Another Bunch of Favorite Finnish Movies

Okay, so, a weird thing happened. Seven years ago I wrote this list to make a point about how bad Finnish movies are. Then they got good. Really good.

Sure, we’re still a country with a miniscule population. There’s about 50 cities which have a higher population just on their own versus our whole country, including one just over the border in Russia. So, we don’t have that many resources to make good movies, but something has definitely shifted. There’s regularly been Finnish movies on my yearly lists since 2017. I mean, you can’t really blame the lack of money, when cameras are everywhere and so many great movies have been made with small budgets. Somehow we finally got there.

That being said, not all the movies below are from the last seven years as I did add a certain pseudo-trilogy of movies I forgot from the first time around.

So, here’s a list in (almost) chronological order.

Komisario Palmun erehdys (1960)
Kaasua, komisario Palmu (1961)
Tähdet kertovat, komisario Palmu (1962)

Inspector (komisario in Finnish) Palmu is well-known character from Mika Waltari’s (a well-known Finnish author) books. These are pretty much in the tradition of Agatha Christie, but have a somewhat lighter tone. There’s a cadre of recurring characters around him and also certain actors are recycled throughout the movies in various roles. Actually, many of the actors are kind of legendary in Finland.

They did try to revive the series in the 70s, but that was an utter failure in terms of quality. It probably didn’t make money either, as there were no further movies… until now, when Renny Harlin (of all people) is reviving the character, but apparently he is doing this in English… for some reason.

Lost Boys (2020)

Not that Lost Boys. This is a documentary about a drug dealer, who takes his just friends to Thailand to celebrate the release from prison of one of them. It’s a dark movie and there is a kind of exploitation in this film I’m really not into, because the drug dealer is actually also the filmmaker, so be careful with this one. Still, it is a look into a world I’m gladly not that familiar with.

It is also a sequel to another movie (you don’t often get those with documentaries) called Reindeerspotting which I have never seen.

Hytti no. 6 (2021)

A nice little romantic comedy of sorts. It has a structure of one, but it never really becomes exactly that.

Sisu (2022)

This wasn’t really a hit, but it did get a pretty nice release all over the world. It’s a pretty Finnish take on a mid-budget action movie. Many critics around the world heralded Jorma Tommila as a new action star, but I don’t see that happening, as he is in his sixties.

W (2022)

Weird as fuck art movie which I’ve talked quite a bit about.

Pahanhautoja or Hatching (2022)

A debut horror movie, which lead to the director being contracted by an American agency, although I’m not sure that’s the best way to go, as often those agencies don’t really do the work outside of taking their cut, but I hope it all turns out well for her.

This is body horror with a weird twist, although in many ways the real horror is in the main character’s attempts to please her mother. Since she is young, the body horror aspects can also be understood through her puberty, which is often delayed for girls, who are as athletic as she is.

Kuolleet lehdet or Fallen Leaves (2023)

A story of love between two middle-aged people, who feel like they’ve been left behind by society. As I’ve said before, this feels like Kaurismäki finally perfecting what he has been trying to do for the past 40 or so years.

Je’vida (2023)

First movie in Skolt Sámi language. Since there’s only a few hundred people speaking that language left, I don’t think there will be many more.

It’s a good drama about the difficulty of living as part of a dying culture when surrounded by a larger one. It’s also a condemnation of the residential school system that was also implemented in Finland as a form of genocide.

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