Midnight Son
Lovers of the Arctic Circle
Review by Ross Anthony

Now here's a movie with lots of elements that I like. An attractive plot: a tender love story budding from the hearts of two very complex eight-year olds that continues into adulthood. More than one rich motif: the pattern of circles (in one's life) and the repeated symbol of airplanes. These motifs are artistically woven into the quilt-like fabric of the film. And then the casting: since the story follows Ana and Otto as they grow, three separate characters are needed for each lead. For the most part, these faces are very well cast. Child Ana, and adolescent Ana, are shockingly beautiful; but all (for the most part) give strong performances.

I also share a fascination with the Arctic Circle. Though you should know, only a small portion of this film takes place in that region. And then there's the texture. Foreign films seem especially attuned to reproducing a very porous image on the screen. I appreciate that. "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" is no exception -- it's a picture you can feel with your eyes.

But ... I didn't quite get it (for reasons I can't reveal without spoiling a few good twists). It was certainly beautiful, but dark. Like an abstract painting that draws you in by virtue of it's wonderful shapes and patterns, only to leave you feeling trapped in its dark tragic colors. You're mesmerized somehow, then the museum lights flicker at closing time leaving you with the feeling of confusion and an odd sense of extraction from real life for an extraordinary long amount of time.

On the other hand, if you're a lover of dark abstract art, you might just be a lover of the Arctic Circle.

One last point ... Warning... don't read this if you haven't seen the movie. Near the end, as Ana walks into Finnish Otto's apartment for the guest, why can't it be her father that she finds?

Spanish Language with English subtitles.
Starring Fele Martinez and Najwa Nimri.
Written and Directed by Julio Medem.
Produced by Fernando Bovaria and Enrique Lopez Lavigne.
Presented by Fine Line Features.
Rated R.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:05:14 PDT