Julio Medem’s Spanish film Lovers of the Arctic Circle is on my short list of favorites. The story follows Otto and Ana from a youthful meeting through their falling in love and eventual separation. After the two are estranged, Otto becomes a pilot who flies between Spain and Scandinavia. Years later, Ana travels to a cabin in Lapland, Finland to search for Otto. It’s during the window of time every year when the sun goes in a circle in northern Scandinavia but never sets. With the sun constantly up, there’s something settling about the way she is isolated, waiting on Otto for days, but never solitary.

Lapland Province is supposed to be where Santa Claus if from, and it makes sense. The place practically knocks up against the North Pole. This time of year, when it’s dark out well before I leave downtown just after 5, I think about cities near the Arctic Circle–Helsinki, Reykjavik, Fairbanks. Could you do it, live for months in the Arctic with slim pockets of day to have a few weeks with the sun acting as a pacifier? Because me, sometimes even now I think I could go through so much winter for a few weeks of sleepless light.

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