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Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998)

Los amantes del Círculo Polar (original title)
In cold Lapland Finland, under the eternal midnight sun, two ardent lovers reunite once again after a long period apart, governed by a powerful and eloquent circular motif woven by destiny, faith, and love. Can they deny their destiny?


Julio Medem


Julio Medem
14 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Najwa Nimri ... Ana
Fele Martínez ... Otto (as Fele Martinez)
Nancho Novo ... Álvaro
Maru Valdivielso ... Olga
Peru Medem Peru Medem ... Otto
Sara Valiente Sara Valiente ... Ana
Víctor Hugo Oliveira Víctor Hugo Oliveira ... Otto
Kristel Díaz Kristel Díaz ... Ana (as Kristel Diaz)
Pep Munné ... Javier (as Pep Munne)
Jaroslaw Bielski Jaroslaw Bielski ... Álvaro Midelman (as Jaroslaw Bielski)
Rosa Morales Rosa Morales ... Sofía
Joost Siedhoff Joost Siedhoff ... Otto Midelman
Beate Jensen Beate Jensen ... Madre de Otto
Petri Heino Petri Heino ... Aki
Outi Alanen ... Mensajera


Otto and Ana are kids when they meet each other. Their names are palindromes. They meet by chance, people are related by chance. A story of circular lives, with circular names, and a circular place (Círculo polar) where the day never ends in the midnight sun. There are things that never end, and Love is one of them. Written by Dul <dpueyos@itpsp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Destiny will take them to the boundaries of the world. See more »


Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


When asked where the idea for the movie came from, Julio Medem said that he started thinking about it after getting divorced, because it was the first time he experienced heartbreak and wanted to write a movie about the love as the most powerful force, something that never ends and it's forever between two people. See more »


Otto jumps from his plane at 66°33"40' North, 02°55"05' East. These are the geographic coordinates that Ana wrote on her letter to Otto, to mark the location where she was staying in Finland (Rovaniemi). But if he really would have used these coordinates he would have jumped right into the Atlantic Ocean. The (almost) correct location of the cottage where Ana was staying is 66°33"40' North, 25°55"05' East. That is also the same location that the old Otto points out on his map when he and Ana meet each other for the first time in his apartment in Rovaniemi. See more »


Otto: I'll love you always and if the petrol runs out, I'll die.
See more »


Referenced in Golden Whore (2000) See more »


Written by Josef Rixner, Lauri Jauhiainen, George de Godzinsky
Performed by Olavi Virta and The Harmony Sisters
See more »

User Reviews

A bit cold but still clever and interesting enough to give time to
20 December 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Ana and Otto met when they were children. She was running in the woods after hearing of her father's death; he was running to get a football. When they met, he fell for her immediately and she could see her dead father inside him. Sadly coincidences lead her mother to fall in love with his father and, before long, they are brother and sister. Over the years though, their affection grows and they begin a relationship that is so secret that they barely know it themselves. In this circle of love and life, strange things occur that they see from different perspectives.

This film is the sort of foreign art-house cinema that will make some viewers pull their hair or fall asleep with boredom, so maybe be careful if you are the type of viewer more at home with Porky's rather than anything cerebral; but for everyone else this strange yet engaging film is well worth a look. The plot is about a stepbrother and sister who are sort of in love but to just describe it as that is to do it an injustice. It is much more than that, not all necessarily good, but all interesting enough to watch. The plot movies in little circles – like their names, it has a palindromic effect with one large circle and lots of little ones within; it is very smartly written and I did enjoy it for this. This doesn't help the heart of the film though, and at times I did find it very cold and uninvolving – the characters weren't really real enough and I found the coincidences to actually stop the story being moving and occasionally did make it feel gimmicky. It is also knowingly weird at times and that also put me off; but the overall effect is good.

The cast are little more than players within this tricky little film and, as such, they mainly struggle to deliver real characters. Ono and Anna are played pretty flat and cold but it is at least good that they were played consistently over the generation jumps and each acting partnership. It is not really their fault because the film is more interested in the ironies of the circling life and coincidences rather than getting to the heart of the characters – they try hard but this is not a film to watch for strong acting performances.

Overall this is a good film but one that may leave many viewers cold and unimpressed by the gimmicks; however many others will be won over by the clever delivery that is filled with mini circles within circles all within the overall palindrome of the total product. At times the cold telling is a bit distracting and the coincidences are not as deep as the film would have us believe but generally it is worth a shot and is a memorable little film.

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Official Sites:

Official site


Spain | France


Spanish | English

Release Date:

28 August 1998 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Lovers of the Arctic Circle See more »

Filming Locations:

Rovaniemi, Finland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,697, 11 April 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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