Loosely based on her own grandmother’s life, Amanda Kernell’s feature debut, “Sami Blood,” follows a unique heroine through a compelling coming-of-age tale. The films centers on 14-year-old Elle Marja, a reindeer-herding Sámi girl who feels trapped by her insular society and by an outside world that doesn’t accept her. Once she is exposed to the racism of the 1930s and race biology examinations at her boarding school, she starts dreaming of another life. But to achieve this dream, Elle Marja will have to make a series of heart-breaking sacrifices.
The film is led by a powerful performance from newcomer Lene Cecilia Sparrok — who never acted before this film and is Sami herself — along with her own sister, also a newbie to the world of moviemaking. Based on Kernell’s 2015 short film, “Stoerre Vaerie,” the film flips back and forth between time periods to give life to Elle Marja’s remarkable life and journey.
“Sami Blood” premiered at the 73rd edition of the Venice Film Festival in the Venice Days section, where it picked up both the Europa Cinemas Label Award and the Fedeora Award for Best Debut Director. It went on to screen at a variety of lauded festivals, including TIFF, Sundance, and Berlin. It’s now bound for a limited release later this week, and our exclusive clip shows off the power of the film in just two minutes.
Check out our exclusive clip from “Sami Blood” below.
“Sami Blood” opens in limited release on Friday, June 2.