Finland

Risto Jarva – Työmiehen päiväkirja aka The Diary of a Worker (1967)

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Following passages selectively translated from Risto Jarva Society’s website:

Risto Jarva was a central director in the Finnish New Wave. His career is one of the most extensive and important in the history of Finnish cinema, even though he died in a car accident at the age of 43.

Risto Jarva was a humanist and an engineer within one person. The focus of his work is on the human between society and nature. In his feature films and short documentaries he mapped dominant and alternative ways of life, without forgetting neither history nor the future. That’s why his movies are both subjective and objective evidence of the way Finland was in the years 1962-1977. Read More »

Virpi Suutari – Eleganssi AKA Elegance (2016)

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Elegance is a short film about a group of Finnish men, and the style and elegance of hunting partridge and pheasant. The film’s protagonists are all wealthy men, for whom hunting is a treasured hobby, a passion and a way of life. The film unfolds in three acts on a scenic autumnal field. Meet the three businessmen: Nokia’s former CEO, Jorma Ollila, engineering company Kone Oy’s owner, Antti Herlin, and the charming narrator, Publishing Company Otava’s former CEO, Heikki A. Reenpää. His narration leads the viewer through hunting expeditions, creates the mood and introduces the people. Almost equally important are the gentlemens’ dogs: handsome pointers and setters, whose pedigrees, abilities and hunting prowess ultimately determine whether any birds are caught at all. Read More »

Mika Kaurismäki – The Girl King (2015)

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An enigmatic young woman in conflict – torn between reason and passion; between her woman’s body and being raised as a prince; between the ancient and modern worlds and between the brilliance of her educated mind and the conservative forces around her. Crowned Queen at the age of six, Kristina of Sweden was thrust into a labyrinth of power and tradition, where a court of austere, Lutheran men pressure her to marry and produce an heir to fulfill her destiny. She finds sanctuary and love with her lady-in-waiting, the beautiful and elegant, countess Ebba Sparre, although the Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, pressures her to pair with his son, Johan. Soon the forces around the Queen realize that Ebba is the key to controlling her, but they underestimate Kristina’s brilliant mind and her drive to be free. Read More »

Rauni Mollberg – Maa on syntinen laulu AKA The Earth is a Sinful Song (1973)

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“The Earth Is a Sinful Song” is the somewhat misleadingly lyrical title of this film. It is based on a novel set in Finnish Lapland in 1947-48 and concerns itself, in unusually intimate detail, with the lives of the inhabitants of a small, rustic community, and with particular emphasis on one family—an old man, his unhappy son, haggard daughter-in-law and teen-age granddaughter.

One is tempted to call these lives harsh and brutal. But that would be an urban judgment, passed upon people who exist so close to nature that the appearance of an automobile about midway through the film jars a viewer. No, these lives are simply different, stripped almost bare of what we like to call the amenities of civilization. They have no luxuries. Hardship is omnipresent. Death comes among them frequently, taking people and animals. Pleasures are simple—an outdoor dance (where a drifter is killed); drink; religion; the sauna; and sex, indulged in and depicted with a minimum of fuss.

The seasons pass. Lives change. People grow up, grow older, die, are killed, are born. The cycle is ancient and eternal; the landscape is literal paradise and figurative hell. — (The New York Times). Read More »

Aki Kaurismäki – Laitakaupungin Valot AKA Lights in the Dusk (2006)

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synopsis – AMG:

A lonely night watchman finds love but comes to regret it in this offbeat comedy from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. Koiskinen (Janne Hyytiainen) works as a security guard at a shopping mall in Helsinki, where he keeps an eye on the place after hours. Koiskinen is a quiet nebbish who doesn’t have much luck with women, and the closest thing he has to a girlfriend is Aila (Maria Heiskanen), a woman who runs a sausage cart Koiskinen frequents after work, though he doesn’t realize she carries a torch for him. Koiskinen is killing time in a shabby café when he meets Mirja (Maria Jarvenhelmi), a beautiful blonde who appears to be interested in him. Koiskinen is immediately smitten and is willing to marry her even before they have their first date, but what he doesn’t know is Mirja’s interest in him is not sincere — she’s working with Lindholm (Ilkka Koivula), a career criminal who has hired her to get some security codes from Koiskinen so they can stage a heist at the mall where he works. However, even after Koiskinen is betrayed by Mirja and becomes the leading suspect in the robbery, he still loves her and can’t bring himself to tell the police what he’s learned about her. Laitakaupungin Valot (aka Lights In The Dusk) received its world premier at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Read More »

Klaus Härö – Äideistä parhain AKA Mother of Mine (2005)

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Quote:
The film highlights a significant event in Finnish history — that during WWII, around 70,000 Finnish children were sent to Sweden among other countries to be temporarily hosted as their real parents stayed in Finland to continue in the war. The story is made accessible and immediate by taking us through the experiences of one child — Eero (Topi Majaniemi) — who as a 9-year old boy is dealing with language differences, a desire to return home, and a host family that can provide materially, but maybe not in the non-material ways that Eero really needs.
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Auli Mantila – Pelon maantiede (2000)

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IMDB:
When her sister is mugged and raped, Oili, a young female forensic dentist, meets a group of abused women who have taken matters to their own hands to make the living in fear and just letting it happen stop.
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