Sami Blood (Swedish: Sameblod) is a 2016 Swedish coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Amanda Kernell, as her feature film debut. The first 10 minutes of the movie (and part of the end) comes directly from the short film Stoerre Vaerie (2015, dir. Amanda Kernell). Stoerre Vaerie is Kernell's first movie with Sami themes and it was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, USA.
|Directed by||Amanda Kernell|
|Produced by||Lars G. Lindström|
|Written by||Amanda Kernell|
|Starring||Lene Cecilia Sparrok
|Music by||Kristian Eidnes Andersen|
|Edited by||Anders Skov|
Southern Sami language
The film is set in Sweden in the 1930s and concerns a 14-year-old girl who experiences prejudice at a nomad school for Sami children, and decides to escape her town and disavow her Sami heritage. Parts of the story are inspired by Kernell's own grandmother.
The film premiered at the 73rd edition of the Venice Film Festival in the Venice Days section, in which it was awarded the Europa Cinemas Label Award and the Fedeora Award for Best Debut Director. It won the 2017 Lux Prize and was nominated for the 2017 Nordic Council Film Prize.
In present day, 78-year-old Ella-Marja (who calls herself Christina, these days) returns to Lapland, and her childhood society, with her son, Olle, and granddaughter Sanna, to attend her younger sister's funeral. Ella-Marja doesn't want to be there. She doesn't like the Sami people, she calls them thieves and liars, and even though her first language is Southern Sami, she refuses to speak it and pretends to not understand it. She even refuses to spend the night at her late sister's family home and rather check into a hotel. (This part of Sami Blood is directly taken from Stoerre Vaerie.)
In the 1930s, 14-year-old Ella-Marja is sent to the nomad school with her younger sister Njenna. It's a sort of boarding school for Sami children where a blond teacher from Småland teaches them Swedish, and to know their place. Speaking Sami, even just among themselves outside of the classroom, results in beatings.
After having been attacked by a group of boys (who she confronted when they had called her names and slurs) and being marked in the ear like the Sami people do with reindeer with her father's old knife, she takes off her gaeptie (also called gapta, gåptoe depending on the Southern Sámi dialect) and borrows one of her teacher's dresses. A group of young, Swedish soldiers pass her on their way to a dance sees her and asks her to come along—it's the first time anyone who isn't Sami has treated her like a human being. This feeling is only intensified by the fact that days (weeks?) prior to this, a couple of scientists from the State Institute for Racial Biology in Uppsala came to the school to measure and photograph them naked.
Ella-Marja sneaks off to the dance, and for a couple of hours she gets to experience how it feels to have the respect and be treated with decency from others without question. That's when she decides that she will leave Lapland, go to Uppsala, and study at the university.
- Lene Cecilia Sparrok – Elle-Marja (young)
- Maj-Doris Rimpi – Elle-Marja (old)
- Mia Sparrok – Njenna
- Olle Sarri – Olle
- Anne Biret Somby – Sanna
- Hanna Alström – The Teacher
- Anders Berg – Emanuel
- Katarina Blind – Mother Anna
- Beata Cavallin – Hedda
- Malin Crépin – Elise
- Julius Fleischanderl – Niklas
- Ylva Gustafsson – Laevie
- Tom Kappfjell – Aajja
- Anna Sofie Bull Kuhmunen – Anna-Stina
- Andreas Kundler – Gustav
Evolving out of a short made by Kernell that was screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the film was shot partly in Tärnaby-Hemavan, in northern Sweden, and partly in Uppsala and Stockholm.
Sami Blood won the top prize at the 2017 Göteborg Film Festival, the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film. A prize of one million Swedish Kroner (approximately US$114,000), it is one of the world's largest film prizes. In addition, Sophia Olsson won the Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award for the film.
At the Tokyo International Film Festival, Sami Blood won second prize in the juried competition, and Lene Cecilia Sparrok won the best actress award. Sparrok (a teenage reindeer herder in real life) gave her acceptance speech in Sami.
At the Venice Film Festival, the film played in the Venice Days section and won the Fedeora Award for Best Young Director and the Europa Cinemas Label (for best European film in Venice Days).
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- Alexis Grivas (2016-11-14). "'Kills On Wheels' wins in Thessaloniki". Screen Daily.
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- "Fedeora - Federation of Film Critics of Europe and Mediterranean". Retrieved 2017-02-26.
- "Amanda Kernell's SAMI BLOOD (Sameblod) wins Europa Cinemas Venice Label". Europa Cinemas. 2016-09-09.
- "Sámi Blood Wins LUX Award". Euronews. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2017-11-14.