Benedikt Erlingsson's film first Icelandic winner - Lars von Trier's Nymphmaniac among competitors
Wednesday night, director Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, received the Nordic Council Film Prize for the 2013 comedy Of Horses and Men (Hross í oss). This is the first time an Icelandic film wins the award, established in 2002.
The award committee said that the director “demonstrates a profound understanding of the primal side of both horses and humans” and that he “combines powerful visuals, editing and music in a way that makes the film itself stand out as a force of nature.”
They describe the film as “strikingly original” and find its “roots in the laconic humour of the Icelandic saga tradition”. At the heart of the film’s tales , according to the committee, lies “humankind’s eternal attempts to control nature and pathetic failure to do so, often with disastrous consequences”. Furthermore, “using the animal’s point of view to depict tragicomic human behaviour endows ‘Of Horses and Men’ with a distinctive lyricism as well as a darkly comic tone.”
Of Horses and Men has enjoyed an outstanding reception. Before last night, it had received over twenty awards at various festivals. Critical reception has been on a scale from welcoming to celebratory, as evident by the film’s 100% score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Earlier this fall, producer and esteemed veteran director Friðrik Þór, commented that “Benni” – short for the director’s name, born 1969, “is a teenager who just lost his diaper. His adventure is by far the biggest adventure of an Icelandic film director. No debut film has been such an enormous success.”
Earlier winners of the Nordic Council Film Prize include Aki Kaurismäki, Roy Andersson, Lars von Trier, Pernilla August, and Thomas Vinterberg. Among competing films, this year, was Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac.