Keenly observed drama about the position of Sami – the Laps – in Sweden in the 1930s. In Sami Blood we see through the eyes of a 14-year-old Sami girl (compellingly played by Lene Cecilia Sparrok) how prejudice and racial stereotypes can be gruesome obstacles. Assured debut by half Sami, half Swedish Kernell.
Inquiring teenager Elle-Marja, the daughter of a family of reindeer herders in Lapland, dreams of escaping her nomadic existence and studying in Uppsala. But in 1930s Sweden, her people, the Sami, face ubiquitous discrimination. "Studies have shown that your people can’t get by in town…" she is told at the draconian boarding school where she has been housed with her little sister. "You have to stay here or you’ll die out."
In her award-winning feature debut Sami Blood, Amanda Kernell sketches an intimate, intelligent portrait of a girl who is determined to follow her dreams, in spite of everything. She is jeered at, abused and subjected to horrific medical examinations, but where her contemporaries cling on to their customs and traditions, Elle-Marja chooses the path that will drive her further and further from her family and her roots: total assimilation.