Iceland’s entry for the Greatest Worldwide Function Oscar is a tense, tender portrait of teenage boyhood. The second characteristic from writer-director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Heartstone), Lovely Beings world premiered in Berlin Panorama, the place it gained the Europa Cinemas Label.
Awards proceed for this hard-hitting but delicate movie that includes a compelling flip from newcomer Birgir Dagur as Addi, a boy who befriends the bullied Balli (Áskell Einar). Alongside nuanced performances from its younger forged, it additionally includes a sturdy grownup supporting forged together with Icelandic star Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Trapped) as an abusive stepfather.
After inviting Balli into his little gang, Addi begins to expertise predictive goals, alerting him of his neighbors’ secrets and techniques and warning of hazard. However Addi nonetheless struggles to forestall his hot-headed buddy Konni (Viktor Benóný) from stepping into hassle.
It’s an involving story that builds in time for quiet contemplation alongside its nerve-wracking moments. Addi incessantly experiences a way of impending doom which is shared with the viewer. An ominous rating accompanies the boys as they drink and smoke their means across the dilapidated suburbs of Reykjavik, searching for a celebration and – in Konni’s case – a battle.
Benóný is frighteningly plausible as the teenager who lashes out together with his fists at each out there alternative, at one level barreling into a celebration and pummeling unsuspecting revelers virtually to a pulp. However Guðmundsson takes an empathetic take a look at the components that may contribute to delinquency: Konni is afraid of his abusive father, as we be taught from Addi’s occasional narration.
In the meantime it’s clear that Balli’s mom is neglectful and infrequently absent. Balli’s mates jokingly train him tidy up the home, and even plunge him into the bathtub earlier than an evening out with a bunch of women. Like many scenes, this bathtub begins with the boys joshing one another in a barely merciless trend, nevertheless it finally ends up being relatively candy and tender.
There are additional contradictions within the character of Addi, who’s publicly embarrassed by his mom’s curiosity in clairvoyance and instinct however more and more drawn to those themes via his goals, that are hauntingly depicted by cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen (Victoria, The Innocents). This esoteric plot line feels prefer it comes from a really actual place, and it seems that Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson grew up in a household the place goals have been routinely mentioned, saying, “In Iceland, it’s part of our tradition.”
There’s additionally a way of nice reality within the friendships he depicts, which mix threat and concern with a tangible love and kindness. These are boys who make horrible choices, however nonetheless permit us to sympathize with them and care about their fates. Lovely Beings goes to very darkish locations, together with depicting sexual abuse. Nevertheless it leaves us with a glimmer of hope for these youngsters who could not have a lot going for them, however do have one another.