Review: ‘Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest’

Hot Docs 2016

2 mins read

Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest
(Finland, 84 min.)
Dir. Katja Gauriloff
Programme: World Showcase (World Premiere)


Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest combines mythical storytelling with a deep sense of compassion for the Skolt Sami community, the first people to inhabit Scandinavia. Mostly, the film is centred on the relationship between Russian-born Swiss writer Robert Crottet and director Katja Gauriloff’s great grandmother, Kaisa Gauriloff. Crottet had vivid dreams that drew him to the enchanted forest of northern Finland. Documenting the Skolt Sami community became Crottet’s life work and he advocated for their protection after they were displaced during World War Two by invading Russian forces.

“Kaisa was the greatest child,” remarks Crottet in his recovered recordings, “Kaisa is my mentor.” Director Gauriloff displays a fondness for Crottet’s work and relationship with Kaisa. Her deeply personal film conveys the spirit of her great grandmother through rare archival footage and fairy tale animation. Kaisa’s life was filled with grief: she lost several homes, spent years living in exile and gave birth to ten children, many of whom died when they were little. “Not once did I see Kaisa cry,” Crottet says. And Kaisa’s remarkable spirit lives on in this appreciation of her life and the Skolt Sami people of Finland.

Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest screens:
-Tuesday, May 3 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 7:00 PM
-Thursday, May 5 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 4:15 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 5:45 PM


Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit for more information.

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