Icelandic movie Woman At War (Kona fer í stríð), has been awarded the 2018 Nordic Council Film Prize.
The movie centers around Halla, a choir conductor, who wants to disrupt the operations of a Rio Tinto aluminium plant in the Icelandic highlands.
She repeatedly damages pylons and wires to cut their power supply. One day, a long-forgotten application to adopt an orphan child from Ukraine is approved. At the same time, the government ramps up police and propaganda efforts in order to catch and discredit her. The film revolves around her attempts to reconcile her dangerous and illegal activism with the upcoming adoption.
Woman at War was shown at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, in the International Critics’ Week section, where the screenwriters won the SACD award. The movie was also Iceland’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
The Nordic Council Film Prize aims to raise interest in the Nordic cultural community and recognize outstanding artistic initiatives. Its nominees must have deep roots in Nordic culture, be of high artistic quality, and distinguish themselves by their artistic originality.
A prize of DKK 350,000 is awarded to the winning film to be shared equally between the screenwriter, director and producer, underlining how film as an art form is a collaborative effort.
Woman At War is directed by Benedikt Erlingsson and Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, and Juan Camillo Roman Estrada play the leading roles.
Upon its release, the movie was widely praised by critics. Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian, praised Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir’s ‘attractive and sympathetic performance’ as Halla, and called the overall film a ‘well-turned, well-tuned oddity’ that was ‘confidently and rather stylishly made’.
Jay Weissberg, for Variety, called the film ‘a delightful follow-up to Of Horses and Men’, and praised the director for ‘arranging beautifully shot picaresque episodes around a central figure who lives the ideals of the heroes she has hanging on her wall, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela’