I don’t normally post things about movies I’ve been to see, but tonight was kind of noteworthy in a strange way. I went to the cinema and I was the only customer. Would I
have gone if I had known this would be the case? That’s difficult to say, but it was a kind of unusual experience. In the end the ladies working as projectionist and bar staff at my local arthouse cinema came and joined me in the auditorium, we decided on a having 30 second interval and we chatted about the movie afterwards. I discovered that neither of them had already seen the film yet, which made me feel slightly better about forcing them to stay to run the film for just me.
So, what was it that I went to see? A Finnish film by director Juho Kuosmanen, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki. It’s a boxing movie with a romantic dilemma at its heart. Based on a true story from 1962, it is stylishly shot in high contrast black and white making the step back to the sixties easy to make. Olli the central character, is preparing for the fight of his life to win the world title…..and then, he falls in love, just when he needs to be focusing every cell in his body on the physical and mental preparations to face the challenge posed by his American opponent.
So why was I alone in the cinema on a Sunday night? Are we not ready for Finnish film in the small, but very international town that I live in? Were people put off by the theme being boxing? My two companions for the evening were rather perplexed, it wasn’t even raining. The same cannot be said for 1962 Finland where it seemed to be torrentially raining for large sections of the film!