Estonian Drama 'Scandinavian Silence' Wins European Cinemas Prize at Karlovy Vary

Scandinavian Silence
Courtesy of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

In Martti Helde's black-and-white drama, a recently released inmate reunites with his sister after several years apart.

Scandinavian Silence, a minimalist black-and-white drama from Estonian director Martti Helde, has won the Europa Cinemas Label prize for best European film at the 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. 

In Helde's second feature, a newly released inmate reunites with his sister after many years apart. They set out on a journey together across a bleak winter landscape, struggling to communicate and reconnect by overcoming their past traumas. The director presents three versions of the same story from different perspectives.

Estonian shingle Three Brothers produced the film together with ARP Sélection in France and Belgium's Media International.

"Scandinavian Silence engages its audience through an exceptional cinematic journey," the jury said in a statement. "The story of a troubled sibling relationship unfolds via different variations of silence. The viewer is not only engaged throughout the story by the impressive camera work and outstanding music, but also by the pure cinematic approach, powerful script and original narrative."

The award means Scandinavian Silence will get promotional support from the Europa Cinemas Network, to encourage exhibitors to extend the film’s theatrical run. The Europa Cinemas Network consists of independent art house cinemas representing nearly 3,000 screens across 724 cities and 43 countries in Europe.