on 17 December 2005
Stumbling across this film by way of Amazon's DVD rental “if you liked that, you might want to try this…” service was a piece of marvellous serendipity; this is a gem of a film, a stunning treat on every level. If, like me, you were previously ignorant as to the existence of Julio Medem, there could be no better place to start than this, his undoubted masterpiece.
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.
on 20 October 2000
Quite why I am the first person to review this sublime piece of film making I have no idea. Amazon should have been calling a halt to an avalanche of praise by now. Why? Because this is the most beautiful film I have seen in years. And anyone who's seen it should be writing to Amazon to say so. Well, I am. So here goes. Lovers Of The Arctic circle is a tease. It's all about chance, fate, time and even circles - and yet all these intellectual conceits are woven seemlessly into a truly heartbreaking love story. If you have a beating heart, check it out. And then go and find The Red Squirrel and Tierra by the same director.
on 6 April 2007
When Dylan Thomas wrote (fragments): "The ball I threw while playing in the park has not yet reached the ground... Though lovers may be lost, love shall not, and death... shall have no dominion ... WOW! Medem's Los Amantes del Circulo Polar (Lovers of the Artic Circle) is one of the best movies ever... Chance, fate, law of attraction...everything is never as exactly as we wish...But quite often, we come to see clearly the most beautiful moments of our lives, just only when those moments have come to be the past... Lovers of the Polar Circle is a victory of the Romantic Cinema, a triumph of narrative and love. For Romantisism `s Lovers, some movies can be wached on and on, and after each time, we are left we that nice taste of an excellent wine, coffee, te or a great cigar. A list that always grows, counting: Saint Exupery "Nocturnal Fly"; Christhoper Reeve's "Somewhere in Time", Vincent Ward's "Map of the Human Heart"; Krzysztof Kieaelowski's "Three Colors", Ondataje's "The English Patient" Steven Sodeberg /Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris".To summarize the movie in a romantic manner, I wrote this little poem from Ana's perspective: "My darling, I was running madly in love looking for you, and though I never made it -to the other side- of the street, I did manage to see your face: the most beautiful image my eyes ever saw... Please look carefully into them: there You Are ... Forever!" Signed: Ana.
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
"Lovers of the Arctic Circle" is one of the best "love stories" that I have seen for some time. It follows the relationship between step-siblings (is that the correct term for two children living together who are both products of broken homes ?) Otto and Ana from when they first meet at the age of 8 until their mid-20's . Their romance and ,indeed, their lives are governed by the mysterious forces of serendipity and synchronicity. Although they are products of urban Spain, the lovers share a fascination for the Arctic Circle and their destiny is ultimately to be found there. "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" is full of sympathetic, realistic characters and the nature of love , destiny, joy and sorrow is examined elegantly by the director. However the key theme of the film is Fate, with Love a close second and the storyline relates the way the two become inextricably intertwined in the lives of the two lovers. The director also hints at the metaphysical, perhaps some kind of a supernatural force behind these synchronicities that also underpins the eternal nature of love. There is that kind of depth to the film. However it is best seen simply as a well constructed and modern love story between two slightly dysfunctional soul mates struggling their way through life's ups and downs.
on 13 February 2012
Spanish screenwriter and director Julio Medem`s fourth feature film which he wrote the screenplay for, was shot in Madrid, Spain and on different locations in Finland. It tells the story about Ana and Otto, two eight-year-old children who coincidentally encounters one another in a forest outside of their school. Otto immediately falls in love with Ana who is still missing her recently deceased father and who chooses to believe that her father has gone on living inside of Otto. Ana and Otto`s lives are strangely intertwined when Ana`s mother Olga and Otto`s father Álvaro falls in love and moves in together. Over the course of time their profound relationship grows stronger and they become lovers, but their emotional bond is disconnected when Otto becomes a pilot and begins to travel between Madrid and the Arctic Circle.
This intriguing, fast-paced and finely edited fictional tale about an affectionate, secret and close to telepathic relationship which spans over several years, is a character-driven and plot-driven metaphysical drama. Told through various perspectives which shifts between the two protagonists point-of-view and a brilliant circular narrative reminiscent of those used in the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996), this distinctly directed Spanish-French co-production draws two merging studies of character while examining themes such as coming-of-age, family relations, destiny, grief and love.
