Tarja Mattila – Tupakkatytöt aka Tobaccogirls (2006)

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The documentary film Tobacco Girls is a story of working class women that were made redundant from the Amer tobacco company in the spring of 2004. It describes the last days in the factory and what kinds of problems women face in trying to find new jobs. The film follows the lives of the few women made redundant over a year and especially how this affects them and the kinds of problems they have to solve.

Most of these women have been working in the factory for the best part of their working lives and it is difficult to take on a new job. Younger women try to retrain themselves or are looking out for new employment. One of the main characters has a case being heard in a labour court because associates have afflicted her. The other one finds a solution by undertaking to be her mother´s carer.

The theme developed shows how globalization has changed the thinking in manufacturing. Factories are disbanded so that the production can be removed to an area where labour costs are lower, and like at Amer, to enhance the company image. Older workers become unemployed.
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Veli-Matti Saikkonen – Manillaköysi AKA The Manila Rope (1976)

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First of all, You have to give points for pulling off using humouristic elements as brilliantly as this, to describe something as dreadful as war. There aren’t many movies that have achieved that without feeling constrained, or more or less morally repulsive. Kubrick and Coppola were masters of that section, and Veli-Matti Saikkonen doesn’t come far behind with his interpretation of Veijo Meri’s classic novel.
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Risto Jarva – Ruusujen aika AKA A Time of Roses (1969)

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Synopsis: Taking place in the year 2012, the film is a fantasy of a “utopian” time when all class conflicts have been erased, at least superficially. A history researcher Raimo Lappalainen becomes obsessed by the life of nude model Saara Turunen, a woman who died in 1976, and tries to reconstruct it for TV, with help from an actress. At the same time a strike in a nuclear plant will lead to a violent upsurge, which media only manages to keep secret from public with a clever cover-up.
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Teuvo Tulio – Laulu tulipunaisesta kukasta aka Song of the Scarlet Flower [+Extras] (1938)

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Song of the Scarlet Flower was Teuvo Tulio’s first independently produced film, and the earliest of his surviving films.

“I had for a while been thinking of filming Johannes Linnankoski’s novel. Surprisingly this popular Don Juan-tale hadn’t yet been filmed in Finland. It had been done in Sweden twice: first as a silent film by the world-famous Mauritz Stiller and later as a sound film by the esteemed director Per-Axel Branner.

I knew the task would be hard. Viewers often maintain overblown memories of movies they have liked. The fight for audience’s approval would be strenuous. Moreover, the Swedes had had two top-notch actors, Lars Hanson and Edvin Adolphson, playing Olavi. My only chance would be wild rapids-riding scenes and intensive love scenes, which were my specialty. The movie was an enticing challenge, I believed I would be able to offer something new and different. These were bold thoughts, but it meant a lot to me and my career. I decided to try.” Continue reading

Arto Koskinen – Kahlekuningas AKA The Handcuff King (2002)

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In the 1970s, a 12-year-old boy Esko lives in Tornio, northern Finland, a town bordering Sweden across the river. Esko befriends a Swedish boy, Pate, and learns to share his obsession for Harry Houdini, the legendary escape artist. While standing handcuffed on the railway bridge, contemplating a stunt jump into the icy river, he reminisces the dramatic events of the summer before. For the viewer, his problems are presented with warm humour: gang fights, feeling guilty for lying, Father losing his job, Mother losing her nerves, not to mention Grandfather having lost his willingness to speak since a traumatic war experience 30 years earlier. Continue reading