Prestigious award for Icelandic film, “Of Horses and Men”

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The Icelandic film, Of Horses and Men, has won the Nordic Council Film Prize for 2014.

The prestigious award has gone to the film’s director and screenwriter Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson.

In the swim in Hross Í Oss.
In the swim in Of Horses and Men.

Last year’s winner, Sisse Graum Jørgensen, presented the 350,000 Danish Krone ($US59,000) prize in Stockholm City Hall.

The committee that awarded the prize said in its decision that Of Horses and Men was a strikingly original film with its roots in the laconic humour of the Icelandic saga tradition.

The film, it said, dealt with the strong bonds connecting humankind and nature.

“At the heart of the film’s interconnected tales is humankind’s eternal attempts to control nature and pathetic failure to do so, often with disastrous consequences.”

The director was praised for demonstrating a profound understanding of the primal side of both horses and humans.

A scene from Hross Í Oss.
A scene from Of Horses and Men.
“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.

“Director Benedikt Erlingsson combines powerful visuals, editing and music in a way that makes the film itself stand out as a force of nature.”

Four other films were in the running for the award. They were Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac from Denmark; Pirjo Honkasalo’s Concrete Night from Finland, Eskil Vogt’s Blind from Norway, and Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure (Turist) from Sweden.

Of Horses and Men has already won six Icelandic Edda awards. It has also picked up prizes at festivals including Tokyo, Tallinn Black Nights, CPH PIX, San Sebastian and Goteborg.

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