Beware Of Children (Barn) by Dag Johan Haugerud has been awarded the 2020 Nordic Council Film Prize, against stiff competition from Uncle, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Echo and Charter.
The story follows the dramatic aftermath of a tragic event in a middle-class suburb of Oslo. During a break in school 13-year old Lykke, the daughter of a prominent Labour Party member, seriously injures her classmate Jamie, the son of a high-profile right-wing politician. When Jamie later dies in hospital, contradicting versions of events risk making the situation worse.
The jury said in their deliberation: “Haugerud portrays complex and engaging personalities and situations in a broad film that is also a story about modern Norway… (but it) never get heavy to watch, even if it is about a heavy theme. The humour really shines through in scenes where the adults, with varying degrees of success, have to mute their own vanity and aggression to maintain the peace.”
“Dag Johan Haugerud is a distinct filmmaker, with a highly personal view of the world and an unusually good ear for dialogue. Through the years he has cultivated a warm and trusting relationship with some of Norway’s finest actors, and in Beware of Children they bring out the best in each other. This is a rich film about that which matters most of all.”
The Nordic Council Film Prize aims to raise interest in the Nordic cultural community and recognise outstanding artistic initiatives. Its nominees must have deep roots in Nordic culture, be of high artistic quality, and distinguish themselves by their artistic originality. A prize of DKK 350,000 is awarded to the winning film to be shared equally between the screenwriter, director and producer, underlining how film as an art form is a collaborative effort.