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4.6 out of 5 stars
24
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 22 November 2016
My first thought as I pressed Play on this DVD was, “I should have refilled my mulled wine glass.” My second was, “Is this really going to be two hours of staring at a reindeer’s arse?” Well, yes and no. You may not remember, for I am old, that you used to get DVD’s, back in the early days of the technology, that were tropical fish in an aquarium or a burning log fire – this film is kind of like that but much better, as long as you are in the right mood for it. Yes, for two hours you follow a reindeer sleigh through the wondrous landscape of northern Norway, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, but it’s only as boring as you make it. The views, in the twilight of a winter day when the sun doesn’t lift above the horizon, are stunning – the colours in the sky, the reflections of well worn tracks and the contrasts between trees and snow are amazing. You see them from the viewpoint of sitting in the sleigh, but also looking behind the sleigh and some amazing aerial shots taken by a drone from high above. There’s always little bits and pieces to watch too – skiers going past, nomads randomly sitting beside the fire boxes that light the edge of the snowy road, somebody ice fishing with a reindeer antler and so on. And there are very interesting factoids that appear in the landscape as if from nowhere, like the very descriptive words that the Sami, the indigenous people of the area, have for reindeer and snow, the fact that the forest there completely circles the earth and has a third of all the trees on the planet and that domesticated reindeer have to wear bells because their horns don’t work (OK, I may have made that last bit up, but it does tell you why they wear bells).

The best thing for me though was that there was no intrusive narration or incidental music, which would only have spoiled the restful, almost hypnotic, shoosh of the sleigh runners and the steady rhythmic crunch of reindeer feet on snow (I have a new fascination for reindeer feet now by the way – watch and see) punctuated by little side conversations between the sleigh handlers and the passers-by, conversations that you didn’t need to understand, it was just another layer of sound to lull you.

And of course they save the very best, to my mind, until last, as night falls. The universe is truly an amazing thing.

So forget the fact that this is being hyped as just a Christmassy thing, this DVD is about as far as you can get from the loud, brash, tinsel filled, faked joy of commercialised tat that the festive season has become for so many. This taps in to something much older, more mystical, more basic in human nature. This will be two hours that you can spend reconnecting with the true spirit of the season and, for once, that’s not at the bottom of a mulled wine glass.
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on 14 December 2016
Certainly grows on you as the film progresses! The unexpected little clouds of interpretive information are timely and enhance one's appreciation of this slow-paced ride. A thoroughly satisfying trip through an enchanting cultural and natural environment I may never get to visit in-person. Wanted to reach right into the wintery scene and pet my favorite reindeer.... good boy, good girl. Here in Alaska even my cats watched it. Not like anything else I've seen. Pure delight!
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on 5 November 2016
I watched this a Christmas 2015......
If you think watching a film with no sound would be boring....Your Wrong!!
This was the most beautifully shot piece of camerawork I have ever see...... and the silence was son peaceful and calming..... I'm buying the product as a gift to the elderly care home where my daughter works......
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on 13 December 2016
Who'd have thought a 2 hour film with no noise, music or presentation would be so wonderful. Just immerse yourself in this atmospheric, cosy and literally chilled production. A must watch after a stressful day.
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on 30 December 2016
This is wonderful. The scandinavians call it Hygge, but if you batten down the hatches, grab a mug of joy chocolate (shot of Baileys optional), and snuggle up on the sofa with this you'll be transported to a Barnes-like state of dreamy loveliness. Recommended for anyone, especially those who like mindfulness things. And reindeer.
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on 5 December 2016
This is a masterpiece of photography and imagery. Pure unadulterated viewing. Cuddle up with a hot chocolate/tea and enjoy the magical landscape unfolding in front of you. I have been waiting all year for this to be released on DVD! The ultimate pleasure for a lazy day or night in.
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on 26 December 2016
I've not actually bought the DVD (yet), but from watching it on the BBC can confirm how wonderful it is. It's the polar opposite of much of modern programming, allowing one to meditate as with good music, rather than being a competition as to how many separate images can be crammed into each second of viewing. As to the physical media, some others have commented on their disappointment that there is no blu-ray disc, only a DVD, which has taken nearly a year to come out. And is there surround sound? Again the BBC seems to lag behind the times. A 4K blu-ray with 7.1 surround sound would have been brilliant. However, on content alone I am bound to give this five stars.
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on 27 December 2016
I watched this beautiful programme last year and this year. In the mad Christmas rush it was so relaxing and calming. The two young Sami women, Charlotte and Anne Louise, took us on a magical sleigh ride through a hushed winter landscape. The fact that it was a real time experience added to the magic. To provide overhead shots of the journey drones were used. BBC, please make this two hour film a Christmas tradition!
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on 14 December 2016
I thought this was the best programme on television last Christmas and still have it on my PVR. The problem with this product however, as with many BBC releases, is that the programme was broadcast in HD and what we have here is a DVD.
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on 21 December 2016
Wonderful programme! But a DVD is not the right way to show the beautiful scenery we have here. The picture quality simply is not good enough. This should really have been released in the Blu-Ray format! Where is the Blu-Ray???
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