Pathfinder (1987) Shivering Snowy Scandinavian Survival Fable

Pathfinder (1987) Aigin (Mikkel Gaup) cover picture dvd TV

In this Norwegian, freeze your goolies off, action adventure film from director and writer Nils Gaup, we get to witness a survival tale set in the bleak frozen lands and fjords of Northern Norway, some time around 1000 AD. Pathfinder is a tale about the Sami people, a traditional reindeer herding community living in the harsh regions of the north. A peaceful people, keeping in small family groups, utilising the resources of furs, hunting and coastal fishing. With the help of their Pathfinder, a spiritual shaman, they plan their days to a beat of a small drum and mystical symbols.

Pathfinder (1987) sami people a spiritual shaman tent drum snowPathfinder (1987) shaman, Raste (Nils Utsi)

One family had broken off from the main group and set up home further down the coast. A father, mother, young daughter and a coming of age son, called Aigin (Mikkel Gaup). Unfortunately this small family is about to have visitor’s, a savage group of nomadic thugs, terrorising, murdering and pillaging. Ruthless travelers with a hunger for death and carnage. Aigin returns to witness the barbaric massacre of his family and through pure terror he finds himself caught up in a death hunt across the ice and snow.

Pathfinder (1987) Aigin (Mikkel Gaup) tentPathfinder (1987) main bad guy

Managing to lose the psychotic small army, Aigin arrives barely alive at the foot of the main camp of Sami people. A group of hunters and gatherers, certainly not battle ready men. Packing the women and children up, they all decide to travel to the mountainous coastline where a larger tribe of their people reside.

Pathfinder (1987) good guysPathfinder (1987) sami people archers hunting tracking norway

Brave Aigin elects to stay behind at the camp and challenge the crusading thugs when they arrive. Staying behind with him are three archers and the shaman, Raste (Nils Utsi). Raste is a Pathfinder, a strange mystical, wily man who see something special in the eyes of young Aigin. Raste might be old, skinny and wiry but this dude isn’t really frightened of anything. I tell you what, Leonardo DiCaprio would of loved to have had him by his side during his certain encounter on The Revenant!

Pathfinder (1987) sami people archers attack defendPathfinder (1987) bad guys

A fight and further problems are to come for this small band of men, could there be any chance of survival from such a brutal bunch of bandits? Can Aigin “find a path” to help with their dire predicament? Thankfully! we can watch from the warmth of our armchairs, though I do recommend wearing a Gakti, the traditional clothing worn by the Sámi to heighten the whole experience.

Pathfinder (1987) Mikkel Gaup Nils Gaup 1988 Oscars wiki

Director Nils Gaup and star Mikkel Gaup wearing his Gakti at 1988 Oscars

A few things I learnt.

  • The original title name in Sami is “Ofelas” and “Veiviseren” in Norwegian.
  • Was nominated for a Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988
  • The filming temperatures went down to minus 47! WTF!!

Pathfinder (1987) the remake 2007 over the top action flick

  • There was actually a remake of such in 2007. Starring Karl Urban, Clancy Brown, the awesome Russell Means and the super sexy Moon Bloodgood. In a flip to the original story, it is changed to feature Vikings and Native Americans. I don’t believe I’ve seen it (think I might be getting it confused with Outlander) and will most probably be giving it a miss!
  • Another little Norwegian 80’s gem I looked at recently was the Cold War drama Orion’s Belt

This 80’s survival action film is quite the novelty piece, feeling like a history lesson at the same time. Seeing the traditional way of life and customs mixed in with the bitterly cold, though beautiful scenes. There’s a few slapstick funny scenes to counterbalance with it’s barbaric nature. It’s plods along at a good pace and holds up pretty well to be honest.

As always thanks for popping on by and feel free to comment if you wish. Take it easy.

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