Meaning of the movie “Lamb” and ending explained

Meaning of the movie “Lamb” and ending explained Films

Man has always faced, stands and will face the choice of how to live: right or the way you want? Restrain your desires, filtering them through morality or succumb to emotions and desires? Voldemar Johannsson tried to answer this and many other problematic questions in his film The Lamb.

What movie Lamb about?

Maria and Ingvar live on a farm in the very north of Iceland, far from civilization and people. They have a cat, a dog and a flock of sheep. The couple’s life is measured and harsh, they themselves are laconic and focused on everyday tasks: feed the cattle, plow the field, cook dinner. Around the house and the barn, mountains rise, often covered in thick fog, nearby in the lowland there is a stormy river and a clear lake. Seems like it always has been and always will be. Until one day one of the sheep gives birth to an unusual lamb. At this moment, the life of Ingvar and Maria will change forever. 

Sheep gave birth to an amazing mutant – half human child, half lamb. This creature has the body of a newborn girl and the head of a lamb, the left hand with fingers, the right hand with a hoof. Ingvar and Maria have no children – once there was a daughter, but she died. They will adopt a magical creature and name Ada. 

At first, even the experienced viewer will be surprised by the course of events in the film, but he will quickly orient himself. After all, the fairy tale has certain laws. In the first act of The Lamb, Ingvar and Maria begin to get used to an unusual child. In the second, the unlucky brother of Ingvar, the former rocker Petur, will come to visit them, and Ada learns about the existence of other people besides mom and dad. In the third, there will be a denouement, which is better not to write about, let the viewer experience all the most important things for himself. However, the main trump card of The Lamb is still not the plot, but how elegantly and clearly the director and his co-author of the script, the famous poet Sion (co-author of the lyrics to the songs from Dancer in the Dark), managed to say so much with the help of the most economical funds.

First of all, before us is a wonderful film about parenthood and especially about relationships with adopted children, as well as about children with special needs. About the fact that a child is always a different person than you, and about how to realize and accept him as anyone. From this point of view, The Lamb is a film about unconditional love, which also has its extreme forms: jealousy, parental rivalry with each other, increased anxiety. Today, when cinema is looking more and more closely at the phenomenon of a family not by blood, but by choice (this was also the case for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” winning at Cannes ), this is an extremely relevant topic. 

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Which in no way prevents The Lamb from being a picture filled with deep, but not instructive symbolism. For starters, the opening scene takes place in a barn on Christmas Eve, with hymns being played over the radio. Maybe Ada is not the baby Jesus, but in her birth, the not at all religious Ingvar and Maria (this name was not chosen by chance!) Recognize a genuine miracle. Hence the name. The biblical layer is not the only one: there are also allusions to the fairy tale of the artist and writer Muggur about the girl Dimmalimm and the enchanted swan, which everyone in Iceland knows, and Maria reads Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog at night. 

Remembering fairy tales and various variations of the story of Frankenstein, to which Bulgakov’s story also belongs, one cannot but see the fundamental departure of The Lamb from tradition. For centuries, it was believed that the bewitched, whether he is a child or an adult, must be disenchanted, to restore his human appearance. Even Shrek, which revolutionized the collision on its head (where a person had to be turned into a green monster, and not vice versa), insisted on the need for such a transformation. In Johannsson’s film, the girl Ada has the features of both a human and an animal, she is forever at the crossroads between the worlds. This borderliness, at the same time touching and slightly frightening, is an excellent metaphor for the Other, which you will never be able to finally accept, tame, remake to fit your ideas about the norm.  

But perhaps the most important dimension of “The Lamb” – it is also the most Icelandic – is a reflection on the eternal conflict and connection of man with nature. It is not for nothing that in this country the trajectories of freeways are changed so as not to disturb the elves in their natural habitat. In Johannsson’s film, the landscape at first acts as a picturesque scenery, but gradually becomes the central character, a source of anxiety and hope. He alone is able to satisfy the need for the miraculous, inherent in even the most inveterate skeptic.

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The meaning of the movie Lamb

As the story progresses, the meaning of the lives of the characters in The Lamb (2021) is revealed. Maria and Ingvar lead a leisurely life, endlessly working on the farm. In the communication of the spouses, constant unhappiness is felt, which is not openly discussed and outwardly covered with an idyll.

Changes in the family come with the birth of an unusual lamb. Maria and Ingvar take care of him as if they were their own child.

Petur, who has arrived at the farm, is trying to reveal to his relatives the truth about the surrealism of what is happening. Ada is an animal, and the behavior of Maria and Ingvar is perverted. Later, Petur still becomes attached to Ada.

The action of the film is divided into three parts of different styles:

  1. A leisurely acquaintance with a couple of farmers leading a boring, and often unhappy, life. There is tension, the causes of which are not directly revealed by the characters.
  2. Family drama. Represented by drunken parties and harassment by her brother’s wife. The arrival of Petur allows us to understand the emotions and feelings of Maria and Ingvar.
  3. Folk horror. The denouement comes sharply, supplemented by special effects. The finale demonstrates the tragedy of the main character.

On a note! The Lamb is a film whose meaning and originality brought its creators the prize of the Cannes Film Festival.

The film is recognized as a kind of parable, which absorbed biblical motifs. It touches on the themes of parenthood and humanism.

Humanity

The external idyll of a farming family is internally very fragile. Its strength is repeatedly tested:

  • mother-sheep, experiencing parting with a child;
  • brother of Ingvar;
  • mystical situations.

In reviews of the film “The Lamb”, the presented landscapes of untouched corners of Iceland are endowed with important meaning. Nature is a separate character here. She constantly attracts attention and reminds of her impeccability and omnipotence. This is the main idea of ​​the film.

Seeing Ada, Maria and Ingvar decided without hesitation to take possession of an unusual creature created by nature. People perceive themselves as masters of nature, forgetting about its incredible power. The spouses are not embarrassed by the plaintive bleating of the real mother Ada. After all, they pursue only selfish goals. Maria mercilessly kills a sheep. Later, a scene is presented where until recently Petur, cold-blooded towards animals, does not dare to shoot Ada. Because it has human features.

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Man dominates animals – those who are weaker than them. The Lamb is a film whose meaning lies in the hopelessness of retribution. The progenitors of Ada, half-humans-half-rams, turned out to be stronger and more resourceful than a person.

Lamb: ending explained

Throughout the film, there are many moments that make it clear that Maria is clearly aware that Ada is not their child, and they appropriated him illegally. That is why it is so annoying when the biological mother bleats under the window. The rural environment and gray weather create a surreal atmosphere, and it also emphasizes the reference to folklore and biblical motifs. All the scenes depict an idyll, but it is they that provoke the appearance of anxiety.

In the final scene, Maria returns to the farm to find her husband dying. Ingvar dies in the arms of his wife. During this time, Maria does not even try to call for help. The woman, who until recently felt power over Ada’s own mother, is now absolutely helpless. The hybrid of a ram and a man is vengeful and merciless. The meaning of the ending of the film “The Lamb” is explained by the uncertainty about the safety of Mary. The far-fetched domination of people over animals can instantly collapse under the influence of natural forces.

Nothing is known about the degree of vindictiveness of the creature that shot at Ingvar. A hybrid of sheep and man can appear at any moment. However, for sure, for Mary, the most terrible revenge will be the expectation of his appearance.

The plot of the film, ultimately, comes down to the revenge of a hybrid of a ram and a man for his murdered wife – Ada’s own mother. Adoptive parents who arbitrarily take away a half-lamb suffer cruel retribution. The power of nature, whose vivid landscapes are presented throughout the film, is incomparable with human capabilities.

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