Sami Blood

Director: Amanda Kernell
Screenwriters: Amanda Kernell

Institute History

  • 2017 Sundance Film Festival


Since its award-winning premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, Sami Blood has played to acclaim at festivals around the world. We are happy to welcome Amanda Kernell back with this feature expansion of her short film Northern Great Mountain, which played at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

In 1930s Sweden, Elle-Marja and her sister Njenna are taken from their indigenous reindeer-breeding family and sent to a Sámi-only boarding school where they are subjected to locals’ taunts and the indignities of race-based physical examinations. While Njenna clings to her cultural traditions, Elle-Marja urges her to speak Swedish and try harder to assimilate. As she realizes how deeply she is judged as inferior, the bright, curious Elle-Marja feels driven to reject her Sámi heritage and stake out a future of her own.

In her feature debut, Kernell depicts a little-known piece of Swedish history with tenderness, melancholy, and intimacy. Young actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok heartbreakingly embodies the quiet devastation that fuels Elle-Marja’s steely determination to forge a different path after being confronted with her own otherness.

— Heidi Zwicker

Screening Details

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