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AWARDS Nordic countries

Woman at War wins the 2018 Nordic Council Film Prize

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- Iceland’s Benedikt Erlingsson has scored his second win at the grandest of the Nordic cinema awards

Woman at War wins the 2018 Nordic Council Film Prize
Director Benedikt Erlingsson with his Nordic Council Film Prize for Woman at War (© Johannes Jansson)

Praising its deft, unsentimental and confident mixture of action and intimacy as well as a magnificently unfussy lead performance, the Nordic Council Film Prize jury, consisting of 15 equally prominent and handpicked Nordic cinema experts, bestowed its 2018 award upon the Icelandic film Woman at War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
film profile
]
. Recipients Benedikt Erlingsson (direction, screenplay and production), Ólafur Egill Egilsson (screenplay), and Marianne Slot and Carine Leblanc (production) will share a prize of DKK 350,000 (almost €47,000) “in recognition of film as an art form, based on the collaboration between these main contributors”. 

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Woman at War stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as Halla, a music teacher in her seemingly tranquil middle age. As soon becomes apparent, Halla sometimes takes a break from her cheerful everyday routine in order to partake in some forceful eco-activism directed at the local aluminium industry. In the middle of planning her boldest and most outrageous sabotage operation yet, she receives a letter from the adoption agency that she contacted four years ago and had all but forgotten about. Which, to put it mildly, thickens the plot.

Since its hit premiere in this year’s Critics’ Week at Cannes, where it won the SACD Award for Best Screenplay, Erlingsson’s warmly eccentric take on environmental advocacy (he has described his heroine as part Gandhi, part Pippi Longstocking) has picked up a sizeable batch of festival awards from different corners of the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, Woman at War is also Iceland’s candidate for consideration in the Best Foreign-language Film category of the forthcoming Oscars (see the news), and it is one of the three finalists for the European Parliament's LUX Prize (see the news).

Woman at War is the 15th recipient of the Nordic Council Film Prize, generally regarded as the most prestigious film award in the Nordic region. The other nominees this year were Denmark’s Winter Brothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
 by Hlynur Pálmason, Finland’s Euthanizer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Teemu Nikki
film profile
]
by Teemu Nikki, Norway’s Thelma [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eili Harboe
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
by Joachim Trier and Sweden’s Ravens [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jens Assur
film profile
]
 by Jens Assur.

The first Nordic Council Film Prize was handed out in 2002 to celebrate the Nordic Council's 50th anniversary and has, since 2005, been annual. Previous winners include The Man Without a Past [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Aki KaurismäkiYou, the Living [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pernilla Sandström
interview: Roy Andersson
film profile
]
 by Roy AnderssonAntichrist [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Lars von Trier
film profile
]
 by Lars von TrierLouder Than Bombs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
 by Joachim Trier and Of Horses and Men [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
film profile
]
 by Benedikt Erlingsson, which makes Erlingsson the only doubly awarded director thus far.

The Nordic Council Film Prize was awarded together with the Nordic Council’s Music Prize, Literature Prize, Youth Literature Prize and Environment Prize. The grand ceremony was held in conjunction with the 70th session of the Nordic Council at the Oslo Opera House on 30 October.

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