Lovers of the Arctic Circle


1h 52m 1998

Brief Synopsis

Ana and Otto are brought together as children when Ana's mother Olga and Otto's father Alvaro meet and fall in love. The two form a strong friendship, and Otto moves in with his father's new family, even though he's promised his divorced mother that he'll never abandon her. As the two mature, their

Film Details

Also Known As
Les Amants du cercle polaire, Los Amantes del Circulo Polar, amants du cercle polaire
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1998
Production Company
Canal Plus Espana; Le Studio Canal Plus; Le Studio Canal Plus; Sogepaq S.A.; StudioCanal; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE ENTERTAINMENT/FINE LINE/FINE LINE FEATURES; Alliance Entertainment; Alliance Entertainment; BBC (Main Listing); Bbc Films; Cinemien; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Fine Line Features; Metro Tartan Distributors; Quality Films; Triangelfilm; United King Films
Location
Finland; Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m

Synopsis

Ana and Otto are brought together as children when Ana's mother Olga and Otto's father Alvaro meet and fall in love. The two form a strong friendship, and Otto moves in with his father's new family, even though he's promised his divorced mother that he'll never abandon her. As the two mature, their relationship becomes sexual, their first encounter taking place over a geography book open to the arctic circle. But when Otto's mother dies, he's devastated, thinking that it is his fault for having abandoned her in favor of Ana. The story is narrated in a non-linear manner, with events occurring twice, from each character's point of view.

Crew

Heikki Ahonius

Production Coordinator (Finland)

Ivan Aledo

Editor

Polo Aledo

Sound Editor

Ana Amigo

Production (Sogetel)

Itziar Arrieta

Hairdresser

Itziar Arrieta

Production Designer

Lola Barrera

Other

Jose Antonio Bermudez

Other

Gonzalo Fernadez Berridi

Director Of Photography

Emma Bertran

3rd Assistant Director (Spain)

Sara Bilbatua

Casting

Fernando Bovaira

Producer

Pilar Cienfuegos

Digital Effects

Manuel Corrales

Other

Jose Luis Crespo

Music Recordist/Mixer

Fernando De Garcillan

Executive Producer

George De Godzinsky

Song ("Sinitivas")

Isaac De La Pompa

Digital Effects

Fernando Victoria De Lecca

Production Manager

Molina Efectos

Special Effects (Spain)

Akke Eklund

Production Supervisor (Finlnad)

Angel Garcia

Unit Manager (Spain)

Lucio Godoy

Music Producer

Susana Gonzalez

2nd Assistant Director (Spain)

Nacho Gutierrez

Assistant Director (Spain Snow)

Petri Heino

Location Manager (Finland)

Klaus Heydemann

Production Manager (Finland)

Satur Idarreta

Art Director

Satur Idarreta

Production Designer

Alberto Iglesias

Music

Lauri Jauhiainen

Song ("Sinitivas")

Dulce Juanita

Sound Editor (Spain)

Mario Klemens

Orchestra Director

Mats Kuhlefelt

Assistant Director (Finland)

Enrique Lopez Lavigne

Producer

Txarli Llorente

Executive Producer

Chema Marcos

Digital Effects

Iván Marín

Direct Sound

Estibaliz Markiegui

Production Designer

Estibaliz Markiegui

Costumes

Monica Martinez Chapero-jackson

Production (Sogetel)

Miryann Mateos

Production (Sogetel)

Julio Medem

Screenwriter

Victor Merlo

Bass

Mario Montero

2nd Camera Operator (Spain)

Alfonso Nieto

Digital Effects

Jan Nyman

2nd Camera Operator (2nd Unit) (-Spain)

Montose Ordorica

Script Supervisor (Spain)

Rea Pihlasvitta

Production Manager (Finland)

Josef Rixner

Song ("Sinitivas")

Rauno Ronkainen

2nd Camera Operator (Finland)

Carmen Sanchez

Production Supervisor (Spain)

Montse Sanz

Art Director

Karmele Soler

Makeup

Karmele Soler

Production Designer

Maarit Suomi

2nd Camera Operator (Finland)

Tiina Tuovinen

Unit Manager (Finland)

Jukka Uusitalo

Set Decorator (Finland)

