Tuesday, October 09, 2012

2012 Nordic Council Film Prize Award Winner

Today, October 9, the Nordic Council announced the winner of this prestigious award and is none other than Play by Ruben Östlund.

The Film Prize's Adjudication Committee, which is made up of film experts from the five Nordic countries, give this motivation for their choice of this year's winner:

"Director Ruben Östlund once again confirms his position as one of today’s most original filmmakers in the Nordic countries. Through his ongoing artistic project - dissecting and analyzing human behavior, Ruben Östlund presents thought-provoking insights into social roles and role play.

The stylistic imagery, the relentless pace of the story and the astounding performances from non-professional actors make PLAY a gut wrenching drama that prompts us to reflect on important issues in modern western society."

Written/directed by Ruben Östlund and produced by Erik Hemmendorff film is an astute observation based on real cases of bullying set in central Gothenburg, where a group of 12-14 year-old boys, bullied other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. They used an elaborate scheme called the ‘little brother trick’ or ‘brother trick’, involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence. On winning the award, filmmaker and producer said:

"At one and the same time it is both fantastic and incredibly flattering to win the Nordic Council's Film Prize. Even though we have toured with PLAY in four of the five Nordic countries in 2012, and have experienced fantastic reactions and receptions of the film, we never dared hope to win the prize this year when the competition has been so fierce.

As film producers we have to be able to constantly challenge, examine and maintain the special Nordic expression in our films, even though it can be difficult at times to pinpoint specific Nordic characteristics. In both PLAY and our earlier film INVOLUNTARY, we touch on our boundless fear of losing face and this is described as typically Nordic by many people outside the Region. Maybe they are right?

For us a good film is marked by constantly posing important questions to and about people, in relation to the society we live in. And precisely the society that Nordic films stem from helps to give the films a specific tone and character. Perhaps that is what is particularly characteristic of films which come from the Nordic film environments? It is certainly something we have to strive to achieve given the dominance and influence of Hollywood films on our area of expression."

In my opinion, is a very hard to watch film but believe highly deserves the honor. The prize will be awarded during the Nordic Council Session in Helsinki on October 31st.

Yesterday organizers announced the five nominated films for this award that was created to honor Nordic films embedded to a significant degree in Nordic culture.

Denmark: En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair), Nikolaj Arcel

Finland: Kovasikajuttu (The Punk Syndrome), Jukka Kärkkäinen and Jani-Petteri Passi

Iceland: Á annan veg (Either Way), Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson,

Norway: Kompani Orheim (The Orheim Company), Arild Andresen

*Sweden: Play, Ruben Östlund

The winner of the Nordic Council Film Prize 2012 will be announced in October and presented with the prize at the Nordic Council‘s Session in Helsinki on October 31st. Have seen only one movie that was too-hard-to-watch for me. Sigh. To read the announcement go here.

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