Estonian director Jonas Taul’s debut film, titled “A Most Exquisite Man”, won the grand prix award – a Golden Gunnar – at the Fredrikstad Animation Festival in Norway.
The animation film, targeted at adults, tells a story of “a most exquisite man”, who has “fantastic abilities, incomprehensible talent”, he could even be called “a genius”, yet something within him is restless. Big questions utterly absorb him, leading him to a place where all he can do is surrender his life, to find what gives him and the natural world “undeniable purpose and concluding peace”.
“With its tranquil images, the film manages to build up its own universe in a delicate way, facing the viewer with indirect yet inescapable questions about the meaning of life,” the festival’s jury said, upon awarding the film with grand prix.
“The place is not a place, but a mental suggestion. White is not just white, and black is not just black, but they are full of possibilities that contribute to the isolation of the character forming his inner world, and opening the film space to exquisite possibilities.”
The Fredrikstad Animation Festival is the oldest and largest of its kind in the Nordic region, dating back to 1994. The annual festival takes place each October in the town of Fredrikstad, outside of Oslo, the capital of Norway.
The Nordic-Baltic animated short film competition – accepting competing animations from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Åland Isands – is one of the cornerstones of the festival. The awarded prizes are known as the Golden Gunnars.
The director, Jonas Taul, studied in the Netherlands at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in audio-visual art. Taul has also published the book, “Night Thoughts” (“Öömõtted”, published in Estonian) with his illustrations.
“A Most Exquisite Man” was produced by the Nukufilm, the oldest still-running stop motion studio in the world, established in 1957 in Tallinn, Estonia. An art house company, Nukufilm mainly produces animated shorts.
Cover: “A Most Exquisite Man” by Jonas Taul. A still by Nukufilm.