Lamb is a 2021 Icelandic dark mystery film about a childless couple that discovers a bizarre newborn on their farm. The unexpected prospect of family life brings them much joy, before ultimately destroying them.
Directed by Valdimar Jóhannsson – making his feature directorial debut – from a screenplay co-written with Sjón. Produced by Piodor Gustafsson, Hrönn Kristinsdóttir, and Sara Nassim
Icelandic couple María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason), who live with their herd of sheep on a beautiful but remote farm. When they discover a mysterious newborn on their farmland, they decide to keep it and raise it as their own. This unexpected prospect of a new family brings them much joy, before ultimately destroying them…
“While Lamb may not fully satisfy on a narrative level, it does succeed as an experience. Rapace is the precise actor to lead an oddball movie like this, and the emotional beats resonate. Even if it can be challenging to grasp the peculiarities fully, Ada tugs at your heartstrings and Lamb sweeps you up in its melancholic mood.” Bloody Disgusting
” …doesn’t amount to much beyond a simple “what comes around, goes around” message cementing that these characters, in the pursuit of their own happiness, made the wrong decision. None of that takes away from the excellent practical effects on hand. Still, given how distant and cold the film primarily is, it’s hard to have an emotional response, especially considering the simplicity of the themes.” Flickering Myth
“The creature effects of the final scenes are quite striking, and the hybrid form that plays a central role is an inspired mix of puppetry, CG and physical performance, a presence both funny and poignant. Lamb is a disturbing experience but also a highly original take on the anxieties of being a parent, a tale in which nature plus nurture yields a nightmare.” The Hollywood Reporter
“Jóhannsson’s background in Special Effects for Hollywood blockbusters (including locally shot Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Prometheus and Transformers: Age of Extinction) turns what’s really an intimate family drama into something far more interesting to audiences attuned to its odd brand of tale.” RogerEbert.com
“Noomi Rapace, known for her absolute dedication to every role, carries the picture with her understated emotionality […] It should not go unmentioned that the supporting cast of sheep also add a striking emotive layer; the expressive eyes in the opening sequence set the tone for the events about to unfold. Lamb is a hidden gem…” The Upcoming
Lamb premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section and New Europe Film Sales will be presenting the film for international distribution.
The film was released in Iceland in August 2021 and has been picked up by A24 for a US theatrical release on October 8, 2021.
Cast and characters:
Noomi Rapace … Maria
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson … Pétur
Hilmir Snær Guðnason … Ingvar
Ester Bibi … Band member
Director Valdimar Jóhannsson has worked for years as a film industry electrician and special effects technician on films such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Prometheus which were partly shot on location in Iceland.
Noomi Rapace is Swedish but she moved to Iceland as a child where she spent some time growing up with her father and learnt how to speak Icelandic.