Next to our achievement-oriented and increasingly superficial culture, there are still some places in Europe where man and beast live together in archaic harmony. For over 20 years, Hans Ulrich Schwaar, a retired writer from the Emmental region, has preferred living in the tundra of northern Finland with the Sami, who live almost exclusively on reindeer breeding. Iisakki-Matias Syväjärvi, the owner of the largest reindeer herd, was initially Schwaar’s host and has meanwhile become a friend. The Sami’s wisdom and philosophy of life is the writer’s fountain of inspiration and happiness.

The documentary accompanies both men around the year through spellbindingly beautiful landscapes. It gives us insight into everyday activities and special events of the Sami people. They live a measured life with their reindeers in harmony with nature. Quite often, there is silence rather than talk when friends get together, and nobody is bothered by it. The Sami also have a different concept of life, death, solitude, morals, and joy of life. “Näkkälä” is more than just a journey through fascinating scenery. It is the search for – and the discovery of – harmony, friendship, things one has in common, as well as tensions, contrasts and conflicts.

Filmmaker and cameraman Peter Ramseier has intertwined the committed Swiss writer’s stories with breathtaking images and a hypnotic soundtrack. “Näkkälä” is a sensuous experience capable of making us forget the frantic pace of our everyday lives for one and a half hours.

birdsnest_poster_150 Documentary, CH 2005, 88, Video, colour
Director Peter Ramseier
Original version
Swiss-German, Finnish, Samish