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FAR NORTH

Director: ASIF KAPADIA

U.K.-FRANCE • 2007 COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 89 MIN


A NEW FILM BY BRITISH DIRECTOR ASIF KAPADIA, WHO IMPRESSED WITH HIS FEATURE DEBUT THE WARRIOR, FAR NORTH HAS A SIMILAR LEVEL OF VISUAL AND AURAL CRAFTSMANSHIP, A TENDENCY TO LET THE LANDSCAPE DO THE TALKING.

Set in the northern reaches of Norway in a land that is almost timeless, this tale of the icy outdoors features the wonderful Michelle Yeoh as Saiva, the arctic equivalent of a mountain woman. It begins with an act of cruelty that’s rendered with the utmost gentleness, as Saiva sacrifices one of her dogs for its blood and meat. The only human she allows near her is Anja (Michelle Krusiec), a beautiful young woman she has raised since saving her life as an infant.

In search of food and a place to camp, the pair row their boat down river past towering snow-white mountains, passing an outpost populated by men with guns ordering prisoners about. Camping alone on the tundra, they stumble upon a starving, escaped soldier (Sean Bean) whom, against Yeoh’s better judgment, she takes in. It’s not a good move. As Bean works his charm on both mother and daughter, flashbacks explain how they came to be in this situation — and how a shaman’s prophecy about how Saiva would bring harm to those who got close to her turns out to be true.

Yeoh’s sinuous performance as the feral survivor is outstanding, and the supporting players are fine. Cinematographer Roman Osin takes full advantage of the extraordinary environment, but this sometimes vicious tale should never be mistaken for a nice little outing in the snow.

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