Dutch-born filmmaker Malou Reymann picked up the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg Film Festival Saturday evening with her second feature Unruly.
Co-written by Reymann and Sara Isabella Jønsson, the pic follows a teenager in 1930s Denmark who is forced into an institution to treat her rebellious behavior. The story is inspired by real-life events from a notorious women’s institution on the Danish Island of Sprogø.
The film debuted in Toronto last year and went on to play Zurich and the Lithuania Scanorama Film Forum before hitting Göteborg. The Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film comes with a SEK 400 000 ($38,000) cash prize.
The festival jury, headed by Holy Spider actor Zar Amir Ebrahimi, with members including Danish actress Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), Ukrainian filmmaker Antonio Lukich (Luxembourg, Luxembourg), and composer Matti Bye described the pic as a story told with “great sensitivity and power.”
“The jury is grateful to lighten a universal story about the human spirit against the oppressive system,” the Jury said. “Although it is rooted in the past, it transcends time and borders and speaks strongly to our time, our minds, and hearts. A solid and mature work, a powerful voice – a timely story of separation.”
Matilda Appelin produced Unruly for Nordisk Film Production A/S. The pic is co-produced by Nordisk Film Production Sverige AS with support from the Danish Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute, and DR. TrustNordisk is handling international sales.
The pic is set for a local release on March 9.
In other main competition awards, Göteborg’s gender-neutral acting gong went to Finnish actor Alma Pöysti for her part as Juulia in Selma Vilhunen’s Four Little Adults. The pic also played Rotterdam this month and follows a wife who attempts to embrace polyamory after she discovers her husband is cheating on her.
The festival jury described Vilhunen as an actor “without limitations” who gives an impressive performance featuring “a large range of emotion, empathy, braveness, and strength to portray a touching modern character with no borders.”
Elsewhere the Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award went to Danish DoP Jacob Møller for the Trustnordisk pic Copenhagen Does Not Exist. The award comes with a SEK 50 000 cash prize.
Norwegian filmmaker Ole Giæver took the FIPRESCI award and the Audience Dragon Award Best Nordic Film for Let the River Flow. Lea Glob’s Apolonia, Apolonia took the documentary gong, Marian Mathias won the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award for Runner, Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan nabbed the Dragon Award for Best International Film, and Hanna Högstedt picked up the festival’s short film Draken Award for After Mourners.
This year was Göteborg’s first full in-person edition since the pandemic. Across nine days, the festival screened a total of 250 films in cinemas around Gothenburg, with a selection of 50 titles available online in Sweden.
Other awards handed out during the festival included the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award for Jan Troell and Norwegian writer-director Kenneth Karlstad picked up the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for his coming-of-age series Kids in Crime.
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