The new Norwegian documentary Tungeskjærne (roughly ‘The Tongue Slicers’ in English) is set to open the Tromsø International Film Festival in January.
Directed by Solveig Melkeraaen, the documentary is set in Myre, on the outer edge of the cod municipality Øksnes in far-north Norway. Here we find children as young as five years old working as cod tongue slicers. This is set around the annual cod fisheries and we follow city girl Ylva (9), who in the winter goes to visit her grandparents in this remote town and meets the experienced slicer Tobias (10). The two become friends and Ylva seeks to become a tongue cutter herself.
“It’s cool to be able to open TIFF 2017 with a documentary about a group of children on the outer coast,” says festival director Martha Otte.
Director Solveig Melkeraaen is from Myre and at the age of six she started cutting tongues. She has always wanted to film this unique environment, and now after a three-year process, the documentary is ready for the premiere.
“We could not have had a better premiere than this. Tromsø was at the top of the wish list of how the film should have its first impressions” says Melkeraaen.
The documentary will have a theatrical release in Norway in February. Hopefully, it will travel to international festivals.
The Tromsø International Film Festival runs between the 16th and 22nd of January 2017.
Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.