Olavi Virta

Song Performer ("Sinitivas")

Antxon Zabala

1st Assistant Director (Spain)

Film Details

Also Known As
Les Amants du cercle polaire, Los Amantes del Circulo Polar, amants du cercle polaire
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1998
Production Company
Canal Plus Espana; Le Studio Canal Plus; Le Studio Canal Plus; Sogepaq S.A.; StudioCanal; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE ENTERTAINMENT/FINE LINE/FINE LINE FEATURES; Alliance Entertainment; Alliance Entertainment; BBC (Main Listing); Bbc Films; Cinemien; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Fine Line Features; Metro Tartan Distributors; Quality Films; Triangelfilm; United King Films
Location
Finland; Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m

Articles

Lovers of the Arctic Circle on DVD


Spanish filmmaking is alive and well, judging by the post- Almodóvar riches of titles like El Crimen Ferpecto (sic), Platillos Voladores and The Stone Raft (La balsa de piedra. All have a fresh outlook on life laced with a sense of the fantastic. The visual design and technical specs in these Spanish films are the equal of work done anywhere. Frankly, some of these Spanish films are more entertaining than new American product.

Julio Medem's Lovers of the Arctic Circle exhibits the kind of creativity that American independent productions seek but rarely achieve. A strange love story told in circular, overlapping narratives, it follows a fated pair of children through a series of bizarre romantic coincidences. Unfortunately, the universe of Ana and Otto sends as many harbingers of doom as it does promises of harmony. We sometimes can't tell if we're watching a romantic comedy or a cruel tragedy -- the one consistent rule seems to be that Love is never permanent.

Synopsis: The father of young Ana (as an adult, Najwa Nimri) is killed and the parents of young Otto (as an adult, Fele Martínez) break up. When his father and her mother get together, Ana and Otto find that they are an instant brother and sister. As teens the children become secret lovers but are always made aware of the pain of broken hearts and separation. Otto runs away after his mother's death and becomes a mail service pilot on a Scandinavian route. Meanwhile, their surviving parents break up. Ana's mother joins with a Finnish man linked to Otto's family by an almost legendary incident from the Spanish Civil War. Ana and Otto are separated, but bonded by an uncanny pattern of coincidence. Those little miracles are countered by an equally frustrating series of events that almost bring them together across time and great distance ... almost, but not quite.

Julio Medem is an interesting Basque film director who broke through the international barrier with this film and the 2001 hit Lucí y el sexo. Lovers of the Arctic Circle is difficult to describe, even though in many ways it's a conventional romance. In the cold North of Spain we meet children dealing with a family tragedy. Ana imagines that the little boy who chases after her in the park has inherited her dead father's soul; when the same boy turns out to be her new 'mystery brother' Otto, she naturally concludes that a magical fate is at work. The fact that the names Ana and Otto are both palindromes cinches the deal for the perceptive young girl: They belong together.

That's just the opening mystery in a series of riddles. Initially meaningless shots of a young pilot flying over forests and lakes later turn out to be flash-forwards to the third act of the story. Many crucial events are seen twice, from both Ana's viewpoint and Otto's perspective, and are helpfully labeled with titles.

Unfortunately, as childhood dreamers Ana and Otto seek a magical life, the harsh facts of reality work against them. Otto loves his sweet mother (Beate Jensen) and resents his father Álvaro (Nancho Novo) for leaving her. Ana never really understands her mother Olga (Maru Valivielso) but grows up sharing some of her habits, moving from man to man as the spirit takes her. Otto's father eventually splits with both Olga and Otto over another tragedy and winds up alone and miserable, unable to work because of a nervous disorder.

Meanwhile, Otto runs away to become the lone pilot seen over the northern forests. Lovers of the Arctic Circle plays with frustration when the fated lovers, inwardly desperate for each other, narrowly miss meeting in a public square. Both rush to a final reconciliation on the shore of a beautiful Finnish lake, a reunion fated by history: Otto got his non-Spanish name because a German Luftwaffe pilot named Otto bailed out during the 1937 raid on Guernica and was rescued by Otto's grandfather. Ana's mother's new love is a Finn oddly named Álvaro. His father is the original German Otto, who ran away to Finland after his Spanish experience. When Ana is asked if she wants to spend the summer in "old Otto's" cabin in Finland, she figures it's another sign from the fates...

