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Helsinki International Film Festival will screen all the nominees for the Nordic Council Film Prize. The nominees, which are announced today, are NYMPHOMANIAC (Denmark), CONCRETE NIGHT (Finland), OF HORSES AND MEN (Iceland), FORCE MAJEURE (Sweden) and BLIND (Norway).

The festival will screen the new Director’s Cut versions of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. The second part of the uncensored film premiered at the film festival in Venice a few days ago and neither of the Director’s Cut versions have been shown in Finnish theaters yet. The director of the Icelandic nominee, Benedikt Erlingsson, will be come to Helsinki as HIFF’s guest in September during the festival. Niels Pagh Andersen, who edited the Finnish nominee film Concrete Night, will host a masterclass at HIFF, speaking about his work as a film editor, speaking from over 30 years of professional experience.

Below are the nominees and the national jury statements about each film.

DENMARK: NYMPHOMANIAC  (director-scriptwriter Lars von Trier, producer Louise Vesth)
“Big. Mad. Wild. Scholarly. Rich. Challenging. With Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier underlines again that he is one of a kind – not only in Nordic cinema, but in the film medium as a whole. With his four-hour journey of discovery through a woman’s sex life, von Trier treats film as if he invented it. For those of an adventurous bent, Nymphomaniac offers a great sense of place, bold drama, wilful narrative structure and mischievous reflections on human nature. It borrows from porn and classic literature – but there’s nothing quite like it.”

FINLAND: CONCRETE NIGHT (director-scriptwriter Pirjo Honkasalo, scriptwriter a Pirkko Saisio, producers Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari)
Pirjo Honkasalo’s Concrete Night explores how relatively small private disturbances at an early age can lead to great tragedies. The black-and-white photography turns the urban landscape into a dreamlike, timeless no man’s land. As a filmmaker, Honkasalo is always meaningful, but never obvious.

ICELAND: OF HORSES AND MEN (director-scriptwriter Benedikt Erlingsson, producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson )
“Of Horses and Men is a strikingly original film characterised by powerful visual language and an interwoven use of soundscape that gives the viewer a sense of, to quote Zola, “the beast in man”. The film depicts man’s eternal attempts to control nature and his pathetic failure in this endeavour – often with disastrous consequences. In this quirky love story about the relationship between humans and horses, director Benedikt Erlingsson masterfully transmits meanings and ideas through an admirable use of both animal and human characters. The animal’s gaze is the central point of view through which we observe the tragicomic behaviour of man. This gives Of Horses and Men not only a peculiar lyricism, but also a darkly comic tone, which makes the film distinctively Icelandic.”

NORWAY: BLIND (director-scriptwriter Eskil Vogt, producers Sigve Endresen and Hans-Jørgen Osnes)
Eskil Vogt is known for his collaborations on manuscripts with Joachim Trier. His debut as director of a full-length feature film is a strikingly original, daring and funny film about a blind woman’s imagination. Ellen Dorrit Petersen gives a brilliant performance as a devil-may-care woman who isolates herself after losing her sight. Using her computer, she writes about two characters whose solitary existences mirror her own. Vogt’s remarkable script has been transformed into a playful, challenging and visually gorgeous film, which offers a uniquely sensitive reflection on humanity.”

SWEDEN: FORCE MAJEURE (director-scriptwriter Ruben Östlund, producers Erik Hemmendorff, Marie Kjellson and Philippe Bober)
Ruben Östlund’s dissection of human relationships is both coolly distant and heavily intrusive. His marital scenes visually expose dilemmas related to gender and morality, all framed wonderfully in a style that he has made his own.”

The winner is announced on October 29th
The winner of the prize will be announced on Wednesday 29 October, during the Session of the Nordic Council in the City Hall, Stockholm. The prize is awarded to an artistically valuable, Nordic-produced full-length feature film with cinema distribution. The film must have had its national cinema première between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014. The DKK 350,000 prize is shared equally by the scriptwriter, director and producer, underlining that film as an art form is the result of close collaboration between these three main contributors. The purpose of the Nordic Council Film Prize is to promote the range and diversity of films produced in all of the Nordic countries, enhance the Nordic sense of cultural affinity, develop the Nordic Region as a home market for culture and boost the international standing of Nordic film.

(Picutre from Turist)