• Film

Foreign Film Submissions, 2015: The Midwife (Finland)

Part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s mission is to foster greater understanding through world cinema. This year 72 Foreign Language films were submitted for Golden Globes consideration. Here is an overview of one of them.

The Midwife is a revealing motion picture about the end of an era in Finland’s history. It takes place mostly in the very northern part of the country, Lapland, in 1944, at the end of World War II. The movie is a strong statement about the events that took place, facts that many regular Finns of today do not know. “After the premiere in Finland, I received about 150 emails from people around the country and later on from Europe,” director Antti J. Jokinen says. “They were strong statements either for or against the facts in the movie, some written by elderly people, some four to five pages long.”

During the war German soldiers were stationed in Lapland, but when they left the area, they chose to burn down cities and villages where they had been stationed. And yet, most likely, Finland could not have stayed independent without their assistance. It was a very confusing time that for some reason was not totally known by the Finns. “Recently, we have not seen very many new stories brought to the big screen about the Second World War. The war in Lapland has not been told. In this Finnish film, we do not take a negative stand on the Russians, but we want to view the war objectively for everyone. It gives a new angle on how World War II affected small countries like Finland.”

The Midwife’s story is carried by a talented and much loved, award winning Finnish actress, Krista Kosonen, accompanied by several other well-known Finnish actors. For director Jokinen, this is the third movie with a female lead. “In Europe, movies with female leads can be very successful overall. The Midwife is a good example of that.” The Midwife was filmed in Finnish Lapland, Norway and Lithuania. Director Antti J. Jokinen, known among others for his movies Resident, starring Hilary Swank, and Purge, states: “The fact that The Midwife’s lead, Krista, is my wife is no way related to the selection of the lead part. I chose her from numerous actors that we test screened.”

Erkki Kanto