FFSC presents Finnish films at the Swedish Cultural Center (1920 Dexter Ave. N. Seattle) on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except July and August) at 7:30 pm and on the following Friday at 2:00 pm. The films shown in 2016 are listed below.

January 27/29 Eedenistä pohjoiseen (Garden Lovers), 2014, 73 minutes, S (Parental Guidance).
Honored with a Jussi as Best Documentary in 2015, this beautiful film takes us into the lush gardens and into the lives of those who create and maintain them all over Finland. Director Virpi Suutari demonstrates that, for many of these devoted gardeners, their gardens are an expression of their love for their partners or spouses. This film is a welcome antidote to the winter blues.

February 24/26 Punainen nauha (Red Ribbon), 2012, 75 minutes, K 7.
Appropriate for the month of valentines is this romantic comedy about middle-aged computer support specialist whose bland life is turned upside down by the appearance, in the Tax Office where he works, of a woman with a red ribbon in her hair. In his quest to win her over, he seeks help from a fellow worker, with very mixed and laughter-producing results.

March 23/25 Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys, 2014, 84 minutes, Parental Guidance
Funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign as well as a grant from Finlandia Foundation, this revealing documentary takes us into the lives of Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki, the Arctic cowboys of the title, as they tend their reindeer herd over a year’s time in Finnish Lapland. Jessica Oreck, who produced, wrote and directed Aatsinki, has obvious regard for her subjects and their way of life.

April 27/29 Ariel, 1988, 69 minutes, K-11
Finland’s best known director, Aki Kaurismäki, turns 59 this month, and there is no better way to celebrate that than with his fifth and arguably finest film. There have been many Finnish road movies made since Ariel, but this is the model, as an un-employed coal miner heads south to an uncertain future. Named Best Foreign Language Film in 1991 by the National Society of Film Critics.

May 25/27 Kohtaamisia (Heart Beats), 2009, 86 minutes, K 7 (Adults and Mature Teens)
Closely coinciding with Mother’s Day is this rich story of the intersecting lives of a number of Finnish women – mothers and daughters, mothers and granddaughters, co-workers and friends. Nominated for numerous Jussi awards, including Best Director, for Saara Cantell’s sensitive work with her splendid cast. Note to men: this is not a “chick flick.”

June 22/24 Miehen kuva (Portrait of a Man), 2010, 81 minutes, K 3 (Parental Guidance)
This is the last in a trilogy of documentaries by Visa Koiso-Kanttila to explore men’s lives in today’s Finland. As such, it is a fine complement to Father’s Day. On his way to examining the effects of a childhood tragedy on his approaching middle age, Kalle Rissanen talks intimately with family members, including his own son, and friends. Humor often finds its way into the conversation.

July/August Contact the Swedish Club for summer film programming at

September 28/30 From the Front to the West Coast: The Recollections of the Finnish War Veterans in Vancouver, 2012, 66 minutes, Parental Guidance
The subtitle pretty well sums up the content of this documentary, based on interviews with the shrinking population of survivors of Finland’s wars who settled in Canada. Director Satu Bell will attend the September 28 screening to talk about the making of the film.

October 26/28 Aleksis Kiven elämä (The Life of Aleksis Kivi), 2001, 101 minutes, ST (Parental Guidance)
Born 182 years ago this month, Aleksis Kivi remains one of Finland’s great national literary figures, with Nummisuutarit (Cobblers of the Heath) playing at the National Theater and Seitsemän veljestä (Seven Brothers) in dance form at the National Ballet. Director Jari Halonen succeeds in situating Kivi’s life story in the cross-currents of the time in which he lived and wrote.

November 23/25 Yhden tähden hotelli (One Star Hotel), 2007, 73 minutes, K 3 (Parental Guidance)
Named Best Documentary at the Jussi awards in 2008, this story of one rocker’s life on the road will provide a well-deserved break from Thanksgiving preparations. The camera follows Jorma Kääriäinen and his band, the Agents, as they crisscross Finland playing one-night gigs. Kääriänen reflects on the tension between his love of playing music for others and being with the family at home.

December 28-30 Onni von Sopanen, 2006, 91 minutes, K 3 (Parental Guidance)
This family film is ideal for the holidays. Onni, the title character, is an 11-year-old boy who, like many children, begins to wonder if he is really the child of his parents. Added to his pre-teen angst is difficulty in dealing with a new and foreign-born boy at school. Director Joanna Vuoksenmaa finds both the comedy and the warmth in Onni’s experiences in growing up.