Anerca, Breath of Life

Anerca, elämän hengitys

Impact | Insights

Presenting a panoramic view of the numerous Indigenous peoples of the Arctic Circle, each with their own daily customs, habits, histories and struggles, the father-son filmmaking team of Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio adopt an array of visual styles as diverse and complex as their subjects.

One by one, each people’s artistic heritages, modern political realities, and connection to the land are illustrated by dreams, oral histories, performances, ceremonies, and hunting practices, and a complex tension emerges between centuries-old ways of life and the current hegemony.

"Lyrical… Not so much a documentary as an attempt to connect with the soul of each of the cultures it visits… Through the art, dance and music of, among others, the Yupik of Alaska, the Haida of Canada, the Selkups, Nenets and Nganasans of Russia and the Sami of Scandinavia, the film pieces together an account of peoples connected physically and spiritually to the land, who don’t do so well when the attachment is broken." - Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

Most Innovative Feature, Visions du Réel 20

North American premiere
Director Icon Director
Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio
Producer Markku Lehmuskallio
Screenwriter Markku Lehmuskallio, Johannes Lehmuskallio
Cinematographer Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio
Editor Markku Lehmuskallio, Johannes Lehmuskallio
Music Akkalu, Henryk Córecki, Kristiina Ilmonen, Anna-Kaisa Liedes, Meredith Monk, Sainkho Namtchylak, Arvo Pärt, Matti Raivio, Timo Väänänen
Production Company Giron Filmi
Source The Finnish Film Foundation
Finland 2020 87 min. Finnish, Swedish, Sámi, Tlingit, Yupik, Inuit, Nenets, Selkup, Chukchi with English subtitles Trailer | Review


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Lehmuskallio, Johannes headshot

Director – Johannes Lehmuskallio

Born 1973, cinematographer and now co-director Johannes Lehmuskallio started his career in film as an actor. Later he has worked as a camera assistant, sound recordist and still photographer, and has designed film posters and brochures. After holding his own photography exhibitions and shooting commercials, music videos and short films, Lehmuskallio has found success on the festival circuit as a cinematographer. He previously collaborated with his parents as a co-director on the feature documentary Pyha (2017).

Lehmuskallio, Markku headshot

Director – Markku Lehmuskallio

Finnish director/cinematographer/editor Markku Lehmuskallio has been making films about Indigenous lives, art and music since the 1980s, sometimes with his partner Anastasia Lapsui, a Nenets indigenous person, and now with his son, Johannes. Lehmuskallio lived 5 years in the Russian tundra with the nomad people. His work has regularly been acclaimed at the Finnish Jussi awards.