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Frozen 2 thrills Sami people in Northern Europe

OSLO - The sequel to The Walt Disney Co.’s 2013 hit animated musical Frozen is generating excitement among the indigenous Sami people in northern Europe, whose culture the movie has taken inspiration from.

Norway inspired many elements of the first film, such as character Anna’s dress or the architecture of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle.

The second film takes inspiration from the culture of the Sami, an indigenous minority living across Norway, Sweden, Finland and northern Russia, who have faced discrimination against their language and culture.

In Norway, a state-appointed truth and reconciliation commission is investigating the discrimination perpetrated on minorities including the Sami and Kven peoples.

Frozen 2, which has grossed US$742 million (S$1b) worldwide, opens in Norway on Christmas Day.

“I am planning to see the movie again with my whole family,” said Aili Keskitalo, president of the consultative Sami Parliament in Norway, who attended the sequel’s world premiere in Los Angeles in November with her 11-year-old daughter and set a scene from the movie as her Facebook profile picture.

Frozen 2 sees Anna (Kristen Bell) and sister Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) head north of Arendelle, into an enchanted forest, to find out the truth about a mystery. They meet the Northuldra, who live closely with the reindeer. Reindeer herding is a traditional Sami activity.

“Some of the beautiful costumes in the film took inspiration from our gakti. They also took inspiration from the guksi, our traditional wooden cup,” said Anne Lajla Utsi, a member of a Sami advisory group that collaborated with the filmmakers.

“We felt they really listened and that it was very important to them to do this right,” added Utsi, managing director of the International Sami Film Institute.

Disney signed a contract with Sami representatives to commit themselves to portray their culture respectfully. That included supporting the dubbing of the movie in North Sami, the most spoken of the Sami languages, and release it at the same time as the Norwegian version.

When Utsi posted a picture of the Frozen 2 poster on Facebook with its Sami title, it went viral.

“My youngest daughter is really looking forward to watching the movie again in her language,” said Keskitalo.

“My elder daughters, who are 22 and 25 years old, are also very excited about seeing the movie. It is not often that we see a movie in North Sami. I think a lot of adults will see the movie too.” - REUTERS

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