The Icelandic film Woman at War has won the Nordic Council Film Prize, a yearly award given to films of artistic and cultural value.
Woman at War is about Halla, a woman who decides to save her country from the international aluminium industry by becoming an eco terrorist in the Icelandic highlands. However, when she hears that she can adopt a child from the Ukraine, she has to decide what’s more important.
Woman at War premiered at the Cannes Critics Week and is currently Iceland’s submission for the foreign-language Academy Award.
Director Benedikt Erlingsson has become the first director to win the prize for both his first and second feature films; he previously won the award for Of Horses and Men. The DKK 350,000 cash prize is split between Erlingsson and co-writer Olafur Egill Egilsson, as well as producers Marianne Slot and Carine Leblanc. Thomas Vinterberg has also won the award twice for The Hunt and Submarino.
The Nordic Council jury said: “In Woman at War, a big, pressing issue is channeled through a big, unrelenting personality. Halla, the vigilante working secretly to preserve the world’s eco-system, is played magnificently yet unfussily by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir.
”The jury appreciates how he [director Erlingsson] confidently mixes action scenes and intimate moments with atmospheric Verfremdung, placing live musicians in his frames and having them be the interpreters of the moods and feelings of the characters. The result is an exhilarating film.”