Hauntingly beautiful and chilling, Sami Blood explores the life of an adolescent Sami girl in Sweden who is forced to renounce her indigenous culture.

Screening as part of the 2017 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival, Sami Blood is based on real events where indigenous Sami children in Sweden were sent to boarding schools and forced to embrace the Swedish language and culture.

Set in the 1930s, the film follows 14-year-old reindeer herder Elle Marja who is forcibly removed from her Sami community and sent to one of these schools along with her younger sister. The film focuses on Elle Marja as undergoes a period of transition and begins to embrace Swedish culture, changing her name to Christina and renouncing her Sami heritage.

Director Amanda Kernell has created a thought-provoking coming-of-age drama that shows the effects of prejudice and racism on a vulnerable adolescent girl. The film is subtle and powerful, using stunning cinematography to great effect and highlighting the social conflict between the two cultures that Elle Marja finds herself caught between.

There’s an emphasis on family, roots and the bond of sisterhood seen through the relationship between Elle Marja and her sister Njenna. Director Amanda Kernell cast real-life Sami sisters to play Elle Marja and Njenna (Lene Cecilia Sparrok and Mia Erika Sparrok), which adds to the realism and authenticity of the film.

Hauntingly beautiful, intense, complex and subtle, Sami Blood is an honest and real exploration of one young girl’s search for her identity.

Sami Blood is screening as part of the 2017 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso on Jul 29 at 6:30pm and Jul 31 at 8:20pm.

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