An observation on ‘Lovers of the Arctic Circle’ (1998)

In order to grasp full, or even partial, understanding of Lovers of the Arctic Circle, one must be familiarized with the concept of a palindrome. A palindrome is a word or phrase that may be read in either direction, forwards or backwards, while still attaining the same definition and meaning. The end is the beginning, the beginning is the end. Let us not forget about that concept. Now, when viewing this film one must be patient, for the entire story will not unfold until the very end. If you are confused by this, hold on just a bit longer. Julio Medem, both the writer and the director, explores concepts of fate, love and coincidence through the story of Otto and Ana, two lovers whom have crossed each other’s paths since they met accidentally in elementary school, became step-siblings, and eventually began a love affair which ended abruptly through the passing of Otto’s mother, when Otto escaped to live his own life elsewhere.

The intriguing part of this story is in how it is told. Lovers of the Arctic Circle is broken up into several segments. The first is at Otto and Ana’s childhood, followed by their years of adolescence, and concluded with their adulthood, not always in sequential order. Within these segments, a story, in it of itself, is played out. once that story unfolds, it is told yet again, but this time through the perspective of Otto or Ana, depending on the prior perspective. When analyzing this picture, a crucial element remains to be that of a circle. A shape that cycles around and around with constant momentum and constant patterns. This film is about circles. The circles of life, the coincidences we find in the last moment of our life that has traced back to our childhood. Coincidences in love, near death experiences, chance encounters, all experiences with seemingly accidental causations, are actually those of fate and destined love.

Thank you for reading,

Omar Antonio Iturriaga