Four Nordic Hugos in Chicago - festival gold for Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
19/10/2011 - Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre [trailer, film focus] won the Gold Hugo - the top prize - in the International Feature Film Competition of the Chicago International Film Festival for "Kaurismäki's mastery and stylised, yet very humane depiction of illegal immigration".
Finland's official Oscar candidate for the Best Foreign-Language Feature was launched in competition at Cannes to receive the FIPRESCI award. Programmed on Locarno's Piazza Grande, it has since been bestowed for Best International Feature at Germany's FilmFest München , leaving St Petersburg's Kinoforum in Russia with the Audience Award.
Earlier this month Le Havre took the Audience Award at the Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland. Sold internationally by Germany's Match Factory, the André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin-starrer is still on show in Finnish cinemas, where it has reached 80,000 admissions as a Future Film Oy Ab release.
At the 47th edition of the US festival which will end tomorrow (October 20), Nordic entries collected a total of four Hugos at the festival, sweeping the New Directors' Competition for first or second features, where Finnish director Zaida Bergroth's second feature The Good Son [trailer] struck gold, while Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson's feature debut, Volcano [trailer], was awarded the silver prize.
Screening in Toronto's Discovery section, Bergroth's second feature was one of the runners-up for the Nordic Council Film Prize, praised for "its real psychological insight". Iceland's Oscar submission for the Best Foreign-Language Feature, Volcano was applauded as "a film that triggers a deep emotional response that has nothing to do with sentimentality".
The Nordic trophies were concluded by Swedish director Hugo Lilja's The Unliving, which scooped the Silver Hugo for Best Narrative Short, "a deeply unnerving thriller that is manna for horror fans but a resonant, indelible experience for all audiences", according to the jury. This year's Chicago fest programmed a total of 180 features, documentaries and shorts.