King of Devils web
World Cinema

King of Devil's Island

(Kongen av Bastøy)

Year 2010
Runtime 120 mins
Language Norwegian
Subtitles Norwegian with English subtitles
Alberta Premiere

Filmed with a crisp clarity to match its sombre subject matter and frigid northern clime, KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND tells the story of a real-life rebellion at a Norwegian prison camp in the early 20th century. Located on an island in the Oslo fjord, the Bastoy Boys Home is a prison camp dedicated to turning maladjusted youth into “honourable, humble, useful Christian boys” by whatever means necessary. Under the stewardship of the school’s harsh governor (Stellan Skarsgard), the boys are stripped of their names and forced into long hours of manual labour, their strong wills systematically broken down for the betterment of society. Newcomer Erling (Benjamin Helstad) isn’t adjusting well to the regime, however, and his defiance will have dramatic confidence.
Director Marius Holst gives equal attention to the film’s sweeping landscapes and subtle character moments, allowing the tension between the inmates and their superiors to build naturally. As alliances in the institution slowly shift and the characters become aware of the gravity of their actions, KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND reveals itself as a unique – and uniquely Nordic – take on the prison film genre.

Official Selection International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011
Official Selection Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011
Marius Holst
Executive Producer
Edward A. Dreyer
Karin Julsrud, Antoine De Clermont-Tonnerre, Ewe Puszczynska, Mathilde Pedye, Johannes Ahlund
Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid
John Andreas Andersen
Michal Leszczylowski
Production Design
Janusz Sosnowski
Johan Söderqvist
Stellan Skarsgård
Benjamin Helstad
Kristoffer Joner