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Pathfinder

Director: Nils Gaup


Nominated for a ‘best foreign film’ Oscar in 1987, director Nils Gaup’s spectacular Norwegian film fuses the mythic simplicity of a folk tale with the kind of lean action and imaginative use of landscape that would not disgrace an Akira Kurosawa epic. Set in 10th-century Lapland, the battle between Good and Evil here involves the peace-loving Lapps and savage, black-clad invaders the Tchudes. When 16-year-old Aigin (Mikkel Gaup) sees his family wiped out by a Tchude raiding party, he flees to a nearby village. The villagers make for the safety of the coastlands, but the vengeful Aigin stays to confront the raiders, only to be captured and forced to act as their pathfinder. Will he lead them to the Lapp settlement, or will he succeed in tricking them into a vital mistake?
Shot in 70mm against a frozen landscape of stunning beauty, Pathfinder combines almost documentary-like ethnographic elements with spectacular stunts and fight sequences. The mixture of frosty, heart-pounding action and brief flashes of ethnic spiritualism is surprisingly effective, as is the film’s strangely appropriate electronic score. Technically, Pathfinder is an astonishing achievement, with its visual splendours and thrilling action putting many Hollywood epics to shame.
Norway, 1987. English subtitles. Colour. Super Panavision 70. Six-track magnetic Dolby stereo. 86 mins.

Plus A Year Along the Abandoned Road/Året gjennom Børfjord
Morten Skallerud’s innovative short, which uses time-lapse photography and tracking shots to explore a desolate stretch of road in northern Norway over a twelve-month period. Taking almost eleven years from conception to completion, this remarkable film was shot in 70mm (thanks to a sponsorship deal with camera manufacturers Panavision) and has won countless festival prizes.
Norway, 1991. Colour. Super Panavision 70. Six-track magnetic Dolby stereo. 12 mins.

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