Beautiful Beings Best European Film In Berlin

Beautiful Beings (Berdreymi), the second feature by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, has won Best European Film in the Panorama section of the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival (10 – 20 February) which qualifies it for promotional support from Europa Cinemas for its theatrical release.

The film follows Addi, a boy raised by a clairvoyant mother, who decides to adopt a bullied misfit into his gang of outsiders. Left to their own devices, the boys explore aggression and violence but also learn about loyalty and love. As their behaviour begins to escalate, Addi begins to experience a series of dreamlike visions but can his newfound intuition guide them back to a safer path, or will they descend into further violence?

The jury said in their deliberation: “Guðmundsson’s second feature is certainly a harsh look at a bunch of teenage boys struggling to find a way forward despite estrangement from their dysfunctional families. But it is the warmth alongside the violence that makes this a film that demands to be seen.”

“The audience is right with the boys as they deal with their emotions and friendships, but out of this toxic masculinity, Guðmundsson manages to find hope and lyricism, even using magical realism at times to create a very special atmosphere… The themes explored are universal, and this film deserves to find its audience across Europe.”

Meanwhile, Comedy Queen directed by Sanna Lenken won the Crystal Bear for Best Film in the Generation Kplus section at the festival which celebrates achievements in film for young audiences. This is the second win at the Berlinale for Sanna Lenken, having won Best Film for My Skinny Sister in 2015.

Based on the novel by Linn Gottfridsson, Comedy Queen follows 13 years old Sasha who wants nothing more than to become a stand-up comedian. She’s deeply angry at her mother for taking her own life but is determined to avoid a similar fate so secretly writes a list of everything she must do to survive: shave her hair, stop reading books, say no to the world’s cutest puppy and, above all, become a Comedy Queen.

The jury said: “A great protagonist, powerful and vulnerable at the same time, provided us with her captivatingly told, bittersweet story of loss, grief, anger and healing. This film was a rollercoaster ride full of emotions: sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing… In a word, the film was superb.”