Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
Norwegian director Nils Gaup takes the helm for this sweeping Nordic epic tracing the struggle of the indigenous Sami people against the Swedish exploiters who reap the profits of their misery and desperation. Swedish entrepreneur Ruth (Mikael Persbrandt) is the proprietor of a Kautokeino trading post that also doubles as a popular pub. It's one of the few places that the semi-nomadic Sami can go to purchase essential living supplies and knock back a few drinks. The situation gets complicated when alcoholism begins to run rampant among the Sami men, the reindeer herds are neglected, and the women prove incapable of taking on the responsibility due to their depleted numbers. Enraged by her people's indifference and disturbed by her husband Mathis (Aslat Mahtte Gaup)' constant state of drunkenness, obstinate Sami Elen (Anni-Kristiina Juuso) determines to invoke a positive change by encouraging her husband and neighbors to purchase their supplies from the neighboring town of Karesuando. Once there, the group is taken by the fire and brimstone sermons of charismatic preacher Laestadius (Michael Nyqvist), who condemns the sins of alcohol and vice. Their eyes suddenly opened, Mathis vows to put down the bottle and Elen begins preaching Laestadius' word around Kautokeino. As a result, Ruth's business suffers and a new pastor arrives in town to quell the dissent. This development doesn't sit too well with the outspoken Elen, who gathers the rest of the Sami and leads the march to Ruth's to settle the matter once and for all.