Sweetie, you'll get used to it.

Take one last look at the world.

Did you have a nice swim?
-Yes.

Aren't you kids hungry?
Do you want some veal?

Sure.
-Come inside.

So, kids. Isn't it tasty?
-Yes.

For god's sake, sit down.

Are you kids full?
-Yes.

Then go outside and play instead
of playing with your food.

Thank you for lunch.
-You're welcome.

Thank you.

Thank you.

What are you doing?

Me?

I'm on an exploration.

Did you find something?

A small ocean pearl.

And you?

Did you find anything?

Just you.

You're just a kid now.

But...

When you're grown up

and are suffocating in a
loveless marriage,

tired of trying to save it

by cheating or by having more children,

then the memory

of my tobacco kiss

will be the only thing keeping you warm.

What if it's you I'm in a love...
loveless marriage with?

Who are you always writing for?

My future wife.

For her to really know me before
she commits to anything.

Don't you think that's fair?

Why don't you just marry someone
that knows you already?

It would be too easy to lure her in now.
She's broken.

She'd say yes to anything.

But nothing would reach her.

Not really.

It's as if the pain has turned her
into an angel.

This one stayed here with us
one summer.

She liked it so much she
became a farmer herself.

By all means, take it out on all of us.

And the horse too..
Why is it so uneasy?

Potatoes, dear?

It's good that you are
eating again.

You'll be your old self soon.
-Yes.

I'll be my old self soon.

For the country fair,

how about we
drive into town?

Maybe pick out something nice.
See people.

A little change of scenery?

We don't need other worlds.
We just need mirrors.

It's just a line from a Tarkovsky film.

Mother.

There is no one here that could be cured with
a day of shop therapy.

Shopping therapy?

I'm just talking about
a trip into town.

Not a single soul out there.

Well, apart from those crazy tourists.

People want this on
their vacation?

Oh, but it's good for the grass.

Good horse.

Nice horse.

Come on now.

And so I've arrived.

My seventh year in this place.

Which reminds me.

Why do I always return?

As usual there is a
new kid on the farm.

Poor children.

They don't know why
they are here.

Buffers.

Buffers between...

Buffers between the farmer
and his wife

so they don't have to face their
own problems. Or their own daughter.

When I was talking to the little girl today

I saw the daughter out in the field.

She could live such a passionate life
if she wanted to.

But she won't.

She will kill her own potential.

Last night I dreamt I was
swimming in the ocean.

I was far away from shore but there were
some islands nearby.

I let the tide carry me.

I was cold and I noticed a fire
burning on one of the islands.

It looked warm.

And a little boy waved to me from shore.

And in the dream I somehow knew

that this was the child
she would have had

if she had kept it.

The boy was half-angel, like her

and half-monster, like me.

But I couldn't swim to the island.

The ocean was deep and cold
and endless.

But it was my home.

Because even on the bottom
of the sea

there is sand to build upon.

Then you cut them diagonally
like this

and you have to get the
hang of this quickly because

the county fair
is tomorrow!

We have to make so many.
Isn't that exciting?

Everyone will be there.
Each and everyone!

Let's see.

What?

Fucking madhouse.

What did you dream last night?

You have to remember your
dreams in the country

and tell
them to me.

Did you take them?

I don't know if you understand...

and why should you,

but my life

has just been a series of mistakes.

These journals

are the only thing that make
me worth anything.

You were so great as Hamlet.

Thank you. Thank you so much.
That was quite long ago.

With the all the water and the blood.
-Right, remember?

Was there blood?

Amazing.

I love this valley.

I'm going to build a
summer house up there.

Up there? Really?
-Yes, up on the mountain.

And now we have a young woman here.
All the way from Germany.

She's going to teach us everything
about European horsemanship.

Enjoy!

I know you've have them.

Because I know you.

You don't know me.

It's just so pretentious.

I mean, why do they think
we need riding lessons?

We're farmers!

All you think about is usefulness.

The usefulness of animals.

The usefulness of people.

Getting from one place
to another.

Surviving.

As soon as something larger or
more complex comes your way

something like this

you have no idea what to do with it.

God, you're drunk.

Yes.

What do you say about

one for the road?

You and me.

We're the same.

We just do what we want.

You've always taken
what you wanted.

I see.

Well, as the man said:

That which is hot

thrives best in the cold.

Fuck you.

Little lamb.

You smell disgusting.

Wait.

I want you to keep
my journals.

But be careful with words.

They can destroy you.

The girl wanted to sink into
the ground once more.

But she also wanted to know

how it would all turn out.

We're going home.

Take care!

Take care of what?
Take care of him?

What about me?

Huh?

Who's been taking
care of me?

She knew she was
witnessing a tragedy

that happens to people in this light

when it is neither
day nor night

neither light nor dark

neither good nor evil.

How are you feeling?

Where is he?

He never came home
from the fair.

I don't understand this.

Come on, now.
He'll turn up.

I'm ready.

Come here, sweetie.

Aren't you excited to ride up
to our swan lake?

You're such a good rider by now, too.

You'll be the best one
in the group.

Are you afraid of the monster?

There is no monster.

It's just an old story.

Tired?

Me? No.

Please eat.
-Thank you.

There you are.

Don't you want to have
a snack with the others?

No, thank you.

Nothing is as good as when
a hand touches your body.

Ideally the hand of a stranger

and you feel that this is where it has
always belonged. In that place where it touched you.

It's not the possessive hand.

And it's not the hand that takes either.

It is the familiar hand you remember
from your dreams.

The very first hand.

Sometimes I don't know if this is love for a
person, or for life.

Or the love for death.