Of Horses and Men is a rural romance about the humanity in horses and the equine in humans. Love and death become intertwined, with major consequences. The fortunes of people in the countryside are seen through the eyes of horses.
Nordic jury motivation: Of Horses and Men, a strikingly original film with its roots in the laconic humour of the Icelandic saga tradition, deals with the strong bonds connecting humankind and nature. At the heart of the film’s interconnected tales is humankind’s eternal attempts to control nature and pathetic failure to do so, often with disastrous consequences.
The director demonstrates a profound understanding of the primal side of both horses and humans. Using the animal’s point of view to depict tragicomic human behaviour endows Of Horses and Men with a distinctive lyricism as well as a darkly comic tone.
Director Benedikt Erlingsson combines powerful visuals, editing and music in a way that makes the film itself stand out as a force of nature.
National jury motivation: Of Horses and Men is a strikingly original film characterised by powerful visual language and an interwoven use of soundscape that gives the viewer a sense of, to quote Zola, “the beast in man”. The film depicts man’s eternal attempts to control nature and his pathetic failure in this endeavour – often with disastrous consequences.
In this quirky love story about the relationship between humans and horses, director Benedikt Erlingsson masterfully transmits meanings and ideas through an admirable use of both animal and human characters.
The animal’s gaze is the central point of view through which we observe the tragicomic behaviour of man. This gives Of Horses and Men not only a peculiar lyricism, but also a darkly comic tone, which makes the film distinctively Icelandic.
National jury members: Kristín Jóhannesdóttir, Björn Ægir Norðfjörð & Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir