Archived: The White Reindeer


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The White Reindeer

Valkoinen peura, fiction, drama, fantasy, Finland, 1952

DIRECTED BY: Eric Blomberg


Finnish Lapland in the pre-Christian era. Young Pirita recently married reindeer herder Aslak, a man who is forced to be away from home for a long time due to work. While Aslak is absent with the cattle, Piritu is tormented by loneliness and the fact that he fails to satisfy his marital passion with his beloved wife. So she decides to turn to the local shaman Tsaikku-Nilli for help, who will really help her, but in a very unusual way. Under the action of the potion that the shaman will give her, Pirita will transform not only into a white female room, but also into a female who is a vampire. As such, Pirita will attract numerous men from the village who will go hunting for her and her persecution, but with tragic consequences.

In 1953, at the Cannes Film Festival, she was awarded the International Prize for “Fairy Tale Film” by the jury headed by Jean Cocteau, and four years later awarded the Golden Globe for Best Non-English Language Film (on a par with Gottfried Reinhardt’s Before Dusk). , The Girl in Black by Michael Cacoyannis, Taiyô to Bar by Keisuke Kinoshita and King Vidor’s War and Peace), an excellent fantasy horror drama by co-writer and director Erik Blomberg is based on folk tales of the Saami ethnic community from Finnish Lapland. A renowned director of feature films as well as acclaimed short documentaries, Blomberg became interested in teaching the Saami about the White Room back in 1947, when he collaborated with screenwriter Ein Mäkinen on the 8-minute documentary Porojen parissa (In the company of reindeer). the prestigious Finnish Jussi Award for Best Short Film. The screenplay for the feature-length treatment of the White Room legend was written by Blomberg with his wife Mirjami Kousmanen, and the film presents an extremely successful cross between fantastic drama and horror. It is a very atmospheric work of impressive visuals and rich imaginativeness (the cameraman was Blomberg himself), a work that the author of such a background (pseudo) documentary approach uses brilliantly to create a unique avant-garde experiment, dreamy art-horror that is impossible to compare with any film . It also impresses with the way Blomberg portrays gender inequality, social oppression and sexual anxiety, in which it is possible to detect to some extent the echo of the masterpiece People of the Cat by Jacques Tourneur.

B / W, 74 ′

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