Julio Medem's direction points out these wild coincidences as they occur, which prevents us from reacting negatively; like the lovers' names, almost everything is an odd circle -- except the midnight sun in Finland, which instead of setting moves horizontal to the horizon. The movie's wildly romantic nature may frustrate viewers expecting a happier ending. Actually, there are two conflicting endings but we don't feel as if we're being invited to choose between them. What the movie most closely resembles is a more complex version of the classic 1934 Henry Hathaway film Peter Ibbetson. It stars Gary Cooper and is about similar "fated" childhood sweethearts. They are cruelly separated as adults but manage to live a lifetime of love together through surreal shared dreams. The specifics are different, but Lovers of the Arctic Circle shares the notion of lovers trying to "will" a magical interpretation of life.

Ana and Otto are played by three sets of actors that blend together beautifully as they grow. Some viewers will find the teenage years disturbing, as the "brother and sister" carry on an illicit carnal relationship under the noses of their parents -- technically it isn't incest, but it's definitely an unhealthy development.

Director Medem plays these strange happenings in a distinctive, personal filming style. Unlike so many American independents, Medem's "look" isn't beholden to Tarantino or Andersons Wes or Thomas Paul; neither is it an Almodóvar knockoff. Viewers that love romance and can take some odd emotional turns of fate, may consider Lovers of the Arctic Circle a major discovery.

Home Vision Entertainment adds to its list of quality foreign films with Lovers of the Arctic Circle. The spotless enhanced widescreen transfer is richly colored and helps to trigger our alarm when, in another disturbing pattern of coincidence, characters are repeatedly menaced by red buses. Alberto Iglesias' music is showcased on the strong audio track.

The only extra is a trailer that does not let us know how popular Lovers of the Arctic Circle was in Europe. It's still being called Julio Medem's best film.

For more information about Lovers of the Arctic Circle, visit Image Entertainment. To order Lovers of the Arctic Circle, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson
Lovers Of The Arctic Circle On Dvd

