|Smilla's Sense of Snow|
|Directed by||Bille August|
|Screenplay by||Ann Biderman|
|Based on|| Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow |
by Peter Høeg
|Edited by||Janus Billeskov Jansen|
|121 minutes |
|Box office||$23.1 million |
Smilla's Sense of Snow is a 1997 mystery thriller film directed by Bille August and starring Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne, and Richard Harris. Based on the 1992 novel Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (this was also the title of the UK release of the film) by Danish author Peter Høeg, the film is about a transplanted Greenlander, Smilla Jaspersen, who investigates the mysterious death of a small Inuit boy who lived in her housing complex in Copenhagen. Suspecting wrongdoing, Smilla uncovers a trail of clues leading towards a secretive corporation that has made several mysterious expeditions to Greenland. 
Scenes from the film were shot in Copenhagen; Kiruna, Sweden; and western Greenland. The film was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival,  at which August was nominated for the Golden Bear.
In 1859, a meteorite streaks across the sky and crashes into the Gela Alta glacier in western Greenland, causing a massive explosion that kills an Inuit fisherman.
In present-day Copenhagen, Smilla Jaspersen, a transplanted Greenlander, is studying ice crystals at a university lab. Although an Arctic ice specialist, Smilla has not completed her credentials and is unemployed, with a troubled past. When she returns to her apartment complex at the end of the day, she finds the body of six-year-old Isaiah Christiansen, a neighbor Inuit boy. He is lying in the snow by the edge of the building. The police say that he must have been playing and fallen from the roof. Smilla knew he was afraid of heights and, on the roof, sees that his footprints show he ran straight to the edge of the roof, as if threatened.
At the morgue Smilla meets with Dr. Lagermann. She is surprised when he tells her that a prominent professor, Dr. Johannes Loyen, performed the autopsy on the boy, who was from a poor working-class family. When she consults with Loyen the next day, he declares the boy's death to be an accident. Unconvinced, Smilla files a complaint with the District Attorney. She goes to Lagermann's home seeking more information, and he says that he found a puncture wound on the boy's thigh, made by a biopsy needle after his death. He also says that Loyen was examining the boy every month.
At the funeral, Smilla notices Dr. Andreas Tork, the CEO of Greenland Mining, offering money to Isaiah's mother, who rejects it angrily. Following her husband's accidental death in Greenland in mining, the company had offered her a pension. Detective Ravn from the District Attorney's office agrees to look into the case, but Smilla discovers he is involved with Tork. Smilla tracks down the company's former accountant, and gains access to a company report about activities in Greenland. A neighbor mechanic becomes involved and offers to help her.
Detective Ravn threatens Smilla with jail for stealing Greenland Mining property. She agrees to suspend her investigation but, after learning from Isaiah's mother that her husband died from something in the mine's melt water, she continues. Smilla asks her father, Moritz Jaspersen, to help her in making sense of the Expedition Report; he agrees to look into it.
At the apartment complex, Smilla searches around Isaiah's former hiding place by a stairwell, and discovers a cassette tape hidden behind the wall. Unable to understand the audio, she takes the tape to a blind audio expert, Licht. Shortly after he tells her that it is Isaiah's father talking to his son, Licht is murdered. Smilla barely escapes with her life and the mechanic picks her up. They follow their pursuers to a ship, which Tork is preparing for another Greenland expedition.
Smilla's father shows her medical x-rays from the report, which reveal that a type of lethal, prehistoric "Arctic worm," long thought to be extinct, apparently was the cause of the "accidental" deaths of mine workers. When the worm entered individual's bodies and attacked organs, it caused toxic shock and death.
Aided by others, Smilla gets aboard the mining ship as an employee. She meets Nils Jakkelsen, who helps her discover videotapes that reveal the mining company had discovered an energy-producing meteorite. Tork believes this will give his company a dominant position in the industry. Smilla is chased throughout the ship by Tork's men, who kill Nils. Smilla is helped again by the mechanic, who tells her he has been working for the government to investigate the company.
