The amount of 1,5 million viewers for domestic films was reached on Finnish screens by 1 November. This year of Finnish cinema has been exceptionally successful and memorable, especially when it comes to documentaries. A correspondingly broad screening of Finnish documentary has never been seen before. This has reflected as excellent amount of admissions with the most successful films being “Reindeerspotting” (screened at PÖFF in Just Film programme), nearly 70 000 tickets sold, “Steam of Life” with over 40 000 viewers, and “Vesku” (14 Selected Films) by Mika Kaurismäki with 35 000 viewers. For the first time in the history of Finnish cinema a documentary film has been nominated for an Oscar of foreign films, and the same “Steam of Life” is also one of three nominees for the documentary of the year in the EFA-gala that is held in Tallinn on 4 December. This bare but gentle sauna story about Finnish men has won several awards on foreign film festivals, the latest on the Nordic Film Days of Lübeck in the beginning of November.
Feature films have also spoken well to the Finnish cinema audience. The most popular domestic film has been a family story “Ricky Rapper and the Bicycle Thief” with nearly 350 000 viewers. The most viewed domestic film at the moment presents a rather rare type of comedy. “Lapland Odyssey” is a road movie located to Lapland where three friends head up to get a digibox. A film located in a mental hospital milieu “Princess” (competition EurAsia) has been one of the autumn’s guaranteed succeeders. It has by this far been seen by 250 000 Finns. The same amount of viewers has a refreshingly brisk youth description “Run Sister Run” (Just Film), the first film by Marja Pyykkö. It wonderfully represents a rare but qualified type of Finnish youth cinema. Another kind of growth story of a young girl, “Pudana – Last of the Line” takes place on the peninsula of Jamal in the former Soviet Union, where children are separated from their families and roots, and taken into the boarding schools to learn Russian language and culture.
Festival’s opening film, “Rare Exports: the Christmas Tale” which is the debut of Jalmari Helander, only awaits for its domestic premier in the end of December, but has already made it around different foreign film festivals. The film premiered in August at the international film festival of Locarno, Switzerland, where it was awarded with a Variety magazine special award. “Rare Exports” is a little different kind of a Christmas story located in Lapland, which offers a whole new perspective to Santa Claus we all know and love.
Have good moments among new Finnish films. Hopefully they speak to you, our neighbors, as deeply as they have spoken to us on the other side of the Gulf of Finland.