TALVISOTA, Finland's 1989 nominee for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, is a deeply moving, epic drama commemorating that country's heroic border stand against a massive Russian invading force during the Russo-Finnish War. However, one need not be a student of history to be thoroughly engrossed
by TALVISOTA, which follows a single platoon into combat. These are not John Wayne-style supersoldiers charging the barricades, only farmers doing their patriotic duty with widely varying degrees of zeal.
Thrown together by chance, the platoon members are just beginning to become friends as, one by one, they die in combat. Martti (Taneli Makela) becomes the central figure by default: by film's end he's the only one of the group left standing, unable to save his own brother, though successful in
helping to save his country. TALVISOTA succeeds by balancing the epic with the intimate. Rather than presenting a panoramic, detached view of history, it works through an accumulation of small details that gradually draw viewers into the drama. Pekka Parikka's direction and Kari Sohlberg's richly
textured cinematography consistently keep the camera at soldier's-eye level, and TALVISOTA's battle scenes have a fearsome intensity that recalls Akira Kurosawa at his best. The cast is uniformly excellent, giving rich, understated portrayals, allowing us to become involved with history because we
have become involved with its unwilling players. Even the film's 195-minute length works in its favor, since the filmmakers use the time to develop a realistic sense of day-to-day life during wartime that is as strong as any presented on the screen.
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: TALVISOTA, Finland's 1989 nominee for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, is a deeply moving, epic drama commemorating that country's heroic border stand against a massive Russian invading force during the Russo-Finnish War. However, one need not be a student of… (more)