As the ship approaches shore, Smilla leaves and makes her way across the frozen landscape. She finds the entrance to the Greenland Mining ice cave, where the company is conducting research on the meteorite. Prof. Loyen is among those present. An armed confrontation takes place, but Smilla is rescued by the mechanic and another man. Tork is wounded and runs out across the ice. Loyen falls into the icy pool (containing said meteorite) in the cave, instantly freezing to death (as he sinks below the depths). From outside, the mechanic/agent sets off a powerful bomb that destroys the cave and buries all still inside.
The resulting waves cause Tork to fall from the ice and drown in the freezing water. Smilla gazes over the landscape of ice and snow, the land of her childhood.
The film was shot largely in Germany, Denmark, Greenland, and Sweden. Locations include Bavaria Film Studios, Munich, Germany; Copenhagen; Hotel D'Angleterre, Copenhagen; Ilulissat, Greenland; Kiruna and Norrbottens län, Sweden; and Ata, Greenland. 
Smilla's Sense of Snow received mixed reviews, with most of the negative reviews focused on the unrealistic ending. In her review in The New York Times , Janet Maslin wrote, "Smilla's Sense of Snow begins grippingly, then devolves into ever less credible derring-do as the action turns Smilla from a self-styled detective into an adventurer. The story finally leaves credibility behind as it sails off to the frozen north. The film has an elegant Smilla in Julia Ormond, whose remoteness works better here than it has in other roles. Ms. Ormond plays Smilla in the chic, alert, unsmiling fashion of a French film star, and she richly rewards the camera's many beautiful close-ups of Smilla cogitating on crime." 
In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times , Roger Ebert gave the film three stars. Despite the implausible ending, he found that the movie worked, writing, "Here is a movie so absorbing, so atmospheric, so suspenseful and so dumb, that it proves my point: The subject matter doesn't matter in a movie nearly as much as mood, tone and style. Smilla's Sense of Snow is a superbly made film with one of the goofiest plots in many moons. Nothing in the final 30 minutes can possibly be taken seriously, and yet the movie works. Even the ending works, sort of, because the film has built up so much momentum." 
In her review in the Las Vegas Review-Journal , Carol Cling wrote, "Fascinating setting and strong performances make up for the far-fetched plotting." In his review in the Flipside Movie Emporium, Rob Vaux wrote, "An underrated and effective thriller, buoyed by a fine performance from Julia Ormond." In his review in the Capital Times (Madison, WI), Rob Thomas wrote, "An atmospheric and enjoyably preposterous mystery." And in her review in Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies , Nell Minow wrote, "The idiotic ending seems to belong to another movie." 
The Rotten Tomatoes website reports that the film received an aggregate 52% positive rating from critics (based on 33 reviews).  On Metacritic, the film received mixed to average reviews, scoring 48% which was based on 18 reviews. 
The film opened on 251 screens in Germany and grossed 2.9 million Deutsche Mark ($1.8 million) over the 4-day weekend, placing fifth at the German box office.  It went on to gross $23.1 million worldwide. 
Greenland is an island country that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is the world's largest island, it is one of three constituent countries that form the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark and the Faroe Islands; the citizens of these countries are all Danish nationals. Greenland is divided into five municipalities: Sermersooq, Kujalleq, Qeqqata, Qeqertalik and Avannaata. The northeast of the island composes the unincorporated Northeast Greenland National Park. Thule Air Base is also unincorporated, an enclave within Avannaata municipality administered by the United States Space Force. Greenland's capital is Nuuk.
Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen was a Greenlandic–Danish polar explorer and anthropologist. He has been called the "father of Eskimology" and was the first European to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled. He remains well known in Greenland, Denmark and among Canadian Inuit.
