April 12, 2018

Finnish film to capture audiences in Belgrade

Linnea Skog (left) made her feature debut in the movie Little Wing with Paula Vesala.
Linnea Skog (left) made her feature debut in the movie Little Wing with Paula Vesala.
Tuomo Hutri

The renowned Serbian director Bojan Vuletić will curate the Finnish Film Week in Belgrade, to be held on 19–23 April and attended by the recent Jussi-awarded director-screenwriter Teemu Nikki and producers Kaarle Aho and Ari Matikainen.

The film week will consist of nine feature films released in recent years, of which half are documentaries. Among the offering are Aho’s Law of the Land (Armoton maa) and The Good Postman, Matikainen’s The Unforgiven, and Nikki’s Euthanizer (Armomurhaaja).

Teemu Nikki’s Euthanizer, a grim horror story about a mechanic who euthanises animals, recently received international recognition, being awarded the Best Screenplay Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival in November.

The acclaimed Hobbyhorse Revolution, directed by Selma Vilhunen will also continue its gallop towards broader international audiences at the film festival in Belgrade. Vilhunen’s Little Wing (Tyttö nimeltä Varpu) will open the festival, starring Finnish artist-actress Paula Vesala.

In curating the week, Bojan Vuletić has had time to ponder on the essence of Finnish cinema.

“Finnish film has always been unique and distinct: A combination of minimalism, passion and quirky Finnish humour,” he says, “The young auteurs are continuing this tradition, but also delivering their individual feel into the mix. The movies by Selma Vilhunen, Katja Gauriloff and Teemu Nikki are bold, modern and filled with authentic poetics.”

However, the most anticipated film at the event may just be The Unforgiven, directed by Lars Feldballe-Peterson. The Danish-Finnish documentary is centred on its main character Esad Landzo, a former corrections officer at the Bosnian prison Čelebić, in 1992. The film raises questions about repentance and forgiveness and touches on sensitive issues about the Balkan Wars.

The documentary was shown at the Sarajevo Film Festival last autumn. According to producer Matikainen it made the difficulty of the subject clear, but he is looking forward to the screening in Belgrade.

“Now the audience in Belgrade represents the opposing side of the war, and of course I hope this film could play its part in supporting the reparative discussion about the Balkan Wars.”

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