Sunday April 22nd 4:40 PM
Director: Amanda Kernell
Cast: Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Erika Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: Swedish and Saami with English subtitles
Newport Beach Film Festival: Audience Award, Foreign Feature; Riviera International Film Festival: Best Director; Seattle International Film Festival: Best Actress (Lene Cecilia Sparrok), Best Feature Film; Venice Film Festival: Best Director (Debut). 17 other wins, 15 nominations.
“Swedish director Amanda Kernell makes a stirring debut with a coming-of-age tale that pointedly addresses a bygone era of Scandi colonialism.”—Guy Lodge, Variety
Breaking away from family is more than mere teen rebellion in Sami Blood, an eloquent coming-of-age drama set in 1930s Sweden that revolves around a spellbinding performance by young Lene Cecilia Sparrok.
For Elle-Marja, the tough and quick-witted 14-year-old at the charged center of the film, eye-opening exposure to systematic racism convinces her that the only way to be true to herself is to adopt a new identity. Rejecting her cultural heritage as one of the indigenous Sami, she reinvents herself as Swedish, embarking on a course that’s both exhilarating and bruising.
Writer-director Amanda Kernell’s assured first feature has a classic sheen, imbued with a powerful sense of place and sensitive performances. Compellingly rooted in the experiences of her young protagonist, newcomer Sparrok’s near mute portrayal as luminous as it is discerning.
At a boarding school for Sami children, star pupil Elle-Marja is pawed at, measured like a specimen and subjected to a milder version of the eugenics that would soon convulse Europe. Further studies are a pipe dream; the curriculum is designed to lift students just enough from their assumed backwardness before sending them home to their reindeer-herding families
Galvanized, Elle-Marja abandons her language and traditions and ventures out into the world. Scenes of her elderly self suggest the emotional toll of her actions. Sparrok’s burning gaze makes clear the cost of not taking them.