Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain and Grímur Hákonarson‘s Rams have continued their winning streaks and collectively strengthened Iceland’s international presence with a strong showing at the 57th Nordic Film Days Festival in Lübeck, Germany on Sunday.
Virgin Mountain (Fúsi)
Virgin Mountain won the Lübecker Nachrichten Audience Prize and Interfilm Church Prize at Lübeck, whilst lead actor Gunnar Jónsson received an honourable mention for his performance in the film. Since its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, it has gone on to take awards around the world, including Tribeca where it grabbed three awards in the World Narrative Competition (Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actor), and has since gone on to win the Nordic Council Film Prize.
Virgin Mountain is the story of 43-year-old Fusi who lacks the courage to step into the world of adulthood. He sleepwalks through everyday life, never deviating from fixed routines. But when an effervescent woman and an eight-year-old girl unexpectedly enter his life, he is forced to take the plunge into the unknown.
Each year, the Lübeck Festival‘s Baltic jury honours a Nordic narrative feature and this year Rams was chosen. In addition to being selected as Iceland’s entry for the 88th Academy Awards, it has enjoyed a particularly strong festival run this year, having won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May and gone on to win the main prize at seven film festivals, with 14 awards overall.
Rams tells the story of brothers Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) who live side-by-side but have not spoken in forty years. Stubborn and competitive, they only communicate via handwritten notes delivered by their loyal sheepdog Somi. When a deadly virus threatens their prize-winning sheep and livelihood, they are forced to come together to save their unique family breed, and themselves, from extinction.