Kapadia heads North
by Naman Ramachandran
31/10/2007 - The Warrior [trailer], which won a brace of BAFTAs and the London Film Festival’s Sutherland Trophy in addition to numerous other awards for British director Asif Kapadia in 2001, was always going to be a tough act to follow. Like many of his ilk, Kapadia went to Hollywood and made The Return starring Sarah Michelle Gellar – an experience he would rather forget.
Tonally and spiritually Kapadia considers Far North his true second film. It reunited him with his writing, production and post-production team. In addition, he gathered a stellar cast including Michelle Yeoh and Sean Bean. The result is a bleak, minimalist, stunning and ultimately shocking film.
Kapadia and his co-writer Tim Miller adapted a six page short story by Sarah Maitland about two women eking it out in a frozen wasteland whose lives are changed forever when a man appears in their lives. For Kapadia, filming in inhospitable climes seems to be an integral part of his filmmaking. While The Warrior was set in the torrid deserts of West India, Far North is shot in the remote Arctic tundra of Norway.
“Maybe it’s masochistic, but I seem to end up doing that. Far North is the antithesis of The Warrior, the yin to its yang. While there are the obvious parallels of hot versus cold, The Warrior was about a search for redemption, while Far North is the exact opposite with the three characters heading towards a tragic disintegration,” says Kapadia.
Maitland’s story had no names for the characters, but Kapadia and Miller named the man Loki – after the sly Norse God described as the “contriver of all fraud”. “That was deliberate,” says Kapadia. “The idea was to give the man a name that would evoke the image of someone who would create trouble.”