Thursday, March 06, 2014

Olga / Olga to My Friends

Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 4
In Russian, по-русски, with Finnish and English subtitles


Finland 2013
Documentary | 58 min

Director: Paul-Anders Simma

Kehitysvammaisena pidetty orpotyttö Olga seuraa karskeja paimenia pitkin laidunnusreittejä. Todellisuudessa Olga on älykäs nuori ja erinomainen tarinankertoja. Venäjän viranomaiset ovat kuitenkin leimanneet hänet jälkeenjääneeksi.
Olga is an assumed mentally disabled, parentless girl, following rough herdsmen along the migration routes. In reality she is a very bright teenager and an excellent storyteller. However, the Russian authorities branded her as retarded.

AA: A story from Lapland, Russia. The atavistic way of life based on reindeer herding comes to an end when the brigade is discontinued and all reindeer are slaughtered and sold. Olga moves to Lovozero, the Sami capital of Russia, but she feels unwell (she even panics in an elevator), and finds a semi-traditional place to live at a two day's journey from Lovozero.

Olga has never felt well at school, and she has never even learned to read. But she has a way with animals, and she can make things grow. She comes from a broken family, where everyone is alcoholized except her. The main Sami problem is alcoholism. There are grim aspects in this story, but also aspects of fun and dance.

Olga is about the undying yearning for a primordial way of life. Alcohol is the symbol of its destruction.

Most importantly, Olga is a vision of the grandeur of Lapland. The cinematography conveys the force of nature and the beauty of the light stunningly.

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