Focus on Finland at the 59th Krakow Film Festival

The annual special section of the Krakow Film Festival, which presents the latest documentary, short and animated films from a selected country, this year will be dedicated to Finland. The Festival will host numerous screenings, as well as special events and industry meetings.



“It is yet another Baltic country, after Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania, whose cinema we want to present to the audience of the Krakow Film Festival” – Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła, the head of programme department of the Krakow Film Festival, explains. – “Finnish cinema is not known well enough in Poland, especially documentary and short films. And in Krakow we like to discover and show to the audience what they cannot say anywhere else. And there’s so much to discover! During the selection process we found out what filmmakers there find interesting and why Finland seems to be a perfect place to live. But is that really the case? The films we selected to this section show both the complicated history and contemporary problems that Finnish people have to face”.


The Focus on Finland section will begin on 28 May 2019 with the screening of a documentary film “Gods of Molenbeek” directed by Reetta Huhtanen. It is a moving, universal story about searching for the answers for the most important questions, shown through the adventures of two 6-year-old boys Aatos and Amine. In the infamous Molenbeek district of Brussels they listen to spiders, discover black holes and argue who should get the magic carpet that will take them to the land of their ancestors. Even though they come from two very different worlds, the boys are brought together not only by the same backyard but also a great friendship.



One of the most characteristic documentaries in this year’s selection is “Fuck off 2. Images from Finland” (dir. Jörn Donner). It’s a continuation of a 1971 film and an attempt to show the immense changes that took place in Finland during the last half of the century. The filmmaker himself, a doyen of Finnish cinema, is in the centre of this subjective and egocentric story. By starting conversation with numerous residents, he tries to find out if it is worth living, dying and loving in today’s Finland.  


“Power of Yoik” (dir. Paul Simma) takes us to the roots of the culture of the people living in the north of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Surrounded by barren landscape reindeer herders today still follow the pre-Christian traditions. Thanks to their extremely strong sense of identity, expressed also through yoiking – a specific form of rhythmic singing – they succeed in protecting the virgin terrains of Laponia from the dangers of mass tourism and industrialisation.


Hypnotisoija Olavi Hakasalo “Olliver Hawk” 1973
© Heikki Y. Rissanen/Otavamedia



Documentary “The Hypnotist”, directed by Arthur Franck, presents a complicated and fascinating life of the most famous Finnish hypnotist Olavi Hakasalo, aka. Olliver Hawk, who in 1980, following many years of success, was accused of fraud. The eccentric celebrity of his time is depicted, thanks to the numerous archival materials, recordings and his own stories, in the setting of the political and social changes whose part he becomes.


Another exceptional Finnish hero is presented in “Eastern Memories” (dir. Niklas Kulstromm, Martti Kaartinen). Gustaf John Ramstedt, prominent linguist, diplomat and traveller living at the turn of the twentieth century, recalls his extraordinary professional travels and scientific discoveries, which are illustrated with contemporary breathtaking footage of Mongolia, China, Japan and South Korea.



“The Magic Life of V” (dir. Tonislav Hristov) once again takes us to Finland, where we witness the eponymous hero, a young women named V, struggling with her childhood traumas. She adopts various methods in order to become independent and help her brother who suffers from intellectual disabilities. She gets involved in the world of LARPs to face her own past, but also to escape the bustle of real life and problems.


Six feature documentaries will be presented in the Focus on Finland section. What is more, the Krakow Film Festival will host the screening of short films organised together with the festival’s partner Tampere Short Film Festival, while in the Student Films section the festival audience will see Finnish student films selected by DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival. Finnish films will be also presented in the Kids&Youth section. The representatives of the film industry from Finland and Poland will also meet at the joint conference and numerous special events.


The partners of Focus on Finland section are: the Finnish Film Foundation, Tampere Short Film Festival and DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival.


The 59th Krakow Film Festival will take place 26 May – 2 June 2019.