Ailo's Journey (2018) Movie Script

The world is remarkable.
We don't know why we are here,
but still...
We must get up every morning,
head off, -
and find our place amongst others.
There are days on which
we would rather continue to sleep.
To dream.
But life goes on,
and we must press onwards.
There are so many things
we have not experienced -
or that we want to experience again.
A soft caress.
Or the beat of a heart.
This is the story of Ailo.
A tale of how he was born,
how he grew, -
and how he was loved.
It is April in the heart of Lapland,
beyond the Arctic Circle.
For thousands of years,
after the heart of winter, -
wild reindeer have roamed
from the fells to the valleys -
where the does
give birth to their calves.
This is Ailo's mother.
Ailo is still in her belly.
Ailo's mother feels
that today Ailo will be born.
Usually the calving happens
after the roaming has ended.
They know that those born on the
fells have weaker odds of survival.
Is the world so muddled -
that reindeer
don't know when to calve?
Ailo's mother can no longer wait.
She must leave the herd
and find shelter from predators.
This is Ailo.
Children in the Lapland region
are told that, unlike people, -
reindeer calves must
get to their feet in five minutes, -
learn to walk in five minutes -
and be able to run and swim
in five minutes.
It is about survival
when surrounded by dangers.
Sometimes, the new mother
does not know how to be a mother.
Is she worried that she is unable
to raise her little one?
Or unable to protect them?
Sometimes, difficult decisions
must be made.
Ailo's mother must wrestle with
decisions about natural selection.
Do I save myself
and return to the herd?
Or will I be a mother and
will we face the dangers together?
This little one with its soft breath
and its scent.
The mother's decision is clear.
She must take care of her little one.
One day, he will be a majestic
reindeer on the Lapland fells!
The first morning in Lapland -
and the first meeting
with another animal.
The squirrel has one thing
on its mind. Food!
The squirrel is too nimble for Ailo -
but it is impetus
to get to his feet.
After only a few hours, Ailo has
learned how to use all four hooves.
As long as they are not with
the herd, they are in danger.
Now mother will protect you, Ailo.
She will raise you
to be strong and brave.
A real prince of Lapland.
There are some vicious predators
in the wilderness.
But also some
that are less dangerous.
Like this stoat.
Have you noticed how serene
some creatures are?
They move around like lazy clouds.
Watching a creature like that
brings peace of mind.
A stoat is the opposite of that.
A delicacy for stoats
are birds' eggs.
They just love them!
If Ailo wants to be a calm creature,
he'd better take his own path.
And what about that lemming?
A snowy owl has swiped
the stoat's snack.
A delicacy for owls... are lemmings.
And also stoats.
It's time to leave the forest.
Now Ailo must head to the fells with
his mother. Beneath the open skies.
This calf was also born too early -
but was less fortunate than Ailo.
Half of the calves will die
before their first birthday.
Ailo is only three clays old.
Each step is a challenge.
Especially when walking through deep,
soft snow on such short legs.
Their herd is further
and further away.
If you are thinking there are more
dangers than wet snow, you are right.
It is more dangerous to cross
an icy, fast-flowing stream.
Ailo must be on his feet
in five minutes, -
learn to walk in five minutes, -
and be able to run
and swim in five minutes.
Five minutes to get up.
Another five to walk.
Five minutes to swim.
You must now go,
otherwise you will stay and freeze.
Ailo could collapse.
But it is not in his nature
to give up.
Ailo starts to understand the order
of nature and the dangers.
His heart beats stronger.
Is this the life of a reindeer?
Crossing streams.
Climbing from one fell to another,
in a snow-covered wilderness.
Without respite.
Ailo's mother knows this route well.
It is a reindeer route.
Her herd has travelled
this route for centuries.
New scenery is ahead. Fjords.
They are like giant arms of the sea -
cutting into the fells like lace.
The spring grass looms over yonder.
And the herd? It should be here.
At the base of the valley.
