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International Programme 2019
The Last Autumn Yrsa Roca Fannberg

From Úlfar’s farm on the edge of Iceland one will always see the ocean and many autumns to come, but never again a sheep drive. A “Heimatfilm” about the end of a world – wistful and visually defiant.

The Last Autumn

Documentary Film
78 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hanna Björk Valsdóttir, Yrsa Roca Fannberg
Yrsa Roca Fannberg
Gyða Valtýsdóttir
Carlos Vásquez Méndez
Federico Delpero Bejar
Yrsa Roca Fannberg, Elín Agla
Björn Viktorsson
Árneshreppur is the name of the rural Icelandic community to which the filmmaker Yrsa Roca Fannberg quite evidently lost her heart. Perhaps because here, on the northwestern edge of the island state, everything loses itself: the distinction between heaven, water and earth, the gaze, and humans anyway. At the beginning of 2019 Árneshreppur had forty inhabitants. When shooting started in 2016, there were a few more, for example the farmer Úlfar and his wife Oddný. But the couple had already decided to turn their backs on a beloved but brittle landscape, like all the others.

This film is notoriously late for any attempt to change their minds. But as a poetic survey of a disappearing reality of life in which every sequence shot, every black and white still is designed as a visual document of the last resort it is actually aimed at the later generations, who will know sheep only from the supermarket refrigerator. We follow Úlfar and Oddný through a busy autumn. He drives the tractor, recovers driftwood trunks and drives the sheep, together with the few remaining helpers. She prepares the meals. Every movement is practiced – and yet already a gesture of tidying up, almost as if they wanted to hand over this landscape which is increasingly empty of humans and sheep in an orderly manner. But to whom?

Sylvia Görke