March 21, 2019

Finnish flicks spice up Toronto Hot Docs

Master hypnotist Olliver Hawk gets tangled up in Finnish politics due to his private practice.
Master hypnotist Olliver Hawk gets tangled up in Finnish politics due to his private practice.
SES

Toronto’s international documentary festival Hot Docs will screen a total of seven Finnish films at the end of April.

Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival, with an annual attendance of 200 000. This year, a total of 200 films will be screened in 11 venues. The three Finnish feature-length documentaries chosen for the programme are Arthur Franck’s Olliver Hawk, Reetta Huhtanen’s Gods of Molenbeek and Tonislav Hristov’s The Magic Life of V.

Olliver Hawk tells the story of a namesake master hypnotist, whose real name was Olavi Hakasalo (Juha Uutela). He became somewhat of a celebrity in Finland in the 1960s through his hypnosis show. The documentary is an intricate take on a cryptic persona that leaves a lot of blanks for the audience to ponder.

“The film discusses universal themes such as power and the subjectivity of truth, but the story’s context is very Finnish,” commented Franck. “That is why it will be interesting to see how a non-Finnish audience will experience the film.”

Reetta Huhtanen’s Gods of Molenbeek has been busy doing the rounds of film festivals, with screenings in Gothenburg and Prague and an upcoming one at Visions Du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland. The reception has been warm also for The Magic Life of V, which featured at Sundance and Berlinale and won the best documentary film award at the Sofia International Film Festival.

The four short films chosen for the Hot Docs are Milja Viida’s  Animal Bridge U-3033, Tinja Ruusuvuori’s Untitled (Burned Rubber on Asphalt), Vuokko and Virva Kunttu’s Star Shaped Scar and Pilvi Takala’s hilariously intriguing The Stroker.

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