Blu-Ray Review: The White Reindeer

Myths, legends and fairy tales have long fascinated humans, permeating into just about every society and culture around the world. Folklore, passed down by word of mouth, song and eventually through the written word, still plays an integral role in many communities. These stories have often been thinly-veiled cautionary tales or moralistic parables to control the young and uneducated. The sanitised Disney versions we have today bear little resemblance to the originals. Life was hard and they reflected that. The White Reindeer is one such fable.

Pirita (Mirjami Kuosmanen) is a young woman who lives in the snowbound Lappi Province of Finland. She meets Aslak (Kalervo Nissilä), a reindeer herder, and the couple quickly fall in love and marry. However, his work takes him away for long periods. In an attempt to quell her loneliness and spark his desire, she visits a local shaman (Arvo Lehesmaa) to buy a love potion. Whilst it works, Pirita soon discovers that it has a rather unusual, and deadly, side-effect.

The White Reindeer is the debut film by Finnish choreographer Erik Blomberg and what really stands out is the sheer beauty or the Arctic backdrop. In many ways it’s highly progressive, mixing gender politics and sexual repression in to the dark fantasy. The drama unmasks the the failings of men. At its heart, The White Reindeer is a frosty fairy tale. A bloody tale of love, desire and snowy shape-shifting.

Limited edition special features:

·         Limited Edition O Card Slipcase [2000 copies ONLY]

·         1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a 4K restoration completed in 2017 by the National Audio-visual Institute of Finland

·         LPCM audio (original mono presentation)

·         Optional English subtitles

·         Feature Length Audio Commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger

·         Religion, Pleasure, and Punishment: The Portrayal of Witches in Nordic Cinema – a new and exclusive video essay by film journalist and writer Amy Simmons

·         With The Reindeer – Erik Blomberg’s 1947 documentary short

·         Colour Test Footage

·         1952 Jussi Awards Ceremony featurette

·         Reversible Sleeve

·         PLUS: A collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller Nichols and journalist Philip Kemp

The White Reindeer is released on dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on 8 April.

Previous Film Review: Last Breath
Next Incoming: The Sisters Brothers

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