Drama / Romance
22 January, 1999
In The Lovers of the Arctic Circle, Julio Medem weaves a complex story, dense with plot, symbol, and allegory, about the romance between Ana and Otto. Shot with keen visual sensitivity, Lovers is a film of strongly composed images and elaborately crafted structure which explores the themes of chance and destiny. Alternately told by one of the main characters, then the other, it opens when Otto, chasing a loose soccer ball, encounters Ana. Their eyes lock in silent fascination. Soon Otto declares his love with a message launched by paper airplane into the courtyard of their elementary school. Thus begins the convoluted story of their lives. Otto's father divorces; while waiting for his son at school, he notices Ana's mother. They fall in love, move in together, and Ana and Otto are raised as brother and sister. As they mature, their school yard romance changes, and this time it is Ana who takes the lead, crushing a note into Otto's hand: "Tonight I wait for you; be brave." When Otto's mother dies unexpectedly, he is plunged into suicidal despair. Literally taking flight, he becomes a courier pilot between Spain and Finland. Abandoned, Ana longs for Otto, but as time passes, she constructs a new life. The many plot lines of Lovers, already crossed and tangled, coil and draw together as the film reaches its climax. This inspired, multilayered film, with its deep exploration of character, arresting photography, and haunting sound track, challenges viewers and leaves them with a long-lasting impression.