They made it!
Now Ailo is barely five days old.
But he has already learned so much.
Perseverance, courage,
Now he has a herd. A family!
The whole family?
Something is missing.
The offspring of course!
While Ailo travelled with his mother,
dozens of calves were born here.
There are new cousins of all colours.
They don't know each other yet,
but when they start to roam, -
they will be one large family.
Together they will fight the cold,
the streams, and the snow storms.
Or predators.
A wolf has found the herd.
But it does not attack.
At least not today.
Wolves do not hunt alone.
It will return. With its pack.
It has been three days
since Ailo joined the herd.
Today the herd will roam
to a new habitat.
Reindeer don't hunt. They roam.
They have always roamed.
They are the eternal roamers
of the North.
Spring arrives.
Everything melts quickly.
The squirrel is pleased about that.
It has been waiting
a long time for that.
The wait just never seems to end.
The first gentle spring night
envelops Ailo.
This thing that approaches
Ailo's herd never tires.
It just greedily takes and takes.
Thousands of hectares of trees.
To get to the heart of the forest,
the machines plough their own routes.
Roads connect people,
but reindeer see them as walls.
Barriers that disrupt
the eternal roaming.
The reindeer have travelled
the same trails forever.
They learned the route
from their ancestors.
Some day,
Ailo will also know the route.
As long as the old routes
don't disappear.
It has been several weeks.
Ailo is a fearless adventurer.
He wants to see and try everything.
With his mother's help and the safety
net of the herd, he feels invincible.
Polecats also feel
that they are invincible.
These two at least look invincible!
Be careful, Ailo.
The wolf is no longer alone.
It now also has its pack.
Two little wolf pups.
Before the hunt can begin, the pack
leader must train the little ones.
The first step is to respect
the rules and the pack leader.
You don't go anywhere alone.
Ailo had better be careful -
when the pups go from playing
to hunting.
And he should not wander about here.
This arctic fox would have been
interested in Ailo when he was born.
But now the reindeer is too large.
It must find something else to eat.
Such as a lemming!
The meatball of the North.
It's easy to catch.
Or at least... it should be easy.
Someone is mocking from up above.
The arctic fox belongs on the fells
rather than in the forest.
It has to roam further afield
in order to find a partner.
It's not an easy task. There are only
a few hundred arctic foxes remaining.
Its dream is to start a family
on the fells.
The lands where there is always snow.
It's finally summer in Lapland.
You barely have the chance to say
the word "summer" before it is over.
Ailo has grown.
His fur has darkened
and his antlers are coming through.
One day, he will be like this stag.
Large and majestic.
Then the little ones will look
at Ailo with fear and admiration.
But size doesn't matter
when it comes to certain enemies.
Do you hear that sound?
Do you hear
those little devil clouds?
They attack from all directions and
drive you to the brink of madness.
A large reindeer once dived
into water to escape them.
But the mosquitos and black flies
did not give up.
The reindeer went deeper and deeper.
Up to the neck, then up to the ears.
And the reindeer never returned.
The reindeer flee to the fells during
the blood-sucking midge season.
The mosquitos do not like
the strong winds.
The arctic fox loves the openness of
the fells, and the cold and the wind.
It now has its summer fur,
and is still looking for a partner.
Could that be...?
Surely it isn't...
Oh, wow. What a beauty!
Oh no.
A setback.
There is already a groom.
The father of the family is probably
close -
hunting food for his pups.
Arctic foxes mate for life.
That is not the case with reindeer.
September. There is
a fireworks display of colour.
An explosion of colour,
like a blast from a magic wand.
It's perhaps nature's final hurrah -
before the black and white tunnel.
The polar nights.
Ailo is now five months old.
His antlers are longer,
his fur is a shiny silver.
Something has changed over the
summer. Ailo approaches adulthood.
The world of adults fascinates Ailo.
Such as this mating ritual,
known as rutting.
