A Swedish Coming of Age Story
A breakout critical discovery of the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, Swedish-Sami filmmaker Amanda Kernell’s striking directorial debut is a female coming-of-age story told with emotional power.
During the 1930s in Sweden, indigenous Sami children were systematically removed from their parents (a practice common in Scandinavia over the nineteenth and twentieth century). Reindeer-herding teenager Elle-Marja (Lene Cecilia Sparrok) is one of these children, sent to a boarding school where indigenous students are taught Swedish language and customs, and made ‘acceptable’ to white society. During her stay, Elle-Marja is torn between assimilating and her burgeoning sense of self...
Beautifully articulating adolescent anxiety and the impact of one culture seeking to deny another, Kernell’s hyper-specific setting uncovers an engrossing, universal story, one particularly familiar within the context of Australian history.