The Iceland film, Of Horses and Men, has won the best film award at the Brussels Film Festival.
Benedikt Erlingsson’s film collected the Golden Iris Award and the €10.000 prize.
The film portrays Icelandic horses and the tough men and women who share their lives with them.
Love and death become interlaced with major consequences. The fortunes of the people in the film are seen through the horses’ perspective.
The plot involves a complex love scene. Kolbeinn and Solveig love each other, but Kolbeinn is also in love with his prized possession and darling, the mare Grána; and Grána is obsessed with the stallion Brúnn.
Spring is coming and the whole community is monitoring events, knowing it cannot end well.
The story ends in the autumn when the horses are herded and men and horses become “one great strand of excitement”. All the players are drawn together.
Writer and director Erlingsson is one of the most talented theatre directors to come out of Iceland. He has won many awards. His productions during the past decade have enjoyed exceptionally long runs, with almost every performance being sold out.
The idea of the movie, he said, was to show the beauty of the union of man and animal, as well as to present the peculiar and the ludicrous.
“The imagery is in that way meant to underline the heart of the story, which is, in its core, tragi-comical.
“A number of age-old Icelandic folk tales tell stories of men and horses. Although the stories cover a range of subjects, they have the same core elements and theme: they project an intricate spectrum of human life and a varied struggle for existence.”
In this “rainbow of conflicts” — death, happiness and sorrow — lies the essence of this film, he says.
“This subject is dear to me. I have ridden horses since I was very young, and I have always been fascinated by this exquisite animal and its partnership with humankind in a wild and rugged country.”