In a secluded valley in Iceland, Gummi and Kiddi live side by side, tending to their sheep. Their ancestral sheep-stock is considered one of the country’s best and the two brothers are repeatedly awarded for their prized rams who carry an ancient lineage. Although they share the land and a way of life, Gummi and Kiddi have not spoken to each other in four decades. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, the entire valley comes under threat. The authorities decide to cull all the animals in the area to contain the outbreak. But Gummi and Kiddi don’t give up so easily – and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits.
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After a rough divoce, Frances, a 35 year old book editor from San Francisco takes a tour of Tuscany at the urgings of her friends. On a whim she buys Bramasole, a run down villa in the Tuscan countryside and begins to piece her life together starting with the villa and finds that life sometimes has unexpected ways of giving her everything she wanted.
A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre (“Holy Blood”), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother.
Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Flight School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. Sgt. Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.
Following the Second World War, a northern cannery combine negotiates for the purchase of a large tract of uncultivated Georgia farmland. The major portion of the land is owned by Julie Ann Warren and has already been optioned by her unscrupulous, draft dodging husband, Henry. Now the combine must also obtain two smaller plots – one owned by Henry’s cousin Rad McDowell, a combat veteran with a wife and family; the other by Reeve Scott, a young black man whose mother had been Julie’s childhood Mammy. But neither Rad nor Reeve is interested in selling and they form an unprecedented black and white partnership to improve their land. Although infuriated by the turn of events, Henry remains determined to push through the big land deal. And when Reeve’s mother Rose dies, Henry tries to persuade his wife to charge Reeve with illegal ownership of his property, confident the the bigoted Judge Purcell will rule against a Negro.
A small time thief from Belfast, Gerry Conlon, is falsely implicated in the IRA bombing of a pub that kills several people while he is in London. He and his four friends are coerced by British police into confessing their guilt. Gerry’s father and other relatives in London are also implicated in the crime. He spends fifteen years in prison with his father trying to prove his innocence.
A story within a story within a story. In Australia’s Northern Territory, an Aboriginal narrator tells a story about his ancestors on a goose hunt. A youngster on the hunt is being tempted to adultery with his elder brother’s wife, so an elder tells him a story from the mythical past about how evil can slip in and cause havoc unless prevented by virtue according to customary tribal law.