Play is an astute observation based on real cases of bulling. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, mobbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate scheme called the ‘little brother number’ or ‘brother trick’, involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence.
Nordic jury motivation: Director Ruben Östlund once again confirms his position as one of today’s most original filmmakers in the Nordic countries. Through his ongoing artistic project - dissecting and analysing human behaviour, Ruben Östlund presents thought-provoking insights into social roles and role play. The stylistic imagery, the relentless pace of the story and the astounding performances from non-professional actors makes Play a gut wrenching drama that prompts us to reflect on important issues in modern western society.
Nordic jury: Per Juul Carlsen (Denmark), Outi Heiskanen (Finland), Sif Gunnarsdottir (Iceland), Silje Riise Næss (Norway) and Fredrik Sahlin (Sweden).
National jury motivation: Ruben Östlund's Play stepped straight into the real world, stirred, provoked and created a debate that extended far beyond the boundaries of the film world.
Play is a complex, insightful and clever social psychological study into the field of human behaviour, which forces the audience to reflect on their own prejudices and preconceived ideas.
Ruben Östlund & co have created a painful contemporary work where sound, images, direction and script - in fact, every aspect of the production - interact and communicate in a remarkably successful way. All this is reinforced by superb acting, by both amateurs and professionals, which vibrates with presence and total accuracy in setting the tone.
National jury: Fredrik Sahlin, Pia Lundberg, Bertil Sandgren