Icelandic writer-director Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Fridrik Thor Fridriksson have won lucrative The Nordic Council Film Prize for Of Horses and Men.

The prize, worth about $59,000 (DKK350,000) was presented at Stockholm City Hall last night.

The committee said: “Of Horses and Men, a strikingly original film with its roots in the laconic humour of the Icelandic saga tradition, deals 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 demonstrates a profound understanding of the primal side of both horses and humans. 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.”

The other four films competiting for the prestigious and lucrative award 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 (aka Turist) from Sweden.

Of Horses and Men previously won 6 Icelandic Edda awards as well as prizes at festivals including Tokyo, Tallinn Black Nights, CPH PIX, San Sebastian and Goteborg. It was Iceland’s foreign langauage Oscar submission last year.