Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
This compelling debut from Swedish-Sami writer-director Amanda Kernell sheds light on a shameful period of history. In 1930s Sweden, 14-year-old Sami girl Elle Marja is forcibly removed from her family and sent to a state-run boarding school where she is expected to learn how to behave in ‘acceptable’ society. Fearful of being seen as different and internalising much of the vile, racist dogma she is taught, Elle Marja becomes determined to find a new life for herself by abandoning her indigenous heritage and attempting to pass as Swedish.
“A moving, classically rendered coming-of-age tale set against the scarring social prejudices of the 1930s, this handsome debut feature... 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... introduces a poised, intelligent young talent in star Lene Cecilia Sparrok.” — Guy Lodge, Variety
“Sami Blood features a winning combination of strong central performances... and an intimate, empathetic approach to a period of history which is not widely known outside of Northern Europe. The backstory to the film adds a layer of interest: it was inspired by the life of the director’s own grandmother.” — Wendy Ide, Screendaily