A forbidden affair

Suden
Vuosi
follows the complicated love-story between
Mikko, a middle-aged professor of literature (Kari Heiskanen) and his star pupil, the quiet, epileptic Sari (Krista Kosonen). Sari’s condition has
caused her to retreat from normal life, while Mikko’s fascination with 19th century
poetry is slowly alienating him from his family and colleagues; that is, until
the kindred spirits meet and begin their forbidden affair. The relationship
naturally causes a lot of friction, but Mikko and Sari manage to stick together
until the world accepts them, at least to some extent.

Visually, Saarela’s film is top-notch: Helsinki, for once, actually
looks like it’s a part of Europe and the
cinematography is captivating, especially when complemented by Tuomas Kantelinen’s beautiful score. Overall
the acting is decent, although Kosonen at times has trouble with the demanding
role, and it shows – luckily Heiskanen is usually there to pick her up. Worse,
the last third of the film gets confusing as a lot of plot lines are
artificially smoothed over (or ignored entirely), making the film seem like it
was wrapped up haphazardly and in a hurry.

{mosimage}It’s not that Suden Vuosi is a bad film, far from it – it’s just that its story
and style once again have difficulties keeping in synch with each other,
resulting in a film that builds up a lot of steam but ultimately falls flat
since the low-key story does not seem to demand such grand, over-the-top
imagery – like a faculty christmas party that looks like a rave (those classic
literature people sure know how to par-tay)
or a dramatically-lighted, erm, poetry lecturer doing push-ups – it’s just completely
out-of-place and silly, Aleksi Mäkelä
style. Somebody please get Saarela an honest-to-god action/thriller film to
direct – I want to see him do the Finnish Last
Boy Scout
, so just give the man a script.

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