Autumn in Lapland is a time of love.
For stags, it is a time
of battle on the fells.
Two or three weeks of duels.
Measuring up and butting together.
The winner will be in favour
with the does.
That's the name of the game.
Look at these two.
What if their antlers are
completely intertwined?
Can one tell where one beast
starts and the other ends?
If they were to fall like this,
tangled together...
That can happen.
When Ailo himself has large antlers -
it will be his turn to battle.
Ailo is still like a pubescent youth
at the start of the school year.
You know the feeling. When you are
new and don't know anybody.
You seek companionship with someone
who is in the same boat.
Such as a hare.
You imitate and try to come up with
subjects to discuss.
Imitation can perhaps help
avoid the feeling of rejection.
You can feel that you
are on the same team.
After that, you can
approach each other.
Or maybe not.
There are always pairings
that seem to want to squabble.
Here they are these polecat brothers.
No danger now -
but in real life, the polecats would
gladly eat the hare.
Except that usually
the prey tries to flee.
The long-eared one
has figured out the situation.
It confuses the enemy.
Until it flees.
These fighters are
so self-confident -
they even scare off
bigger creatures.
Even a whole herd of reindeer.
But the real, blood-chilling threat
is something completely different.
It takes over the mind like a poison.
It feels like a threat in the air.
It can be sensed everywhere.
Both in the cloud formations
and the hum of the wind.
You can tell yourself that it's just
your imagination. In your own head.
But it does not bring peace of mind.
They are ready.
They hunt in a pack.
The pups have practiced
for this moment in their games.
It's no longer a game.
The hunting skills have passed
through the generations of wolves.
Honed to perfection.
First, the prey is located.
Time to get organised.
Time to split up.
The prey is isolated,
then it's time to go for the kill.
This wolf is both a great hunter
and a concerned pack leader.
Hunting is not a game.
The cry of the pack leader!
The call is like a command
from high up above for the pups.
It must be obeyed
until they are themselves adults.
A herd will be short a member today.
After the wolf attack, the reindeer
are scattered around the forest.
Ailo is lost.
He wanders alone in the wild.
Or... not entirely alone.
A wolverine has noticed him.
Wolverines are ghosts
of the Northern forest.
The hunter follows its prey
without making a sound.
Patience is its forte.
It knows that Ailo is faster.
For this reason,
the wolverine circles the calf.
It predicts the direction
the reindeer will take.
the wolverine stalks in a tree -
so it can jump down onto Ailo.
Ailo recognises those sounds.
But the smell is strange.
No looks of familiarity.
Ailo is a stranger to them.
Where is Ailo's mother?
There is a smell of milk in the air,
but it is not Ailo's mother's.
No, she is not his mother.
The wolverine could not care less
about the smell.
This herd tamed by people
is like a buffet for the wolverine.
Dozens of reindeer
without wildlife instincts.
Ailo senses the threat.
The wolverine knows the watchdogs
guard the herd throughout the night.
But at dawn, they return to their
owners' camp -
and fall asleep.
So, it decides to wait.
After hours of searching, Ailo
finally notices a familiar scent.
This time, it really is his mother.
Ailo was saved this time
by the instincts of a wild animal.
Everything inherited from his mother.
Courage and a strong will.
These instincts are lost when
you live surrounded by four walls.
Some clay, it will wipe us out.
Is the world a tough place?
Yes, but it is also our world.
It is flesh and blood.
Water and fire. Pain and joy.
We push onwards.
We fight or pretend to fight.
Winter arrives without warning.
Time to survive in the snow
until spring.
Everybody has their own way.
For Ailo and his herd, winter
means returning to the fells, -
in order not to starve
in the deep snow.
The winds pile deep snowdrifts
in the valleys.
Underneath the snow
is the life-saving lichen.
Ailo is brave, and acts
as inspiration for others.
Step by step, he is becoming
the leader of the calves.
The smallest misstep, and the ghost
of the North will be on the move.
