The White Reindeer

Year: 1952Certificate: pg

Erik Blomberg
Mirjami Kuosmanen
Running Time:
68 mins
English Subtitles:
Country of Origin:
Drama, Film, Horror

The directorial debut of Finnish cinematographer Erik Blomberg, The White Reindeer is one of world cinema’s criminally under-seen masterpieces. A vampiric fairy-tale set amongst the starkly beautiful fells of Finnish Lapland, Blomberg combines an almost documentary filming style with avant-garde experimentation to produce a dreamy art-house horror film without compare.

A newly-married young woman, Pirita (Mirjami Kuosmanen), becomes frustrated and lonely as her husband, a reindeer herder for a small Arctic village, spends much of his time away from home in devotion to his work. Desperate for affection, she visits a shaman who offers a potion that makes her an irresistible object of desire, but there is a terrible cost. Pirita becomes a bloodthirsty shapeshifter who lures men out into the barren wilderness where she consumes them.

With its portrayals of gender inequality, societal pressures and sexual anxiety (represented through animal transformation, echoes of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People…), The White Reindeer is a timeless classic that deserves to be rediscovered and recognised as a defining film in the horror and fantasy genres. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film from a new 4K restoration for the first time ever in the UK.

Screening THE WHITE REINDEER as part of the BFI's In Dreams Are Monsters season? Take a look at these programming notes provided by the BFI FAN Young Consultants here. The Young Consultants are a 9 strong group of under 20 year olds working in Film Exhibition across the UK who’ve been brought together to represent and provide an authentic youth voice for the Network.

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