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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival: "The Kautokeino Rebellion"

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 08:10 PM
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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival: "The Kautokeino Rebellion"
Norway has been turning out some terrific films in the past few years ("The Other Side of Sunday," "Sons," "Insomnia") and this is another one to add to the list.

It's based on the true story of a conflict between the Sami (Lapps), a nomadic reindeer-herding people of Arctic Scandinavia, and Norwegian settlers in the nineteenth century. As happened with Native Americans in the same time period, the Norwegians try to control the Sami through giving or withholding supplies and encouraging heavy drinking among a people who never had alcoholic drinks before, thus keeping them in a sort of debt bondage to the traders in Kautokeino.

A woman named Elen hears a charismatic preacher in another town and is inspired to persuade her people to give up drinking. These quasi-AA meetings, complete with Bible readings and sermons, are successful in getting the Sami to boycott the tavern, and to set up their own buying cooperative that bypasses the trading post.

The trading post owner is furious and uses his connections with corrupt government officials and clergy to break up these self-help efforts, using every possible deception and exploiting the bigotry that makes the government officials and clergy more willing to believe a fellow Norwegian than a Sami.

This is an engrossing story, not only keeping you interested in the struggle of the Sami with the corrupt Norwegian settlers but also giving you a look at their culture and how they survive in such a harsh environment. (Their environment is similar to that of the Inuit, but their adaptations are entirely different.) In addition, the film is gorgeously photographed and contains a couple of stunning action scenes.

I hope this film finds a U.S. distributor.
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