Tracker Pixel for Entry

​‘Sami Blood’ named best narrative feature at FFF18

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | March 14th, 2018

A captivating lead performance by Lene Cecilia Sparrok anchors the stout and handsome “Sami Blood,” winner of the award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Fargo Film Festival.

Set principally in the 1930s, director Amanda Kernell’s inaugural feature film identifies fiercely and intimately with Sparrok’s teenage Elle-Marja, who plots to leave her family and way of life for a different future in the city.

A member of the indigenous Scandinavian people known as the Sami, Elle-Marja has grown up participating in the semi-nomadic reindeer herding traditionally identified as one of the main livelihoods of the group.

“Sami Blood” debuted at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, earning a pair of key awards before moving through additional festival successes.

Interestingly, the near present-day sections of the film that offer a framing device tracking the now almost 80-year-old Elle-Marja (the older version of the character is played by Maj-Doris Rimpi) are incorporated into the feature directly from Kernell’s short “Stoerre Vaerie” -- known in English as “Northern Great Mountains” -- which showed at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

The Sami people have faced institutionalized racism and government-supported discrimination for centuries, a reality that Kernell makes crystal clear in both the contemporary and period eras she depicts.

Additionally, the director’s decision to shoot on location constructs a layer of documentary-like realism. The audience accompanies Elle-Marja in both the rural and semi-urban places she visits, and Kernell is especially good at communicating tiny details of emotional identification. The proximity to animals and the joy of a bracing and cleansing dip contrast sharply with the adrenalized fear lit up by a group of bullies. The awful result of the encounter with the latter functions for the remainder of the story as a symbolic marker of Elle-Marja’s permanent link to her culture.

Kernell’s own heritage -- her father is Sami and her mother is “traditional” Swedish -- illuminates the movie in significant measure. The filmmaker insisted on casting a pair of real sisters fluent in South Sami, a language estimated to be spoken by fewer than 500 people, and that commitment pays off in the stunning verisimilitude crafted by Kernell and her collaborators.

The most memorable sections of “Sami Blood,” including one painful reconstruction of the grotesque physical examinations forced on schoolchildren to drum up state “evidence” of Sami inferiority, directly and unflinchingly confront the horrors and humiliations -- large and small -- perpetrated against Elle-Marja.

As our protagonist navigates the impossible realities outside the life she feels is suffocating her, the brilliance of Kernell’s rendering straddles the universal and the specific. Countless stories explore the liminal passages of painful adolescence and the yearning for adulthood that accompanies experimentation with grown-up desires.

Elle-Marja joins many youthful literary runaways, hiding her origins to the extent that she can, and seeking what immediately appears to be an ill-fated romance with a boy met at a dance.

But just as we encounter some element we have seen before, the director draws on her rich knowledge and personal experience to visualize all kinds of singular wonders that should satisfy even the most voracious consumers of world cinema.

“Sami Blood” will screen on Saturday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the Fargo Theater, as part of the 2018 Fargo Film Festival.

Recently in:

FARGO – Ellen Chaffee wanted to know how much lobbyists were spending to influence North Dakota legislators. Online searches ended in dead ends. As the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, Chaffee and Dina Butcher…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comZero Gravity Alternative Fitness will present their annual Halloween showcase this Saturday at their studio in south Fargo. The event, aptly named Poletergeist II, is a chance for students and staff…

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30 - 8 p.m.Atonement Lutheran Church, 4601 University Drive S., FargoBring the kids for candy and fun! This family-friendly halloween event has fun for everyone! There will be trunk or treating outside, a…

This weekend I was showing a friend of mine some Fargo hotspots. He was visiting from the West Coast, so naturally I was playing up the Midwest’s many charms. He mentioned that one thing that differed from the West Coast was the…

Gadfly

Goodbye Democracy!

by Ed Raymond

How today’s “christians” hammered the nails into the hands and feet of christHistorian Christopher Browning, who has spent a lifetime studying the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the World War II era of Europe, has expressed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.com The scent of sauerkraut will be in the air next Wednesday when the Wishek Association of Commerce hosts the 93rd Annual Sauerkraut Day festival in Wishek, ND.The city of Wishek is situated 30…

We started our interview with JBOT, Captured! By Robots front man, captive and creator by playing a small bout of phone tag. You see, his internet went out and that sent his mind racing. Once we touched base, he said, “For a…

Damien Chazelle’s fourth feature follows the trajectory common to the careers of many ambitious and talented filmmakers honored with Academy Awards: the dissipation of rawness and experimentation as budgets, expectations, and…

I came to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for the art. The tiny town among the rolling hills about 50 miles southwest of Madison is home to just 2,491 souls and 25 art galleries and studios. Any community with that much creative energy…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a…