Far North (2007 film)
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|Directed by||Asif Kapadia|
|Written by||Asif Kapadia|
Sara Maitland (story)
|Music by||Dario Marianelli|
|Edited by||Ewa J. Lind|
Far North is an independently produced film by director Asif Kapadia, based on a short story by Sara Maitland. It was screened at various film festivals in 2007 and 2008 before an American DVD release on 23 September 2008.
The film opens up with a voiceover of a woman named Saiva telling the listener that a shaman said she was cursed at birth and would bring harm to anyone she cared for. While she and a young woman named Anja are camping in a subarctic region of Siberia, in desperation, she takes one of her sled dogs and after calming it, slits its throat, foreshadowing the shaman's prophecy about her birth. She and Anja then set out to relocate their camp. On the way, they almost get caught by Soviet/Russian soldiers. Fearing the worst, Saiva ventures out with Anja into the far north to the arctic tundra, passing abandoned telephone wire trees and to the area where she believes no one would ever find them. After a long paddle north, they pitch camp on a beach, where they set up their yurt.
While sleeping in the night, Saiva has a flashback to her past among the reindeer tribes, after being shunned by her own tribe. In her flashback, she encounters a man who invites her into his tribe to help with the reindeer round-up. The two fall in love with each other, and after a time he gives her a wolf claw necklace. Going back to the present, Saiva and Anja live a harsh brutal life in the tundra hunting animals for their survival. One day while hunting alone, Saiva encounters a badly wounded man nearly frozen and starved to death. After his collapse, she tries to loot him, but the man regains consciousness briefly and asks for her help. Accepting him, Saiva brings him to the yurt and cleans his wounds.
Later the man claims the name of "Loki". The next day on a hunting trip with them, Loki asks what he can do for them in return for their kindness and Saiva asks him to bring a reindeer. After a failed seal hunt, Loki tells Saiva in their yurt that he was an escapee from soldiers that came to clear out the tundra, and that if they find him they will shoot him. He then shows them his portable hand-cranked radio, one of several clues that the story takes place in the last decades of the 20th century. Later, Loki tries to keep his promise by bringing them a reindeer. But as he is about to shoot one, he is detained by a couple of Soviet soldiers. Just as they are about to put him in their boat, he fights back and kills both of them. He then comes back with their looted supplies and gives them to Saiva and Anja. Over the next few months Loki and Anja fall in love with each other. Saiva tries to warn him about her secret, but Anja interrupts her and they hang out with each other more and more. Another flashback scene shows Saiva finding all of her tribe dead, except for the man that she fell in love with and a baby. She is captured by soldiers. One of the soldiers who slaughtered her village rapes her after slitting the man's throat. She finds the baby after that in one of the yurts, and one of the soldiers tells her to cooperate with her or he will skin the baby alive. Later when she and the soldiers were crossing a glacier, she used a knife to cut the rope, causing all of the soldiers to fall into a crevasse. She then heads out alone with the baby into the northland.
Once again going back to the present, Anja and Loki spend more and more time together during the following months. One night when Saiva is out hunting, they have intercourse. Loki eventually fulfills his promise on killing a reindeer. As their love builds up, Loki and Anja plan on leaving to go to civilization and have a family of their own. When Anja tells this to Saiva one evening, Saiva is speechless. As tension builds up Saiva's mind gets more and more worked up with depression of her daughter's leave; even when Anja asks her to come with them she is speechless. That night Loki goes out hunting. When Anja returns to the yurt, Saiva tricks Anja into combing her hair and chokes Anja to death with her own hair, in a scene reminiscent of the opening scene. She then skins Anja's face and disguises herself with it. When Loki comes back, he has sex with Saiva, assuming that she is Anja, but he then discovers Saiva's identitity. Horrified, he flees the yurt naked into the frozen tundra. The film ends with Saiva sobbing alone in her yurt. 
- "Far North". Screen Daily. Retrieved 10 October 2018.