The River, My Friend
(ÄLVEN MIN VÄN)

Hannah Ambühl
Sweden, Switzerland 2018 | 46 min | engl. subtitled
Tue, 28-May-19 04:30 PM
Q&A with: Hannah Ambühl

The Lule River flows through a part of Sweden that has been pop­u­lat­ed pri­mar­i­ly by the Sami people for thou­sands of years. The 15 dams that make indus­tri­al use of the Lule pos­si­ble today are owned by the state energy com­pa­ny Vat­ten­fall. In order to build these dams, many Sami, who tra­di­tion­al­ly live from rein­deer herd­ing, were forcibly reset­tled. This is a story of loss: with the reset­tle­ment, more and more ances­tral Sami cus­toms have dis­ap­peared. What remains is their deep emo­tion­al bond with water, as shown in ÄLVEN MIN VÄN, which is a por­trait of four Sami women. “Every day, the river flows through me, look­ing for mem­o­ries,” says sto­ry­book writer Eva Stina San­dling. In won­der­ful images, direc­tor Hannah Ambühl cap­tures these mem­o­ries and the deep con­nec­tion of the women with the Lule River. At the same time, the film doc­u­ments the women’s chang­ing lives and tra­di­tions, as well as their last­ing feel­ings of belong­ing to Sami cul­ture.