The wolverine can move more easily
in the snow thanks to its large paws.
Reindeer hooves sink
into the soft snow.
Nothing can stop the wolverine
when it is stalking its prey.
Except for... perhaps...
a female wolverine.
It's not unheard of. You can meet
someone who makes an impact.
Who makes your heart beat faster.
But how to get to know her better?
One alternative
is the direct approach.
And if that doesn't work...
You need to find another way
to make a good impression.
With a stunt.
Something like this.
Or how about this?
The trouble with stunts is that
you might get too carried away.
Love might fall to the side.
Love can wait.
Wolverines are better off
than arctic foxes.
There are plenty of them.
Speaking of love...
The arctic fox is
in its winter suit.
It is still searching for love.
But roaming has made it hungry.
But pine martens have
their own ways of escaping.
This might seem like a poor method
to try to deceive a predator.
"I'm here! Not anymore!
Now I'm here! No, I'm not!"
"I'm here, look at me!"
It can go on for a long time.
A very long time.
Until the opponent decides
they've had enough of the game.
"Over here!"
"Not anymore."
This is what happens in Ailo's world.
Nature defines the times of year
and the rhythm of the animals.
Also the start of the roaming.
An unbroken chain
through generations.
The direction of survival.
The reindeer must cross a stream
that is dangerously frozen.
You must learn to sense
where the thin sections of ice are.
There is no time to wait
for thicker ice.
The predators will soon come.
Ailo, do you remember
your first steps in snow?
Following your mother.
Mother is still watching out for you,
but you are taking the lead now!
You don't yet know, but your mother
is expecting another little one.
You have become
a true roamer of the North.
Like your family before you, you will
roam beneath the Northern Lights.
Since the beginning of time, these
lights have been maps in the sky.
They have directed your ancestors
through the arctic nights.
Soon you will also be able
to read the lights.
The sun has set beyond
the Arctic Circle for a long time.
There is now only a glowing sliver
of light known as the polar nights.
It is as beautiful
as both dawn and dusk.
It is as if time has frozen,
like this ice-covered lake.
Look, a familiar face.
Don't get upset, long-ears,
but Ailo cannot play anymore.
His experiences mean that Ailo
no longer sees the world like a calf.
What is that rising
from the slumbering lake?
Like a sorrowful tree.
Ailo, do you remember
the noble battles between the stags?
There was such a fire
in their hearts.
The antlers became entangled.
They were unable to get them apart.
They sank into the water,
and froze into trees.
A harbinger of doom.
Ailo knows this.
He can now read the signs of nature.
The raven leads the wolves to the
prey so it can pick at the bodies.
It is a bad idea to stay here.
They are coming.
The wolf is especially
interested in fresh meat.
The raven leads the way.
The reindeer don't have
a moment to waste.
They continue their journey,
They eventually reach the fells
where barely anything grows.
This time, speed helped the reindeer.
The snow here is too deep
for the wolves.
The snow storm is
a new test for Ailo.
The temperature can drop
to 40 degrees below zero.
Ailo reaches
the top of the windy fells.
The herd will spend
some of the coldest months here.
There is treasure here!
Their treasure. Lichen.
The lichen helps the reindeer
survive in this icy landscape.
The fells are freezing cold.
There are cold clays,
challenging clays.
Sad days and hungry days.
But there are also fortunate days.
Oh happy days!
Time has passed. Like an eternity.
Soon Ailo will have
his first birthday.
Soon his mother and the other does
will give birth to new calves.
The time has come
to live without mother.
To live the life of an adult.
That is what Ailo is practising.
Soon the sun will return to Lapland.
It will bring new adventures.
Go ahead, Ailo.
The young prince of Lapland.
The world is remarkable.
Sometimes conditions are so harsh
that you feel like saying:
"Forget me.
Pretend that I never existed."
But still, every time you lift
your head, and set off to roam, -
you realise that life
is a great adventure.
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