A tribute to Finnish contemporary cinematography is coming to the Greek Film Archive hosting the “New Finnish Cinema” festival, commencing today, March 21, until March 27. The festival, co-organized by the Greek Film Archive, the Finnish Institute of Athens and the Finnish Film Foundation, showcases ten contemporary fiction films and three documentaries.

Putting Finland in the spotlight for the first time in Greece, the festival will feature discussions internationally acclaimed directors who depict their perspectives on challenging social issues through a diverse film lineup with English and Greek subtitles.

Finnish cinema

Comprised of a younger generation of experimental filmmakers who often push the boundaries of existing cinematic genres, Finnish cinema has been steadily gaining attention at major festivals for a decade. Addressing topics such as Finland’s middle class, social changes, family structure, right-wing extremism and the refugee crisis, Finnish cinema aims to provoke critical thinking on these issues and the ways Western states deal with them.

While Aki Kaurismäki’s films have offered a glimpse of Finland, new Finnish cinema complements the image of this northern country through its particular perspective, choosing at times unusual, pleasantly disturbing stories and images to provide answers to questions of our time.

A milestone year for the new Finnish cinema is considered to be 2016 when Juho Kuosmanen (guest of honor in the festival) was awarded with the “Un Certain Regard” prize at Cannes for his film “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki”.

Additionally Kaurismäki’s award-winning film “The Match Factory Girl” (1990) honored at the Berlinale in 1990, is another landmark for the Finnish cinema. Both films are scheduled to be screened in the tribute, along with others selected in major international festivals, featuring directors such as Tia Kouvo, Hamy Ramezan, and Selma Vilhunen (Berlinale), J-P Valkeapää and Mikko Myllylahti (Cannes), Hanna Bergholm (Sundance), Susanna Helke (Locarno), Teemu Nikki (Toronto), Einari Paakkanen (Copenhagen), and Miia Tervo (Gothenburg).

The success of Finnish cinema largely relies on well-crafted scripts, solid film education, international co-productions, effective promotion of films by the Finnish Film Foundation, and generally on an excellent film infrastructure. In recent years, women directed more than half of Finnish films.

The Festival’s Program

Thursday March 21

20:00 Family Time / Mummola

Director: Tia Kouvo, Fiction / 114’/ Finland/Sweden 2023

The family has gathered on Christmas, the celebration is overshadowed by tensions. Family Time is a humorous and sharp study on family relations; on loneliness and being together; on how we try to find connection, but don’t always succeed.

(Admission to the festival’s first day will be accepted by invitation only)

Friday 22 March

19:00 Hatching / Pahanhautoja

Director: Hanna Bergholm* / Fiction / 91’/ Finland 2022

Hatching is a horror drama about a young gymnast girl Tinja, who tries desperately to please her mother, a woman obsessed with presenting the image of a perfect family life to the public through her blog. Then, one night, Tinja finds a strange egg.

*Director in attendance

21:30 Dogs Don’t Wear Pants/ Koirat eivät käytä housuja

Director: J-P Valkeapää*/ Fiction / 105’/ Finland 2019

The story follows Juha who develops an unexpected but powerful connection with a dominatrix named Mona, following a tragic event in his life. The movie tells a darkly humorous story of loss, love and the sweet pain of being.

*Director in attendance

Saturday March 23

19:00 The Match Factory Girl /Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö

Director: Aki Kaurismäki / Fiction / 69’/ Finland / Sweden 1990

Kaurismäki’s The Match Factory Girl portrays Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. The Match Factory Girl closes out the “Proletariat Trilogy”.

20:15 Filmmaking in Finland, Roundtable

The screening is followed by a roundtable: “Filmmaking in Finland”, introduced by Maria Komninou/Greek Film Archive and Jaana Puskala/Finnish Film Foundation, and moderated by Ingo Starz/curator. Participants: Hanna Bergholm, Juho Kuosmanen and J-P Valkeapää. The roundtable will be conducted in English.

21:30 The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki /Hymyilevä mies

Director: Juho Kuosmanen*/ Fiction / 92’ / Finland/Germany/ Sweden 2016

Olli Mäki appears at the world championship title in featherweight boxing. The road to fame and fortune lies waiting for him. But there is a problem – he has fallen in love with Raija. Do you want to be a world champion or the champion of your own life?

*Director in attendance

Sunday March 24

19:30 Aalto

Director: Virpi Suutar /Documentary / 99’/ Finland 2020

It is the story of Alvar and Aino Aalto, Finnish masters of modern architecture and design. They shared their lives and great passion for organic human-scale architecture. The “little human” was always at the center of their work.

21:30 Any Day Now / Ensilumi

Director: Hamy Ramezan / Fiction / 82’/ Finland 2020

Ramin and his Iranian family have been living in a refugee center in Finland for a while now. As the boy is enjoying his school holidays, the family receives a negative decision on their asylum application. They fill the last possible appeal.

Monday March 25

19:15 Aurora

Director: Miia Tervo/ / Finland 2019 / Fiction / 106’

One night at a hot-dog stand in Finnish Lapland Aurora, a party animal, meets Iranian Darian. Darian needs to marry a Finnish woman to get an asylum for himself and his daughter. After meeting his sweet daughter, Aurora agrees to help him.

21:30 Stupid Young Heart / Hölmö nuori sydän

Director: Selma Vilhunen/ Finland / Netherlands / Sweden 2018 / Fiction / 102’

They are an unlikely young couple: Kiira, star of a dance troupe, and Lenni, a skinny skater. Then Kiira becomes pregnant. They decide to keep the baby, but struggle with the situation soon. Lenni finds support by a group of right wing extremists.

Tuesday March 26

19:30 Ruthless Times — Song of Care / Armotonta menoa — Hoivatyön lauluja

Director: Susanna Helke/ Finland 2022 / Documentary / 92’

Ruthless Times – Songs of Care is a documentary-material based film, partly using choir songs in portraying the future chal[1]lenges of the elderly care sector. It shows the struggle of people within the healthcare system and sounds a bit like Brecht.

21:30 The Woodcutter Story / Metsurin tarina

Director: Mikko Myllylahti, Finland 2022 / Fiction / 98’

Pepe is a woodcutter in an idyllic small town in Finland. In the span of a couple of days, a series of tragic events gradually destroys his quiet and happy life – but Pepe seems to be fine with it all. As if he held a secret to existence that is hard to grasp.

Wednesday March 27

19:45 Karaoke Paradise / Karaokeparatiisi

Director: Einari Paakkanen/ Finland 2022/ Documentary / 75’

Evi, Finland’s most experienced karaoke hostess, wants to hug her customers’ pain away. Again and again she packs her stuff and travels through northern Finland. Karaoke Paradise shows how the Finns have found a unique way out of loneliness.

21:30 Euthanizer / Armomurhaaja

Director: Teemu Nikki/ Finland 2017 / Fiction / 85’

This humorous noir tells the story of Veijo, a 50-year-old mechanic whose second job is to put sick pets to sleep. He has only one principle: he doesn’t kill healthy dogs. Α quirky moral tale about animal rights and human responsibilities.


Ticket per screening: 5€
Pass for 3 screenings: 10 €
Online booking: https://tickets.tainiothiki.gr/

The 3-screenings pass is only available at the GFA box office.