The White Reindeer

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The White Reindeer
Original release poster
Directed by Erik Blomberg
Produced by Aarne Tarkas
Written by Erik Blomberg
Mirjami Kuosmanen
Starring Mirjami Kuosmanen
Music by Einar Englund
Cinematography Erik Blomberg
Edited by Erik Blomberg
Distributed by Adams Filmi
Release date
  • 25 July 1952 (1952-07-25)
Running time
74 minutes (1952)
68 minutes (1986 restoration)
Country Finland
Language Finnish

The White Reindeer (Finnish: Valkoinen peura, Swedish: Den Vita Renen) is a 1952 Finnish horror drama film directed by Erik Blomberg. It was entered in competition at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival[1] and earned the Jean Cocteau-led jury special award for Best Fairy Tale Film.[2] After its limited release five years later in the United States, it was one of five films to win the 1956 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film.[3][4]


The film, based on pre-Christian Finnish mythology and Sami shamanism, is set in Finnish Lapland and centers on a young woman, Pirita. In the snowy landscape, Pirita and reindeer herder Aslak meet and soon marry. Aslak must spend time away for work, leaving his new bride lonely. In an effort to alleviate her loneliness and ignite marital passion, Pirita visits the local shaman, who indeed helps her out; but in the process turns her into a shapeshifting, vampiric white reindeer. The villages' men are drawn to her and pursue her, with tragic results.[5][6]



Critical reception

Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 100%, based on 5 reviews, with a rating average of 6/10.[7]

J. Hoberman from The Village Voice gave the film a positive review, calling it "a quasi-ethnographic exercise in magic neorealism". Hoberman also commended the film for its "terse delivery and stark premise".[8] Maitland McDonagh from TV Guide awarded the film 3 out of 5 stars, criticizing the film for being awkward in some parts while praising the cinematography, and haunting imagery. McDonagh concluded his review by calling it "A must-see for horror completists, and one of the few films to explore Sami folkloric traditions."[9] On his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar praised the film's acting, and snow-covered setting, calling it "striking and memorable".[10]



The White Reindeer was released theatrically outside of Finland at least in 11 countries, including the United States, Sweden and France.[11]

Home media

The film was released on VHS in Finland in 1990, and in the 2010s, DVDs were released in Finland and in France.[12] A 4K restoration from the original camera negative was realized in 2016–2017 by the National Audiovisual Institute of Finland, and was released on Blu-ray with Swedish and English subtitles.[13]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The White Reindeer". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  2. ^ "The White Reindeer (Erik Blomberg, 1952)". Make Mine Criterion. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  3. ^ "List of Winners – Golden Globes Best Foreign Film". Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  4. ^ Sundholm, John & Thorsen, Isak & Andersson, Lars Gustaf & Hedling, Olof & Iversen, Gunnar & Møller, Birgir Thor. Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Cinema (Google eBook). p. 389 et seq. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Valkoinen Peura Synopsis". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Valkoinen Peura (The White Reindeer)". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Valkoinen Peura (The White Reindeer) (1952)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ Hoberman, J. "Film". Village J. Hoberman. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  9. ^ McDonagh, Maitland. "The White Reindeer - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Maitland McDonagh. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  10. ^ Sindelar, Dave. "Valkoinen Peura (1952)". Fantastic Movie Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b Valkoinen peura at Elonet (in Finnish).
  12. ^ White Reindeer (The) AKA Valkoinen peura (1952). DVD Compare, 31 October 2013.
  13. ^ Blu-ray-julkaisut. National Audiovisual Institute (in Finnish).

External links

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