Scandinavian Film Festival brings stories from across the globe

Sammi Blood, directed by Amanda Kernell, may be located in Sweden but it is a tale of colonisation and alienation that is very close to home.

Sweden’s indigenous population, the Samis (or Lapps), were nomadic reindeer herders and weren’t given any rights until the 1990s. Their children were sent to residential schools where they were told they were of an inferior race and denied higher education.

Elle Marja (Lena Cecelia Spattok) is at one of these schools with her younger sister in the 1930s. She is bright and wants to learn more but she soon finds out she is expected to return to her family’s nomadic life.

Shunned and by the people around her, she also has to submit to humiliating ‘scientific examinations’ but her younger sister doesn’t understand why Elle Marja is desperate to go to the city and reject her heritage.

It is not until, as an old woman with grandchildren, she returns to her estranged sister’s funeral the story of the indigenous girl caught between two worlds unfolds.

Films from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland can be seen in this year’s Scandinavian Film Festival which runs from 20 July until 3 August at Cinema Paradiso.

Also check out Tom of Finland, a biography of homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen, and Heartstone which follows a group of youths exploring sexuality at a Icelandic summer camp.

Lezly Herbert

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