For the second year, the Nordic Council’s Film Prize - the largest in Scandinavia, which comes with a $61,000 (DKK 350,000) cheque for the writer, director and producer – goes to Sweden: the winner announced in Oslo today (October 9) is Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Play.
Writer-director Östlund and producer Erik Hemmendorff, of Plattform Produktion, will receive the award at the Nordic Council’s session in Helsinki on October. Last year Swedish actress-director Pernilla August was honoured for her directorial feature debut, Beyond (Svinalängorna).
“The film confirms Östlund as one of today’s most original Nordic filmmakers. The stylistic imagery, the relentless pace of the story, the astounding performances from non-professionals make Play a gut wrenching drama that prompts us to reflect on important issues in modern society,” said the Nordic jury.
A study of human behaviour inspired by newspaper articles of 40 cases in Göteborg between 2006-2008, the film follows 12-14-year-old boys robbing other children in an elaborate role-play which tricked the victims without resort to violence or threats.
Co-produced with Sonet Film, Play was launched in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2010, where it won the Coup de Coeur award; it went on to collect top prizes in Moscow, Tokyo, Dublin, Gijon, adding two Guldbagger – Sweden’s national film prize – for Best Director and the Swedish critics’ Greta award.
The other Nordic prize nominees included Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære/Denmark), Jukka Kärkkäinen-J-P Passi’s The Punk Syndrome (Kovasikajuttu/Finland), Icelandic director Hafsteinn Sigurdsson’s Either Way (Á annan veg/Iceland), and Arild Andresen’s The Orheim Company (Kompani Orheim/Norway).