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Tromsø International Film Festival

By Asbjørn Grønstad on 24.01.2012 (00:00).

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Just back from the Tromsø International Film Festival, where I was on the jury for the Norwegian Peace Film award. A place still enveloped by darkness for much of the day, the city provides a fitting context for indulging in the world of cinema. And rarely have I seen a more enthusiastic festival audience. Most screenings I went to were packed, no matter what time of day it was, and conversations everywhere seemed to involve some form of film commentary. After five exhilarating days of movies and deliberations we gave the award to Ruben Östlund's hanekesquePlay, apparently to everyone's surprise. In our statement read at the awards ceremony, we wrote that the film in "an unusually perceptive and powerful way" manages to "capture the complex psychology of cultural violence among suburban youth." Östlund's film "addresses some of the most urgent problems of our time head on: the dissolution of individual responsibility, the failure of empathy, the descent into apathy and destructive indifference." Distributed by Arthaus, Play opens in select theatres across Norway this Friday. It comes warmly recommended.

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