// Presented as part of Filmatique's Young Womanhood Series //
Spotlight on Sámi Blood
Amanda Kernell / Norway-Denmark-Sweden, 2016 / Venice, Rotterdam, Cork, Fargo, Göteborg, Hamburg, Trondheim, New Zealand International Film Festival, Newport Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Seattle, Sydney, Thessaloniki, Tokyo, Toronto, Zlin / 110'
Elle Marja is a 14-year-old indigenous Sámi girl living in the north of Sweden. She and her sister attend a boarding school where they are exposed to biology examinations as well as taunting by the local boys for their inferior ethnicity. To escape all this, Elle Marja travels to Uppsala where she assumes the identity of an average Swedish girl. She soon learns, however, the cost of leaving her family and culture behind.
Examining a rarely-considered chapter of Scandinavian colonialism through the eyes of a strong young woman, Sámi Blood is weighted in its naturalism, both in astonishing performances from its unprofessional actresses and its treatment of the subtle forms of racism that pervade systems of indigenous oppression. Amanda Kernell's first feature film premiered at Venice's Giornate degli Autori, where it won the LUX Prize and Best First Film; Tokyo, where it won Best Actress and the Special Jury Prize; Newport Beach, where it won the Audience Award; Santa Fe, where it won Best Narrative Feature; Seattle, where it won Best Actress and the Grand Jury Prize; and Göteborg, where it won Best Nordic Film and Best Cinematography.
"A moving, classically rendered coming-of-age tale set against the scarring social prejudices of the 1930s, this handsome debut feature from Swedish-Sami writer-director Amanda Kernell robustly blends adolescent fears that resonate across borders and generations with a fascinatingly specific, rarely depicted cultural context: Sweden's colonial oppression of the indigenous Sami folk. Following a single, strong-willed teenager as she is forced to choose between remaining with her people or pursuing the education and opportunities otherwise denied her, this stirring but pleasingly unsentimental tale has all the makings of a festival crowdpleaser, and introduces a poised, intelligent young talent in star Lene Cecilia Sparrok"
- Guy Lodge, Venice Review, Variety