Tuesday evening the Danish drama 'Queen of Hearts' received the Nordic Council Film Prize 2019. The coveted Nordic accolade was presented in Stockholm in connection with the Nordic Council Session.
The award is shared between director and screenwriter May el-Toukhy, screenwriter Maren Louise Käehne and producers Caroline Blanco and René Ezra – to emphasize that film as an art form is the result of a collective process.
The jury gave the following motivation:
"Is it about a midlife crisis? About class? Or about desire and passion? Is she a sex violator? Or a psychopath?
We are used to movies serving a clear point, we almost always know whether a movie character is good or evil, but with 'Queen of Hearts' director May El-Toukhy and co-writer Maren Louise Käehne leave it to us, the audience, to find focus and morale and to judge the protagonist Anne, who is doing exactly what she should NOT be doing – having an affair with her stepson.
Strangely it feels just right to have that responsibility. It is not a pleasure to get to know Anne – but it is an arousing pleasure to experience a finely masked film that gives us the right tools to find our own relationship to a complex human being. And believes that we are capable of it.
It is impossible not to praise Trine Dyrholm for her formidable nuanced performance as 'Queen' Anne, but at all levels – cinematography, music, production design and more – 'Queen of Hearts' is an impressive feat. It makes an almost impossible task seem easy and effortless."
Denmark's Oscar entry
'Queen of Hearts' is Denmark's entry for the 2020 Academy Awards. The film took home the Audience Award at Sundance, and Trine Dyrholm won for best actor at Göteborg Film Festival. It was equally warmly received by critics at its national release on 28 March, with admissions landing high at 333,000.
The four other Nordic nominees were 'Aurora' by Miia Tervo (Finland), 'A White, White Day' by Hlynur Pálmason (Iceland), 'Blind Spot' by Tuva Novotny (Norway) and 'Reconstructing Utøya' by Carl Javér (Sweden).
The Nordic Council Film Prize was first given in 2002. 'Queen of Hearts' marks the sixth time the award has been presented to a Danish film. Previous Danish winners are 'The Hunt' and 'Submarino' by Thomas Vinterberg (2013 and 2010), 'Antichrist' by Lars von Trier (2009), 'The Art of Crying' by Peter Schønau Fog (2007) and 'Manslaughter' by Per Fly (2005).