Lovers Of The Arctic Circle [DVD] 
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Julio Medem's romantic drama charts the crossing paths of Otto and Ana, two lovers who meet at the age of eight and remain inextricably linked from that moment on. As their relationship develops through the years, they find themselves drawn to the mysteries of Finland's hinterland - which stretches right into the Arctic Circle.
Basque director Julio Medem makes films like no one else's. Quirky, audacious, visually startling, they play teasing games with themes of doubling and fate. Symbolism runs riot, ironies abound, narratives stop dead to focus on seemingly absurd details--and in fact the whole shebang would risk being terminally pretentious were it not for Medem's subversive humour, inviting us into the joke and daring us to take him seriously.
Lovers of the Arctic Circle is typical of his idiosyncratic brand of free-wheeling fantasy. In Madrid, two foster-siblings grow up to find themselves gripped by irresistible, quasi-incestuous passion. Flashbacks reaching back to the Spanish Civil War show us how their destinies, those of the parents, and of their parents' lovers, have become entwined. The siblings are parted by circumstance, but seek each other out in Finland's Arctic north. Medem plays sleight-of-hand with doublings and wordplay, cutting deftly between the past, present and future, constantly challenging us to guess where he's heading next in the circling convolutions of his plot. --Philip Kemp --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The story is told in a series of overlapping vignettes, mostly from the viewpoints of the two central lovers who meet aged eight and never fall out of love. Their story, and that of their families, becomes impossibly entwined and entangled in a world where fantastic coincidence is the norm; where everything seems to fated. The plot is unique and, as the Gods play with the pieces, Medem turns the screw and the tension becomes totally gripping.
Although a dark tale, the directorial style - typically whimsical and full of humour and delightful detail - stops things from ever becoming mawkish or sentimental. Fele Martínez is charming as the adult Otto - as are the actors portraying the younger version - but the film is stolen by Najwa Nimri (Anna) whose expressive eyes (close-ups of which the story begins and ends) render the subtitles almost superfluous. This is a film to buy, not to rent; second and third viewings are better - the harder you look to more you see.
Bravisimo Doctor Medem! If this movie is ever re-mastered, I believe the inclusion of the song -same title as the movie- of "La Oreja de Van Gogh" would be a deep magic touch mixed with the original soundtrack, when the credits appear on screen.
By jorge escolan-suay. Vancouver, Canada
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