The Nordic Lights Film Festival - Twin Cities awards both jury choice and audience choice awards. Here are the winners from the 2010 festival.
Jury Choice Awards:
Jury Choice Award for Sexy Short:
Burst (Iceland, Reynir Lyngdal)
Visually stunning film, Burst is an allegory on lovemaking. The film plays on a bed where two lightly dressed athletic bodies, one male and one female, throw themselves at one another in a powerful dance. The physical strenth of the bodies and the sensuality of the movements, played in slow-motion, capture an explosion of desire and sexual energy, of yin and yang, of aggression and submission. The film, which first has no other language than the two bodies communicating powerfully, culminates in the burst of a water pipe that quickly fills the room with water. Simultaneously a symbol of the high moment of ecstacy and an ironic twist to a game of lovemaking gone wrong, the water from the bursting pipe pulls the two lovers/fighters into its depth.
Jury Choice Award for Short Film:
The Knot (Norway, Kjersti Steinsbø)
This is a humorous film about the attachment between a man and his mother from young age to mature man. The humor and uniqueness of the film are created by the actual uncut umbilical cord that attaches Kåre permanently to his mother. In some hilarious scenes in the beginning of the film, doctors attempt to cut the cord with all means available, including a chainsaw. They eventually give up, giving in to the unbreakable bond between mother and son. The film follows the two as they spend their lives in each other's constant presence. While the young boy drinks beer with his first friend, the mother sits behind a curtain, while he makes love to his first girlfriend, the mother lies under the bed, while he takes a bath, she sits on the toilet seat reading. Likewise, the son accompanies the mother to her dancing lessons or to the choir, all the time attached with a cord that looks thicker as the years go by. A surprising end awaits as the mother eventually dies while the cord remains unbreakable.
Jury Choice Award for Feature Film:
Troubled Water (Norway, Erik Poppe)
This film tells the story of a supposedly murdered child from two perpectives, the perpetrator, who is dealing with his guilt, and the parents of the child, who mourn. The film thematizes the guilt, mourning and feelings of revenge that we carry within, also when we have not committed any major crime like in the film. The film is also filled with religious symbolism. The supposed killer takes the name Thomas and takes a job in a church as a way to heal and deal with his guilt. How can the organ music played by a killer be so beautiful? Can the murder of a child ever be forgiven?
The psychological complications of the drama is intensified in the relationship that grows between Thomas, who doubts God’s existence, and the pastor of the church, whose faith takes a toll when she realizes she may have fallen in love with a killer. The plot gets more and more complex as more truth about the death of the child are revealed, and it’s not until the very end that the truth of the murder is revealed. Poppe’s camerawork is interesting. When characters feel anxiety, they are unfocused while the background are in focus, capturing human psychological challenges. Otherwise, the film is photographed with the characteristic slowness of Nordic style, without ever getting boring. The actors also sensitively capture a spectrum of feelings, from wild rage to deep sadness, often in the language of understatement typical of Nordic film.
Jury Choice Award for Documentary:
Big Boy (Finland, Mia Halme)
Big Boy innocently portrays the story of a young Finnish boy growing up. The documentary, set in Finland, is a universal story of all the highs and lows of growing up. At the same time, the story is also very Finnish. The director was able to capture the life of this young Finn and provide a unique glimpse into his world.
Audience Choice Awards:
Audience Choice Award for Sexy Short: A Mate (Finland, Teemu Nikki)
Audience Choice Award for Short Film: Tile M for Murder (Sweden, Magnus Holmgren)
Audience Choice Award for Feature Film: Troubled Water (Norway, Erik Poppe)
Audience Choice Award for Documentary: Big Boy (Finland, Mia Halme)