Understanding Finland and the Finns through Movies and Films

It is often said that to understand a country and its people you should study the local history and the culture of the country. To understand Finns and Finland you can watch movies that tell stories of the lives of Finns. The following will give you some ideas on what you could watch/ look for.

TEXT | Päivi Auranen
Permalink http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe202201111784

If I was to name one movie, and one movie only to watch, I would name a film called Colorado Avenue. One reason for that is that the movie has been filmed in and around Vaasa and it tells a story of Hanna, who comes back to the Vaasa region with her young children after living in the U.S.

Perhaps the most commonly named film about Finland is, however, The Unknown Soldier, which tells the story of Finland and its people in the Second World War. Typically, Finns watch this film on our Independence Day, on December 6. The same author who wrote the book on which the film The Unknown Soldier is based also wrote a trilogy called Here, Beneath the Northern Star, which opens up the history of Finland and the lives of various social classes of Finns from the early 20th century on and this film- or even better this book- can really make you understand our society.

If you want a lighter approach and a scene set to today’s world, there are films and series taking place in Lapland. These include a comedy called Lapland Odyssey or Napapiirin sankarit and Arctic Circle or Ivalo, A Crime Drama Thriller.

The opposite to the lightness of the Lapland films mentioned above is a film called Ikitie, The Eternal Road. The story is harsh, but something that I believe speaks to people from all over the world. The film has a lot of English in together with some Russian, which probably adds to its appeal.

A final example of a Finnish miniseries with multiple languages in it (Finnish, Swedish, Spanish and German at least) is Invisible Heros. The events take place in Chile in the 70s and in Finland. For anyone interested in international matters and social sciences, this is a film of interest. Naturally, in addition to the films introduced here, there are also a number of quality films and series available in Finnish with subtitles in English. Make sure to catch some of these films to complete your education on Finland and your “Finnish experience”.

P. S. A very new favorite of mine is the life story of the creator of the Moomins, a movie on Tove Jansson. Also, the books on Moomins for adults and children alike in a number of languages is a whole world of its own.

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