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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Virpi Suutari – Hilton! (2013)

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The roughly beautiful Hilton! gives the viewer a glimpse of life in a modern society, a life that young persons lead. Janne, Toni, Mira, Pete and Make live in a tenement owned by a youth foundation. Their attempts to take control over their own lives have been in vain. Toni says that it is gruesome to see oneself as socially excluded, but apparently he is just that. Despite of these facts, the group sticks together. Make, the father figure, has his freezer full of food: nobody has to leave his place hungry.

Life gives each one a quantum of care, and the main characters find a little something to lean on in the world. Make cleans his apartment and by doing so, he also cleans the mess that his life has turned into. A baby girl Luna is born and fills her young mother with love. Hope lives in the heart of the tenement and its inhabitants. Continue reading

Ville Jankeri – Pussikaljaelokuva AKA Sixpack (2011)

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Pussikaljaelokuva shows us a, particularly trying, day in the life of three marginalized young men: Marsalkka (Jussi Nikkilä), Henninen (Eero Milonoff) and Lihis (Ylermi Rajamaa). They are just out to enjoy a nice summer’s day with the intention of playing yahtzee, but things don’t quite go their way. They have their run-ins with a recently deceased neighbor, uninterested under aged girls and the police. Being chronically broke, they even manage to flub a courtesy visit with the intention of loaning some drinking assets. Even their attempts at leaving Kallio prove utterly futile.
Kallio, a district of Helsinki, is the main setting of the film, and some would argue the film is a contemporary love letter to it. Finnish critics have especially praised the film’s loving depiction of Kallio.
Pussikaljaelokuva is a comedy with nary a plot, driven by characters and dialogue… And the power of friendship. Continue reading

Mikko Niskanen – Käpy selän alla AKA Under Your Skin (1966)

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Mikko Niskanen’s famous new wave film about the ’60s urban intellectuals who get faced in the Finnish countryside with loads of beer.

Review via Siffblog (Land of the Midnight Sauna: Part One, by Kathy Fennessy):

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In regarding the Finnish New Wave, it’s tempting to look for antecedents to Aki Kaurismäki’s pitch-black comic style. On the basis of Mikko Niskanen’s Skin, Skin (1966) and Eight Deadly Shots (1972), however—I’ve also seen Jörn Donner’s Sixtynine 69 and Anna—Kaurismäki’s miserablist masterworks, like Drifting Clouds (1996) and The Man Without a Past (2002), seem more idiosyncratic than ever.

To be sure, humor abounds in Skin to Skin, AKA Skin, Skin, but it isn’t brushed with blackness, while Eight Deadly Shots is downright Bressonian in its tragic trajectory; humor isn’t part of the equation at all. Only six years separate the two, but they couldn’t have less in common, and feel like the products of separate sensibilities. (The NWFF will also be screening Niskanen’s Song of the Scarlet Flower from 1971.) Continue reading

Minna Virtanen – Levottomat 3 (2004)

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Plot summary from IMDB:
Thirty-something Jonna, successful ad executive with cozy architect husband Niklas and two small children, leads a double life. She is constantly on the lookout for quick casual sex. When she starts seeing handsome and rich young yacht owner Aleksi, things really start going awry in her personal and professional life. While her artist sister Sanna provides her with suitable alibis, TV sex therapist Nora tries to help her come to terms with her sex addiction. Continue reading