King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy) (2010) Film. Director : Marius Holst


Based on a true story: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the island Bastoy, located in the Oslo fjord live a group of delinquent, young boys aged 11 to 18. The boys daily, sadistic regime is run by the guards and the principal who bestow both mental and physical abuse on them. Instead of the boys being straightened out with education they end up being used as cheap, manual labor. The boys attempt to survive by adapting to their inhumane conditions. One day a new boy, Erling (17), arrives with his own agenda; how to escape from the island. How far is he willing to go in order to get his freedom? (Imdb)

In line with the best quality European film productions, this Norwegian film does an extraordinary job at combining the prison genre with political allegory and historic reenactment. The film’s entire plot is set in 1915, in a correctional facility on an island in the Norwegian fjords. This reformatory is filled with young offenders and children whose only crime is to have been born poor. The island’s governor (played by European star Stellan Skarsgärd) directs this correctional facility with a firm hand, and the daily creed at this extremely cold institution is discipline, hard work and physical punishment. The indomitable Erling (played by a magnetic Benjamin Heistad) arrives at the reformatory, setting off a confrontation between the monsters of repression and those who are willing to fight for their freedom. —Carlos Reviriego, 4+1 Film Festival