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Finnish men doing their thing - drinking, carousing, chasing women in subfreezing darkness,
This review is from: Lapland Odyssey (DVD)
Finland is the place for REAL MEN of the old stereotype - hard-drinking, hard living, soft on women, and generally spiritually lost. Things go wrong for them, as for us all, but they are out there in the subfreezing darkness of Lapland for months, in danger of frostbite and a very lonely death, simply if their car or snowmachine breaks down. Furthermore, they're inclined towards suicide when life and women fail them, after a lot of heavy drinking in advance.
I think that this is a film appealing to the few - men who like to laugh at other men in a pickle, women and men with a fondness for Northern climes and Scandanavia in particular, women who like to fantasize about being highly desired in a desolate and dark place, since the outside world is so impossible. To the latter category perhaps I can even take claim in my earlier days, wandering around Rovaniemi and Swedish Lapland, having adventures and a great time in general. I loved the feeling of the autumn there, the RUSKA time, when the leaves turn and the air is still sometimes warm - before the grisly winter sets in. The people seemed to be warm and sincere and hospitable. So in getting this film, I was hoping for a nice nostalgic look at a place I had loved (1980's).
From the start I felt that the story was stupid. I didn't mind the dark humor of showing the "swing tree", where local fellows often commited suicide for very practical reasons of life failures. Our main protagonist Janne is young, unemployed, apparently living off an employed girlfriend. The year is 2007 and the TV system requires all Finns to get a digibox to get television signals. She insists he goes and get one on a late Friday, since he's bone idle anyway.
This impossible odyssey with two other young drinking friends, equally lost and lonely in the icy darkness, becomes a simple story of drinking and its mishaps, along with efforts to get a new woman, and then the very sad attempt of a nerdy fellow to get the angry woman's body in bed - while her lame boyfriend drinks in the Digibox Odyssey.
One stupid thing after another, yes indeed! But remember, this is Finnish male entertainment, geared for their own tastes. This is their idea of funny, to see others get into nasty scrapes and near death and great suffering. Have you seen LENINGRAD COWBOYS? There you would see the same kind of insanity, only it takes place while driving across USA in a hearse, with beer.
On the positive side, the acting certainly seems real - men as I remember them up there. Then there is the scenery of Lapland winter including the Aurelia Borealis, which did fill me with a weird old longing as I sit here in conjected multikulti madness San Francisco where the sun never seems to stop shining.
If you get a DVD, then you can skip and fastforward through the boring scenes, i.e. the drinking scenes.
I personally love the sound of the Finnish language and enjoyed hearing them swear a lot, just as I recalled them doing in 1983.
The Irish Film Board was also involved, fancy that! Did they supply the whiskey?
Finnish women? Objects of longing, but peripheral to the real lives of these men, apparently. And so it should be, they think.