Lovers of the Arctic Circle on DVD

Spanish filmmaking is alive and well, judging by the post- Almodóvar riches of titles like El Crimen Ferpecto (sic), Platillos Voladores and The Stone Raft (La balsa de piedra. All have a fresh outlook on life laced with a sense of the fantastic. The visual design and technical specs in these Spanish films are the equal of work done anywhere. Frankly, some of these Spanish films are more entertaining than new American product. Julio Medem's Lovers of the Arctic Circle exhibits the kind of creativity that American independent productions seek but rarely achieve. A strange love story told in circular, overlapping narratives, it follows a fated pair of children through a series of bizarre romantic coincidences. Unfortunately, the universe of Ana and Otto sends as many harbingers of doom as it does promises of harmony. We sometimes can't tell if we're watching a romantic comedy or a cruel tragedy -- the one consistent rule seems to be that Love is never permanent. Synopsis: The father of young Ana (as an adult, Najwa Nimri) is killed and the parents of young Otto (as an adult, Fele Martínez) break up. When his father and her mother get together, Ana and Otto find that they are an instant brother and sister. As teens the children become secret lovers but are always made aware of the pain of broken hearts and separation. Otto runs away after his mother's death and becomes a mail service pilot on a Scandinavian route. Meanwhile, their surviving parents break up. Ana's mother joins with a Finnish man linked to Otto's family by an almost legendary incident from the Spanish Civil War. Ana and Otto are separated, but bonded by an uncanny pattern of coincidence. Those little miracles are countered by an equally frustrating series of events that almost bring them together across time and great distance ... almost, but not quite. Julio Medem is an interesting Basque film director who broke through the international barrier with this film and the 2001 hit Lucí y el sexo. Lovers of the Arctic Circle is difficult to describe, even though in many ways it's a conventional romance. In the cold North of Spain we meet children dealing with a family tragedy. Ana imagines that the little boy who chases after her in the park has inherited her dead father's soul; when the same boy turns out to be her new 'mystery brother' Otto, she naturally concludes that a magical fate is at work. The fact that the names Ana and Otto are both palindromes cinches the deal for the perceptive young girl: They belong together. That's just the opening mystery in a series of riddles. Initially meaningless shots of a young pilot flying over forests and lakes later turn out to be flash-forwards to the third act of the story. Many crucial events are seen twice, from both Ana's viewpoint and Otto's perspective, and are helpfully labeled with titles. Unfortunately, as childhood dreamers Ana and Otto seek a magical life, the harsh facts of reality work against them. Otto loves his sweet mother (Beate Jensen) and resents his father Álvaro (Nancho Novo) for leaving her. Ana never really understands her mother Olga (Maru Valivielso) but grows up sharing some of her habits, moving from man to man as the spirit takes her. Otto's father eventually splits with both Olga and Otto over another tragedy and winds up alone and miserable, unable to work because of a nervous disorder. Meanwhile, Otto runs away to become the lone pilot seen over the northern forests. Lovers of the Arctic Circle plays with frustration when the fated lovers, inwardly desperate for each other, narrowly miss meeting in a public square. Both rush to a final reconciliation on the shore of a beautiful Finnish lake, a reunion fated by history: Otto got his non-Spanish name because a German Luftwaffe pilot named Otto bailed out during the 1937 raid on Guernica and was rescued by Otto's grandfather. Ana's mother's new love is a Finn oddly named Álvaro. His father is the original German Otto, who ran away to Finland after his Spanish experience. When Ana is asked if she wants to spend the summer in "old Otto's" cabin in Finland, she figures it's another sign from the fates... Julio Medem's direction points out these wild coincidences as they occur, which prevents us from reacting negatively; like the lovers' names, almost everything is an odd circle -- except the midnight sun in Finland, which instead of setting moves horizontal to the horizon. The movie's wildly romantic nature may frustrate viewers expecting a happier ending. Actually, there are two conflicting endings but we don't feel as if we're being invited to choose between them. What the movie most closely resembles is a more complex version of the classic 1934 Henry Hathaway film Peter Ibbetson. It stars Gary Cooper and is about similar "fated" childhood sweethearts. They are cruelly separated as adults but manage to live a lifetime of love together through surreal shared dreams. The specifics are different, but Lovers of the Arctic Circle shares the notion of lovers trying to "will" a magical interpretation of life. Ana and Otto are played by three sets of actors that blend together beautifully as they grow. Some viewers will find the teenage years disturbing, as the "brother and sister" carry on an illicit carnal relationship under the noses of their parents -- technically it isn't incest, but it's definitely an unhealthy development. Director Medem plays these strange happenings in a distinctive, personal filming style. Unlike so many American independents, Medem's "look" isn't beholden to Tarantino or Andersons Wes or Thomas Paul; neither is it an Almodóvar knockoff. Viewers that love romance and can take some odd emotional turns of fate, may consider Lovers of the Arctic Circle a major discovery. Home Vision Entertainment adds to its list of quality foreign films with Lovers of the Arctic Circle. The spotless enhanced widescreen transfer is richly colored and helps to trigger our alarm when, in another disturbing pattern of coincidence, characters are repeatedly menaced by red buses. Alberto Iglesias' music is showcased on the strong audio track. The only extra is a trailer that does not let us know how popular Lovers of the Arctic Circle was in Europe. It's still being called Julio Medem's best film. For more information about Lovers of the Arctic Circle, visit Image Entertainment. To order Lovers of the Arctic Circle, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of two 1998 Goya awards, including Best Original Score and Best Editing.

Released in United States Spring April 9, 1999

Released in United States April 23, 1999

Released in United States on Video April 25, 2006

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States 1999

Released in United States January 1999

Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 26 - September 8, 1998.

Shown at New Directors/New Films in New York City March 26 - April 11, 1999.

Shown at Seattle International Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema) May 13 - June 6, 1999.

Released in United States Spring April 9, 1999 (NY)

Released in United States April 23, 1999 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video April 25, 2006

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 26 - September 8, 1998.)

Released in United States 1999 (Shown at New Directors/New Films in New York City March 26 - April 11, 1999.)

Released in United States 1999 (Shown at Seattle International Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema) May 13 - June 6, 1999.)

Released in United States January 1999 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema) in Park City, Utah January 21-31, 1999.)