Det nærmer seg jul på Island. Mens alle forbereder seg på høytiden, legger det seg en merkelig stemning over landet som avdekker både begeistring og bekymring. Ute på landet står en forlatt gård i flammer. På en skole synger et barnekor julesanger. På et slakteri passerer kyllinger på rekke og rad. På et museum krangler en mor med eksmannen sin på telefonen. I en stue lar ei jente bestemoren prøve de nye 3D-brillene sine … Gjennom 56 scener tegner Echo et bitende og ømt portrett av det moderne samfunnet.
Nordisk råd-juryens begrunnelse: Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Echo is a compilation of concurrent micro-stories, framed within the time around Christmas and New Year’s Eve – a time which is both sensitive and ceremonial. A time when we reconsider our lives and a time when, more than usual, we miss the loved ones who can’t be with us. The stories have an open beginning and an open end; each story is a slice of life.
Echo is about materialism and consumer society, togetherness and loneliness, love and violence, and life and death, which has its own timing. The religious and ceremonial is juxtaposed with the trivial and the mundane – as in life itself. Moreover, the film draws attention to more controversial matters such as the refugee crisis. Echo is a cutting, in-depth study of our society and its layers, and the storytelling can be described as poetic realism, an ode to our daily lives and its beauty and cruelty. Very Icelandic, yet universal.
The script is full of beauty and poetry; each scene is one static shot, one beautifully composed and well-thought-out angle with strong film grammar and excellent filmmaking. The score is modest, yet impressive and moving.