Cinema DVD

Raja 1918

{mosimage}An emotive historical drama that shows the difficulties of setting a border with Russia after the Finnish Civil War.

Directed by Lauri Törhöhen, and with script of Aleksi Bardy, Raja 1918 is one of the most ambitious projects of Finnish cinema during last year; an epic historical drama that narrates the times of the formation of the new border with Russia after the victory of the Whites in the fratricide Finnish Civil War. To that area is sent a young official of the Finnish army, Carl von Munck (Martin Bahne) who finds himself alienated in a rural area that has had contact with Russia, with no understanding of official borders, for generations. There he will meet and fall in love with a teacher, Minna Haapkylä that happens to hide and be the girlfriend of one of the most wanted outlaws left from the civil confrontation, the wounded Tommi Korpela.

A complex script that involves the mix of Swedish, Finnish and Russian languages, and a naïve Martin Bahne that tries to find his place in the same way that young Finland tries to find its own identity, including brand new flag. The promising start of the film is not kept all along the action, and the quality decreases towards the end of the movie. Some delightful moments, as the special relation of von Munck with his Russian comrade and keeper of the Russian border find a counterpart in some extravagant situations like the final escape of the naked prisoners from the barracks. Especial mention to the short appearance of the most famous foreigner in Finland, who seems to be everywhere, from dancing with stars to writing books: Roman Schatz. 

Bahne´s interpretation is convincing, but the chemistry in the love relation with Miss Lintu (Haapkylä) does not work as well as expected. Not a bad movie though, and highly recommended for understanding a bit better one of the crucial historical moments of Finland.

Rating 3/5.

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