Julio Medem`s partly autobiographical story about the ambiguous nature of coincidence and love has a distinct visual style and a shifting atmosphere which is reinforced by cinematographer Gonzalo F. Berridi`s beautiful cinematography, Alberto Iglesias` score and the significant use of sound. This geometric and romantic journey through the circumstantial lives of two destined lovers is a compassionately written drama with empathic and engaging acting performances by Spanish actor Najwa Nimri and Spanish actress Fele Martínez. A very moving and memorable love story which gained, among several other awards, the Turia Award for Best Spanish film at the Turia Awards in 1999 and the Audience Award at the Athens International Film Festival in 2000.
on 24 March 2008
Eight years old Otto (Peru Medem), is playing with a ball one day after school in the playground, and the ball gets away and into the woods, Otto chases after it, and meets Ana (Sara Valiente). He feels in love with her, and then the story goes back in a flashback to show how Ana got there in the first place. This is the in first of the many chance meetings these two.
Ana's father has passed away, and she runs away, and gets lost in the woods, and meets Otto, in her eys she thinks this is the her late father back from the dead, as a little boy. Then in one of these coincidences, Otto throws paper airplanes, and Ana picks one of up, and gives it to her mother, telling her it is from "that man" which is Otto's father. Otto's parents are dirvoced, and Ana's Mother is widowed. And then they meet and fall in love, and then Otto and Ana becomes step-brother and sister, and then lovers as teenagers. Then as adults they become separated, when one of thier step-parents dies, and Otto finds himself gulity of it, and runs away, and ............. well let's just say I will not give it away for you, ..........I urge you to watch this movie.
This film requires that you surrender any notions of the feasibility of the actual plot, but it is nonetheless an enchanting tale. If you enjoyed "Sliding Doors" or if you believe in fate, you'll particularly enjoy this. The film is beautiful, with indelible images that still haunted my memory months after I first saw this film.
The end (and, in appropriate "circular" fashion, the beginning) will leave you mystified and breathless.
Deep and dramatic but dotted with hilarious comedy (unless I got it wrong - but actual "uphill ski-ing"?) 'Lovers of the Arctic Circle' is an intriguing story that catches your heart as you become an observer of people being magnetically drawn together and then bounced apart. Happenstance and co-incidence are magnified by buckets making a beautiful symmetry of half a dozen or so lives. All entwined and meshed together with poignant loss and sadness as the warp and weft. This film is not heavy on dialogue, what there is being spoken in Spanish with subtitles but they do speak in English too, when in Finland anyway. The destiny of the young couple is clear from the first eye contact; for the cleverest of reasons, thoughts of reincarnation, the gift of another chance to communicate. Still it is those moments of laughter and the smiles that I will take away from it, the underlying current of hilarity that felt so human, so true and so affecting. Whichever angle, through whose eyes you choose to see, what you believe to be the real story will be satisfying; I am really pleased to have seen it.
on 4 October 2004
I bought this based on Amazon reviews & I have no regrets. Julio Mendem is a mind teaser & as a director/producer he is one of the best movie makers. A love story of love, abandoned feelings, unfulfilled desires.The most painful ending & the director make us believe the lovers of the Artic Cycle will find each other. Do they find each other? You just cant help but direct the movie yourself as u watch it hoping & praying for the lovers until the happy sad ending. Without giving the plot away this is one good movie I have seen yet.Two siblings who are brother & sister but not within prohibited blood consanguinity? yes they part for various reasons & by mishaps & fate they keep missing each other until the very last moment.Its one of the compelling movies U have to own in your collection if u love good love stories not the usually "happily lived everafter" stories our grand mothers read to us in bed when we were kids.
on 22 September 2012
As a Spanish teacher I share this film, among others, with my students (be aware of the age restriction). However, it should have Spanish subtitles...otherwise you only focus on the scripts and miss out the audio...I find it a big mistake.
on 29 June 2009
Soulful loner Fele Martinez irresistibly drawn towards grave young beauty Najwa Nimri in an intensely romantic circle-of-life tragi-comedy from Spanish film-maker Julio Medem, director of The Red Squirrel. The sumptuous visuals and outrageous plotting evoke memories of Vincent Ward's Map of the Human Heart, and there are Euro-chic elements of Almodovar and Claude Lelouch in the way the story veers between wilful caprice and coincidence. This type of bitterweet fare is an acquired taste, but Medem seems to have mastered the medium.