The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #391: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Ofelas (Pathfinder, 1987)
This week, my brother and I are watching the 1987 Norwegian film, Ofelas (English title = Pathfinder) which we watched as kids. It is quite hard to find now, as it is not streaming anywhere and to my knowledge, is out of print, at least in the US. Of course, you can go flying the Jolly Roger route, but if you like looking for physical media, you are in for a hunt, at least in the US. You may be able to find an old VHS copy (we originally watched it on VHS; our local library had it) on eBay at very high prices, but unless you have a multiregion DVD player, it’s pretty hard to get on DVD as well. Just before recording the intro, however, I looked again and found a region 0 DVD (playable anywhere) version of the film in Europe and snagged it. When I went to see if there others out there to post here, there were now no more listings! So that means these versions are out there, just hard to find.
Here are some clips, however.
This is the only film I have seen that features the Sami language (the people indigenous to parts of Scandinavia). I got interested in their culture some years back when researching dwellings for Logan and Aurora for The Thirteenth Hour sequels. I originally wanted to given them a house made out of the side of a hill but thought that would be highly unrealistic for two people with hand tools and zero heavy machinery. So I started looking at how indeigenous people created their habitations, and for a snowy envionment (as I expected Logan and Aurora’s island to be, far down in the southern hemispshere of their realm), I figured that if something worked for the Sami, who dealt with snow and ice for much of the year, it would work for my protagonists, too.
The Sami traditionally lived in, among other dwellings, circular yurts called goathi (in Northern Sami) which were wooden framed huts covered with sticks and other natural available materials, like earth. They’re basically like tepees used by Plains Native Americans. Because of the conical design, snow would slide off, and it would be (I would think) a bit easier to pile material on top in a more seamless way due to the absence of sharp angles. Also, if the earth started to meld with the dirt, and vegetation started to grow from it, you’d have basically what I originally was thinking about – a dwelling in an above ground hole (maybe like a Hobbit hole). You can see many examples (covered with skins and snow) in the film. While I imagine you’d get cold in the winter quickly if the heating source went out, the small quarters probably would warm up quickly. There’s even a clip of some of the villagers in the film sitting in a goati converted to make a sauna.
In this clip from the sparse and quite brutal into of the film, you can see steam coming out of the snow covered dwelling where the main character’s family lives.
In this scene, the main character, Aigin, gets some wisdom dropped on him from the local shaman/mystic/bear killer/village pathfinder, Raste, who serves as a kind of mentor to the hero. You can see some details in how the inside of the structure was constructed and probably insulated (with skins).
Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG. You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here. If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley. Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!