IDFA: Polaris

Ainara Vera
France, Greenland
French, English, Icelandic

While Hayat captains her sailboat, navigating among the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean, back in France her younger sister Leila brings a new daughter into the world. With a keen feeling for atmosphere and metaphor, this documentary sketches the lives of the two sisters, who see this birth as an opportunity to break the cycle of their family history.
Distance is what characterizes the relationship between the two sisters, who are each other’s opposites in many ways. Their brief phone conversations are separated by long periods with no reception. But there is also a tangible intimacy between them that cuts through that sense of distance; a sense of a shared past where they could depend only on each other—their mother was an alcoholic and their father was absent—and a present where it looks like patterns may be repeating.
The film seldom shows the sisters and newborn Inaya with other people, situating them instead—emphatically—in their own, frequently symbolic, surroundings. They, too, are like boats navigating their way among the currents and obstacles that stubbornly threaten to push them in the wrong direction.