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Ruben Ostlund’s ‘Force Majeure’ Beats Venice Golden Lion ‘Pigeon’

Symbolic change of guard in Swedish film

STOCKHOLM — Last year, Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence” became the first Swedish film to win Venice’s Golden Lion. But on home turf, at Monday’s Swedish Film Gala, it no chance against Ruben Ostlund’s “Force Majeure” one of the most critically acclaimed pics of 2014.

Co-produced by Erik Hemmendorff, Marie Kjellson and Coproduction Office’s Philippe Bober, “Force Majeure” swept no less than six Guldbagge Awards, which is a record at the 51 year-old kudos ceremony.

Ostlund individually picked up three of them, best directing, script and editing (together with Jacob Secher Schulsinger) at the awards, which took place at Stockholm Cirkus.

“Force Majeure” also took best film, cinematography (Fredrik Wenzel) and supporting actor for Norway’s Kristofer Hivju.

At one of his winning speeches, Ostlund paid homage to his competitor and one of his key sources of inspiration. “Without Roy Andersson and Studio 24, we might not even have created Plattform,” said Ostlund.

In 2000, veteran Andersson won his three first Guldbagge Awards for awaited comeback “Songs From The Second Floor”, also the latest Swedish film to make Cannes main Competition cut, where it shared the Jury Prize.

The final part of ‘The Living’ trilogy, “Pigeon,”was nominated in seven categories, walking away with just one Guldbagge for set design, whereas Mikael Marcimain’s “Gentlemen”, nominated in thirteen categories, had to settle with three technical awards.

For his performance in Jens Ostberg’s “Blowfly Park”, Sverrir Gudnason nabbed the best actor award, beating out David Dencik in “Gentlemen” and Johannes Bah Kuhnke in “Force Majeure”.

The award for best actress went to debutant Saga Becker for her turn in Ester Martin Bergsmark’s “Something Must Break,” winner of a Tiger Award at Rotterdam last year. Becker, a transexual, aptly picked up the prize from actress Stina Ekblad, first known for her androgynous role as Ismael in “Fanny and Alexander.”

One of the ceremony’s most memorable moments was when the Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, recently honored at the Goteborg Film Festival, came on stage to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award, mainly for her pioneering contribution to the films of Ingmar Bergman and also Jan Troell’s. It was the first time a non-Swede received the prize.

The ceremony also honored Swedish film personalities who died in 2014, from Anita Ekberg to “Searching For Sugar Man” director Malik Bendjelloul.

In the category for best foreign film neither “Ida” nor “Boyhood” – both Oscar nominated – won: Plaudit went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Two Days, One Night,” with Marion Cotillard, which, like “Force Majeure,” didn’t make the final five Academy Award foreign-language cut. For both, Monday night in Goteborg served as some consolation.

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