Yesterday I went to see a Finnish movie at the American Film Institute film festival here in Hollywood. The movie was called The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (suom. Hymyilevä Mies). It turned out to be a great movie. Probably the best Finnish movie I've ever seen.
The plot is based on a true story of a Finnish boxer, Olli Mäki, who is training for the feather-weight world championships match held in Helsinki. However, the movie is not about boxing, but finding your identity and being true to yourself. It's about love and, for me at least, it's about the nature of Finnish people. Or this one Finnish man, that in my mind, portrays Finland quite well. In this one scene in particular, where a reporter asks him what is he expecting from the match, and he answers "Otellaan ensin ja katellaan sitte" , (sorry, I don't know how to translate it into english so that it would maintain the same message and meaning) really made me laugh, and I thought to myself: These guys have managed to capture the spirit of Finland. A man who just wants to focus on the upcoming match in peace and quiet, but instead is thrown in the middle of a media whirl posing for cameras and making investors happy. And he is struggling to do so. That is just not who he is or what he wants to become.
I was super impressed by how well they'd managed to shoot the movie to look like it was in the 1960's Finland. There was no way you could tell that it was shot last year. As I found out when talking with the director Juho Kuosmanen after the screening of the movie, to film the movie they had used positive black and white film. That gave it this awesome grainy, organic and, well, old look that I thought was awesome. It really made me enjoy the movie even more.
Shoutout to this Finnish movie that actually has already done very well in many international film festivals around the world. Go see it if you get a chance. It's different and it's worth to go see. After the movie I felt kind of patriotic: Proud to be from Finland.