As always, the Gothenburg Film Festival ended with praise for the best of Nordic films. Here are the winners of the Dragon Awards 2024.
Gothenburg Film Festival looked south as its 47th edition was concluded with the Dragon Awards gala this weekend. The prize for Best Nordic Film was handed out to actor-come-director Niclas Larsson from Malmö in southern Sweden. Larsson’s dark, star-studded comedy Mother, Couch – featuring Honorary Dragon Award winner Ewan McGregor alongside Rhys Ifans, Lara Flynn Boyle and Ellen Burstyn – is his first full length feature. The Nordic Honorary Dragon Award was in turn won by Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, known for, among many other roles, her parts in the TV series Borgen and the Dogme classic Mifune (Mifunes sidste sang).
While Larsson’s tale of love and family won the biggest award (and the prize of 440,000 SEK), a colleague from across the pond took home the most prizes. Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s The Promised Land (Bastarden) won both the FIPRESCI Jury Award and the Audience Award, proving that sometimes critics and audiences may actually agree. Released during a time in which interest in historical drama has grown, this period piece starring Mads Mikkelsen tells the story of the hardships of a military captain who settles down as a farmer in 18th century Denmark.
The award for Best Nordic Documentary went to Benjamin Ree’s Ibelin, a film about how the parents of disabled Mats Steen discover their deceased son’s online life, while Marius Dybwad Brandrud and Petra Bauer’s fifteen zero three nineteenth of january two thousand sixteen (femton noll tre nittonde januari två tusen sexton), about loss and grief in the shadow of gang violence in a Swedish suburb, received an honorary mention.
“Göteborg Film Festival: The Next Generation” could be the title of a couple of the awards. The newly instituted Youth Jury Dragon Award, which is supposed to “highlight the perspective of young people on what makes a good film”, was handed out to Paula Hernandez’ A Ravaging Wind (El viento que arrasa), while Nellie Lexfors won the Short Film Award (Draken Award) for her promising short 2008 Loves You.
Finnish Oona Airola won the award for Best Acting for her portrayal of an abused single mother in Mila Tervo’s The Missile (Ohjus), while the Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award (named of course after Ingmar Bergman’s and Woody Allen’s favourite cameraman) went to Juan Sarmiento G. for his work in Swedish Snabba Cash director Daniel Espinoza’s Madame Luna.
Since Nykvist has an award named after him, for sure there must be one named after his old boss? Of course there is one. The 18th Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award was won by Farshad Hashemi for Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others (Man, Maryam, bacheha va 26 nafare dige). Another Swedish film giant, actor/director Mai Zetterling, has given name to the Mai Zetterling Grant, which was given to Sundance-praised director Jenifer Malmqvist.
While the focus of the Festival and the Dragon Awards is on Nordic film, there are plenty of international films in the festival programme. Italian director Paola Cortellesi won the award for Best International Film for her post-World War II drama There’s Still Tomorrow (C‘è ancora domani), proving once again the current power of period drama.