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Film / Pathfinder 1987

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Pathfinder is a 1987 film from Norway directed by Nils Gaup.

It is in the Northern Sami language and is based on the myths of the Sami, a nomadic people of northern Scandinavia. A young Sami man named Aigin comes home one day to find his parents and his sister butchered—in fact the killers are still there, and he barely escapes them.

The bad guys are Chudes, bloodthirsty invaders from what is now the Baltics and western Russia. Aigin makes it to the next Sami camp and delivers the terrifying news. The Sami, who are a peaceable people, argue about whether to flee or stand and fight the Chudes. Some run for the coast, and the ones that stand and fight are massacred by the Chudes. Aigin then realizes that he will have to use his wits to save his people.

Remade in 2007 as Pathfinder, which changed the setting to North America with Native Americans attacked by invading Vikings.

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Tropes:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Chudes, who seem to like murdering folks.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: To avoid Unfortunate Implications, Gaup had the Chudes speaking in a made up language so they would not be equated to any modern ethnic group.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One tribesman casually jumps into a hole in the snow, only to come out in a big damn hurry when it turns out that a bear was sleeping in that hole. An action scene follows where the tribesmen kill the bear—possibly turning this trope into Bears Are Good News as they then have a lot of food to eat.
  • Black Speech: The Chudes speak a made-up language.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: After Sierge delivers the bad news that wolves have already scavenged all the animals the clan caught in traps, another tribesman angrily and dramatically flings his knife into a wooden post.
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  • Climbing Climax: The climax involves dangerous cliff-scaling.
  • Death Glare: This comes with having Helgi Skulason as the main villain.
  • The Determinator: Aigin and The Scarred Chud.
  • Dragon-in-Chief From the get go, the Scarred Chud is clearly the main antagonist. While he answers to the Chud cheif, he is clearly the most dangerous one and the other Chudes seem to be afraid of him.
  • Face Cam: Used for a comic relief scene when Dorakas is skiing out of control downhill towards the camp.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: The Scarred Chud tries to kill Aigin and then wants revenge.
  • The Mentor: Raste helps Aigin rise to his potential.
  • Scenery Porn: Northern Norway is shown off in all it's frozen glory.
  • Title Drop: The Chudes need a "pathfinder" to help them find the Sami village.
  • Trail of Blood: The Chudes follow Saigin by the blood he left in the snow, after one of them winged him with an arrow.
  • The Voiceless: The Scarred Chud, the most murderous of the bunch.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: Dorakas's wild ride down the hill ends with him crashing right into a tree. His riderless skis slide into camp without him, while the other villagers point and laugh.
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