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The award-winning Icelandic film “Metalhead” (from director Ragnar Bragason)
depicts how a son’s death can destroy a family. “Metalhead” is set in the early 1980s in a rural farming community in Iceland. The film centers on a family’s youngest child, Hera, a happy 12-year old girl who adores her older brother but is forever changed when she sees him die in a farming accident.
She and her parents are left devastated and overwhelmed by the tragedy, and Hera blames God for her brother’s death — battling her grief by embracing her brother’s passion for heavy metal music. She begins to listen to her brother’s albums, wears his concert T-shirts and plays his guitar in an attempt to cling to her brother’s memory.
Ten years later, Hera (Thora Bjorg Helga) has grown into a lovely young woman and talented musician who dreams of becoming a singer. But fear takes over, and she clings to the past. She still wears her brother’s clothes and obsesses over playing guitar, singing and listening to heavy metal music. She also drinks too much and engages in petty theft. Wherever Hera goes, she makes a scene. Her out-in-the-open rage stands in contrast to her parents, who try to pretend like nothing happened and that their son didn’t die.
Ultimately, with the help of some others in the community, Hera attempts to definitively deal with her brother’s death and fulfill her dreams — all while the stark, stunning rural Icelandic landscapes illustrate her spiritual journey of rediscovery.
Although slow in parts and questionably plotted (after 10 years of self-destructive behavior, wouldn’t Hera’s parents have staged an intervention already?), “Metalhead” boasts impressive scenery and an intense performance from Helga that make it worthwhile. Plus, metal fans and headbangers will appreciate, and enjoy, listening to the music, which includes classic tunes from metal bands Riot, Teaze, Savatage, Lizzy Borden and Megadeth.
make the journey worthwhile. Heavy metal fans and head bangers will appreciate and enjoy listening to the music, which includes classic tunes from metal bands Riot, Teaze, Savatage, Lizzy Borden and Megadeth.
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