Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Spanish: Los amantes del círculo polar), also known as The Lovers from the North Pole, is a 1998 Spanish drama film written and directed by Julio Médem and starring Najwa Nimri and Fele Martínez. It won two Goya Awards in 1999.
The film tells the story of Otto and Ana, from their chance meeting outside school at the age of 8, until they meet again in their 20s in Lapland within the Arctic Circle, under the midnight sun. The themes developed in the film form an important part of Julio Medem's universe, and can be found in his other movies; these include love, death, destiny, nature, the circle of life and the coincidences in life. It received favorable critical reviews.
The film is circular in plot as well as in a number of other ways (for example, the names of its main characters, Otto and Ana, are both palindromes). The film is centered around an incestuous love relationship between step-siblings. The two meet one day after school, when Ana's father dies, and her mother marries his father. Ana believes that Otto is the reincarnation of her father, but eventually the two of them fall in love. For a number of reasons, they are eventually separated, and Otto becomes a pilot flying between Spain and the Arctic Circle. Ana moves to the same area to leave behind her past and past lovers, and tries to get in touch with him again.
The movie plot is about two step-siblings who know each other since they were children. As they grow up, they find out that their love is not just a family love. They want to have a relationship like real couples have, even though they know it is prohibited they found a place where they can see each other at night. As time passes by their parents get divorced and they get separated. Ana's mother moves abroad, and Ana travels to Finland from where she persuades Otto to travel north to look for her. The deaths and lives of the characters are made more confusing through anachronisms and plot details.
The movie ends on an ambiguous note: in one version, Ana and Otto are reunited, while in the other Ana dies in a car accident. It is unclear which of the endings is real.
Lovers of the Arctic Circle was shot in Madrid and in various locations in Finland.
Julio Medem based part of the film on his own experience of unrequited teenage love for his next door neighbor. He also included a reference to his Basque mother and German father in a scene in which a Basque farmer rescues a stranded German paratrooper. Medem said this was "a way of bringing together the two sides of my family."
The film was nominated for four Goya Awards and won for Best Editing and Best Original Score. Julio Medem also received the Audience Award at the 2000 Athens International Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Latin Film at the Gramado Film Festival. The film also won an Ondas Award for Best Spanish Film and Najwa Nimri won for Best Actress.