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Horror, stick horses and one furry space sidekick

This week, Finnfacts trainee Elisa Häggström tells why a Finnish influence can be felt in cinemas around the world.

Finland’s population of 5.5 million might not be the world’s largest, but recent record-breaking attendance figures proves there is quite a few cinephiles in this northern corner of the world. In fact, nine million tickets were sold last year.

Domestic film has become a particular crowd pleaser, once again reaching a market share that is among the biggest in Europe. This local enthusiasm is mirrored by the country’s growing diversity of films entering international markets.

Until recently, Aki Kaurismäki’s oddball wit and monosyllabic delivery might have seemed to be all that Finland has to offer on the big screen. However, headlines from the past 12 months makes it clear that filmgoers worldwide are being challenged to expand their definition of Finnish film.

On the one hand, Unknown Soldier and Tom of Finland, proves that the global audience is curious about genuinely Finnish stories. The same applies for documentaries, such as Hobbyhorse Revolution, which bring forth new aspects of the country’s culture.

On the other hand, there are other examples proving that the country does not solely have to rely on grand stories with a Finnish bent for its global success. Euthanizer’s black humour-driven horror story and Finland’s first superhero Rendel show that Finns have plenty to say about genre films.

Furthermore, the recent rebirth of the Star Wars saga has not been without a Finnish touch. Both the actor playing Chewbacca and the alien language of Episode VII come from Finland. And speaking of otherworldly, LOTR fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief with the knowledge that Finnish director Dome Karukoski is at the helm of a forthcoming biopic of its author, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Humble as they might seem, more and more Finns are thus expressing, and showing, that the domestic market is not big enough for their cinematic talents.

From Nokia, to Supercell and education, Finland has always punched above its weight on the global stage. Cinema is no different, with the industry currently pushing forward new types of ambassadors for Finnishness.

Published on 25.01.2018