In a forest in Finland reindeer are disturbed by a sudden noise
of an engine. They are soon driven into a coral by a helicopter
and a group of beaters. The Poroerotus can begin. This Suomi
tradition consists of an annual roundup of the reindeer herd to
count them and select them. Part of the herd will be set free
again, the rest will be culled. For three days, locked up in the
coral, the animals await man´s verdict.
From the beginning, it is the animal´s point of view which
dominates. Man makes an incursion into the natural
surroundings, which are presented as a seperate world.
The three-day wait is filmed from the reindeer´s point of view.
The camrea wanders amid the herd, observes the men through
the fences, but sometimes crosses over to the other side. The
filmmaker is sometimes involved in exchanges with the human
protagonists, however, he remains silent. No commentary is
added to the pictures. The shouts of the men, the cries of the
animals, and the ringing of the reindeer bells, provide a sort of
sonic measure of the tension provoked by the situation. A piece
by Sibelius is heard, the spectacle takes on a tragic aspect.
Presenting both, the animal´s point of view and that of a distant
observer, Andreas Horvath gradually presents the events as they
unfold, placing the spectator in the same situation of bewilderment
as the reindeer. At the end of the Poroerotus, the cars and the
survivors leave the scene of the tragedy. The film then becomes
the trace of this cruel instant during which the animal becomes
- Christian Bovey - Visions du Reel 2001