Robert Edwin Peary Sr. was an American explorer and officer in the United States Navy who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for, in April 1909, leading an expedition that claimed to be the first to have reached the geographic North Pole. Explorer Matthew Henson, part of the expedition, is thought to have reached what they believed to be the North Pole narrowly before Peary.
Ilulissat, formerly Jakobshavn or Jacobshaven, is the municipal seat and largest town of the Avannaata municipality in western Greenland, located approximately 350 km (220 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. With the population of 4,670 as of 2020, it is the third-largest city in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut. The city is home to almost as many sled-dogs as people.
Hans Poulsen Egede was a Dano-Norwegian Lutheran missionary who launched mission efforts to Greenland, which led him to be styled the Apostle of Greenland. He established a successful mission among the Inuit and is credited with revitalizing Dano-Norwegian interest in the island after contact had been broken for about 300 years. He founded Greenland's capital Godthåb, now known as Nuuk.
Peter Høeg is a Danish writer of fiction. He is best known for his novel, Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (1992).
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow is a 1992 novel by Danish author Peter Høeg tracing the investigation into the suspicious death of a Greenlandic boy in Denmark. A global bestseller, it was translated into English by Tiina Nunnally.
Kiviuq is a legendary hero of the epic stories of the Inuit of the Arctic regions of northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland.
Julia Karin Ormond is an English actress. She rose to prominence by appearing in The Baby of Mâcon (1993), Legends of the Fall (1994), First Knight (1995), Sabrina (1995), Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) and The Barber of Siberia (1998). She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role in the HBO film Temple Grandin (2010). She is also known for her role in The Walking Dead: World Beyond (2020) as a main antagonist.
The Cape York meteorite, also known as the Innaanganeq meteorite, is one of the largest known iron meteorites, classified as a medium octahedrite in chemical group IIIAB. In addition to many small fragments, at least eight large fragments with a total mass of 58 tons have been recovered, the largest weighing 31 tonnes. The meteorite is loosely named after the location where the largest fragment was found: 23 miles (37 km) east of Cape York, in Savissivik, Meteorite Island, Greenland.
Tiina Nunnally is an American author and translator.
Lorenz Peter Elfred Freuchen was a Danish explorer, author, journalist and anthropologist. He is notable for his role in Arctic exploration, namely the Thule Expeditions.
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Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic and subarctic regions of Greenland, Labrador, Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Alaska. Inuit languages are part of the Eskimo–Aleut languages, also known as Inuit-Yupik-Unangan, and also as Eskaleut. Inuit Sign Language is a critically endangered language isolate used in Nunavut.
Ann Biderman is an American film and television writer. She is the creator and executive producer of the NBC/TNT series Southland (2009–2013), and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Drama Series for an episode of NYPD Blue. She created, wrote, and produced the Showtime drama Ray Donovan.
Jette Bang was a Danish photographer and film maker who is remembered for the large collection of photographs and films she took in Greenland, depicting the country and the way of life of its inhabitants before their old culture disappeared.
Ataa was a settlement in the Disko Bay region of western Greenland. It was located on the eastern coast of Alluttoq Island, approximately 60 km (37 mi) to the north of Ilulissat and 30 km (19 mi) to the southeast of Qeqertaq.
The Odd Fellows Mansion is a Rococo town mansion in Copenhagen, Denmark, named after the local branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows which acquired the building in 1900. Before that, it was known as the Berckentin and later the Schimmelmann Mansion after its successive owners.
Aleqa Hammond is a Greenlandic politician and former member of the Danish Folketing (parliament). Formerly the leader of the Siumut party, she became Greenland's first female prime minister after her party emerged as the largest parliamentary faction in the 2013 elections. In 2014 she stepped down as Prime Minister and leader of Siumut, following a case of misuse of public funds. She was expelled from Siumut on 23 August 2016 after yet another case of misuse of public funds and became an independent. On 31 March 2018 she announced that she would be running in the 2018 Greenlandic parliamentary election for the Siumut breakaway Nunatta Qitornai.