🇫🇮 LAND OF HOPE 🇫🇮
Land of Hope aka Oma Maa (2018) is a Finnish drama/history/romance/war film available on Netflix U.K. 1 hour 48 minutes in length in Finnish with subtitles. Rated 15 U.K.
“Anni lives a sheltered life until she falls in love with Veikko, who has been wounded at the end of the Continuation War. Anni leaves her life behind and moves with Veikko to North Karelia.” IMDb
Oona Airola as Anni Malmberg
Konsta Laasko as Veikko Naskali
Helmi Linnosmaa as Hilkka Malmberg
Antti Virmavirta as Kalevi Malmberg
Marjaana Maijala as Ella Malmberg
Hannu-Pekka Björkman as Kullervo
Arto Heikkilä as Vertti Hiironen
Writers: Antti Heikkinen, Markku Pölönen
Director: Marku Pölönen
Composer: Pessi Levanto
Cinematographer: Konsta Sohlberg
Editor: Kimmo Taavila
Production Designer: Antti Nikkinen
Costume Designer: Riita Peteri, Anu Pirilä
The character Livo speaks Karelian, which is typically spoken in areas that were ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after the Continuation War. It is still spoken in those areas.
The title “Oma maa” means “Our Own Land”, the promise of land made to war veterans.
I love a good historical drama whether it be a series or film and because I know very little of Finland’s history Land of Hope immediately appealed when I saw it on a list of Finnish films now available on Netflix U.K. So what did I make of this movie?
Let me start with some of the positives… The landscapes are stunning! Lakes, forests, sunsets, they are all here and captured really well. So too are other locations and sets, whether it be the bakery factory, a farmstead or a small town.
The recreation of the setting after the war is atmospheric and seems accurate. We have old buses, cars, wagons, tractors and then details of the whole production design with the decoration of sets and meticulous costuming. The makeup is effective too.
I liked the use of music in this film, everything from the original score to Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 2: VI. Waltz No. 2.
The opening of the film is military combat and for me, it lost sufficient impact simply because I knew none of the characters. Yes, what happens is awful, but if you want (as a filmmaker) to make people FEEL then connection with at least one character is essential for the viewer. Technically the scene is good and the direction solid but… just not enough.
I spent too many minutes wondering if the main female character was married to one of the fatalities of this attack until I realised she was his sister. Perhaps that was just me being dim but I was confused.
This film often felt underwritten to me and although some of the dialogue was good other parts just didn’t convey enough.
The acting itself is really good, however, I did not at any time see any real chemistry between the female and male leads. I’m not sure if this was because of the way it was filmed, written or played but it never had the feeling of a great love story.
There are also other events in this which I know are supposed to be shocking and terrible but nothing impacted me deeply enough. I think that this film could have benefitted from being edited down as parts really dragged.
Is this film worth the watch? Well, I did watch it all despite it being a bit of a slog and for the scenery and the reconstruction of the era (if these are on your tick list), it is worth it. I also think that if you enjoy the less gritty historical type of drama it might be something you could enjoy, however, overall this just didn’t work for me.
Awards: 3 Wins
Jussi Awards (2019) Best Leading Actress ~ Oona Airola; Best Production Design ~ Antti Nikkinen
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (2019) Audience Choice Award, Midnight Sun – Fiction ~ Markuu Pölönen
More Finnish Films:
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