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Beautiful Beings, the second feature from Icelandic director Guomundur Arnar Guomundsson has won this year’s Europa Cinemas Label prize as best European film in the Panorama section of the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival.
A jury of four arthouse exhibitors, representing the Europa Cinemas network, announced the award Wednesday.
The coming-of-age drama was a critical hit in Berlin this year. The plot follows Balli (Askell Einar Palmason), a brutally bullied teen, who forms a tentative connection with a trio of tough outsiders, led by Addi (Birgir Dagur Bjarkason).
“Guomundsson’s second feature is certainly a harsh look at a bunch of teenage boys struggling to find a way forward despite estrangement from their dysfunctional families. But it is the warmth alongside the violence that makes this a film that demands to be seen,” the Europa Cinemas jury said in a statement. “The audience is right with the boys as they deal with their emotions and friendships, but out of this toxic masculinity, Guomundsson manages to find hope and lyricism, even using magical realism at times to create a very special atmosphere. It is set in Iceland, but this is atypical of films from there — no sweeping landscapes this time, but a series of industrial and urban locations captured with superb and inventive camerawork. Guomundsson skillfully manages to achieve powerful performances from his young and inexperienced cast. The themes explored are universal, and this film deserves to find its audience across Europe.”
As part of the award, Beautiful Beings will receive promotional support from Europa Cinemas to help its theatrical release across the group’s network of exhibitors.
Produced by Joint Motion Pictures in Reykjavik in co-production with Denmark’s Motor, Sweden’s Hobab and Film i Väst, Dutch group Bastide Films and Negativ in the Czech Republic, the film is being sold internationally by New Europe Film Sales.
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