Valkoinen Peura (1952)

I don’t think we’ve ever covered a Finnish movie before, much less one with a werereindeer, which I didn’t even think was something. You learn something new every day and movies help you do it.

At the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, this movie won Best Fairy Tale film from a Jean Cocteau-led jury. I also didn’t even know there was a Best Fair Tale award.

This is probably the only movie out there based on pre-Christian Finnish mythology and Sami shamanism, so enjoy it. Mirjami Kuosmanen — director Erik Blomberg’s wife who sadly died young from a brain hemorrhage — plays Pirita, a bride who misses her husband Aslak while he away herding reindeer.

She wants to ignite passion in her life and keep her husband home, so she visits a shaman. In turn, he turns Pirita — who was born of a witch — into a shapeshifting vampiric white reindeer. All she had to do was sacrifice the first thing she saw when she returned home, which ends up being the baby deer that her husband has brought her as a gift.

Now, she is irresistible to all men, men who she lures as the reindeer into the woods and then drains them of their blood.

The White Reindeer is the kind of magical movie that slowly finds its way into your mind and then takes a place inside it.

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