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Not so sheepish stars

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CASTING the right sheep for an Icelandic film charting the impact of a diagnosis of scrapie in a flock was ‘quite an adventure’, according to the film's director, Grímur Hákonarson. He eventually found a flock that, he says, ‘was great to work with, in fact even easier than working with the actors’. While the main actors needed some training in sheep handling, the sheep needed less rehearsal time.

The film, ‘Rams’ is set in a remote valley in Iceland, and tells the story of two brothers, who have not spoken directly to one another for 40 years, but who are forced to work together to save the breeding line that they have built up when scrapie is diagnosed in one brother's flock, resulting in the slaughter of all the sheep in the valley. The film, which has won a number of prizes, including the top prize in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at the Cannes Film Festival, is currently being shown in some UK cinemas. It is in Icelandic, with English subtitles.

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