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February 25, 2009

Finnish filmmakers and spiritual themes

The best-known filmmaker working in Finland these days is probably Aki Kaurismäki, whose quirky, offbeat movies have often had a spiritual or biblical component. Probably his best-known film is The Man without a Past (2002), which concerns an amnesiac who gets to know certain members of the Salvation Army; I reviewed it for CT's sister magazine Books & Culture here.

But there is another Finnish filmmaker I have been hearing about for a while, every other year or so, and while I have not yet seen any of his films, I am curious to. His name is Klaus Härö, and whenever I have heard about him or his films, it has often been in contexts that suggest he is particularly interested in social and spiritual themes.

His newest film is Letters to Father Jacob, and while the IMDb lists it as being still in post-production, Variety has just posted a review based on a screening that took place at a European festival a few weeks ago -- and it just piques my curiosity even more:
A simple but transcendent story about faith and human frailty achieves a state of grace in "Letters to Father Jacob." Beautifully mounted fourth feature from Finnish helmer Klaus Haro ("Elina," "Mother of Mine," "The New Man") centers on a tough ex-con temporarily serving as a secretary for a blind pastor in rural Finland. The director's magisterial control over the proceedings makes something fresh and heartrending out of predictable material, particularly for older, thoughtful audiences. . . .
Definitely sounds like a film to watch out for.

Related Tags: letters to father jacob, man without a past


Food for thought (or rather, a light snack for thought): I'm already imagining how this film (and even the plot summary of this film), would be different if it came from "the Christian film industry." Of course, we won't really know until we see it, but I can guess...