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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Unknown Soldier

Some time ago I bought a DVD of the Finnish film UNKNOWN SOLDIER (Finnish: TUNTEMATON SOTILAS) and I finally managed to watch it a couple of afternoons ago. Luckily, it comes with English subtitles, as my Finnish is non-existent!


The film was made in 2017, and was based on a Finnish classic best-selling book of the same name by Väinö Linna. This was published in 1954, and had previously been made into films in 1955 and 1985. An extended version of the film was transmitted as a five-episode miniseries.

The film tells the story of machine gun company during the Continuation War between Finland and Russia. It begins in June 1941 with the company being mobilised and sent into action, and follows them during the advance into Karelia – which had been captured and handed over to the Russians after the Winter War – and the capture of the Russian city of Petrozavodsk, the Russian capital of the Karelia. The next section of the film covers the trench warfare period of the war, which ran from 1942 to 1943, and is followed by the withdrawal from the captured area due to the Russian Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive during the Summer of 1944. The film ends with the Armistice which ended the fighting in September 1944.






Other than the period when the film covers one soldier going on leave (Antero "Antti" Rokka) and the interaction between the soldiers and some of the population of Petrozavodsk, there are lots of very bloody battle scenes. Many of the characters die, especially during the retreat when the company is ordered to stem the Russian advance, and their deaths are shown as sudden and sometimes very brutal. The weaponry used seems to be authentic-looking, and the use of photo-manipulation is well done, with the minimal use of CGI.

UNKNOWN SOLDIER was directed by Aku Louhimies, written by Aku Louhimies and Jari Olavi Rantala, and produced by Elokuvaosakeyhtiö Suomi 2017, Kvikmyndafélag Íslands, and Scope Pictures. It was released on 27th October 2017, and is available on DVD. An extended version based on the TV miniseries is available on Blu Ray.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Bob

    If you enjoyed the film I can highly recommend the book (in translation of course). I talked about it a bit (and another film of a Linna novel) in my blog last September.

    Being a Fennophile I am biased of course.

    Terveisin

    Chris

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    Replies
    1. Nundanket,

      Thanks for that information. I did not know that it was available in translation, and I will now look out for a copy.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Thanks Bob and I'll keep an eye out for this.

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    Replies
    1. Steve J.,

      I bought my copy in a branch of ASDA’s home stores. I think up that it cost me £7.00.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Hi Bob,
    Pleased you enjoyed 'UNKNOWN SOLDIER' on DVD. The last DVD I watched was a long time ago 'The Master of The World' starring Vincent Price and Charles Bronson- the Movie was based on the writings of Jules Verne. Stay Well there in London. Cheers. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      In the past, I used to watch lots of DVDs, but since the advent of streaming services like Netfix and Amazon Prime, I’ve bought very few.

      I saw THE MASTER OF THE WORLD many years ago, and seem to remember enjoying it.

      Keep safe and keep well,

      Bob

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