Tuntematon sotilas (1955)

»We don’t give a damn about Europe. We’ll take Karelia back and go home.«

Made only ten years after the fighting ended, chronicling Finland’s ill-fated and dubious »Continuation war« in collaboration with Nazi Germany against the Soviet »neighbours«. It begins with dramatic music. Sky and grass. Weary soldiers returning with their wounded and dead, arranging a makeshift field funeral. This slow, solemn intro stands in jarring contrast to the sometimes farcical scenes that follow, almost bursting from silly naïveté and over-the-top acting.

Mixing documentary-looking footage with staged and often didactic scenes. The abrupt swings in mood and tone make the story choppy, while characters come across as embarrassing and hard to sympathize with or even understand. New soldiers are introduced and killed off at breakneck pace, interesting glances at class and discipline issues drown in parodic stuffiness.

»The Union of Socialist Republics won, but second was stubborn little Finland!«

Nationally important I guess, but not in my book.

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