Skip to main content

ONE MAN'S WAR

Finland, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Risto Jarva

Risto Jarva, one of Finland's leading directors, has been awarded Finland's top prize for this, his sixth picture. The film has similarities to Jarva's earlier and influential A Worker's Diary in both theme and treatment. One Man's War is semi-documentary with most of the cast of non-professionals playing themselves in the kind of work they do.

A Finnish workman, Erik Suomies, decides to improve his position in society. With a bank loan, he buys a mechanical excavator, and with his wife and child and a friend, Peter, sets up home in an old bus. With excavator and bus, the group trek around Finland from one work-site to another. Within two years, Erik has worked himself out, ground down by the demands of capitalism. He moves to Sweden.

Although the film has tragic elements, it is not a tragedy. The tone is too matter-of-fact and never despairing. Erik and his wife have learned the rules of capitalist games but their personal dignity and integrity will not allow them to obey them. They pick up the pieces and go on.

'The task of Jarva's poetry is to make the abhorrent bearable.'

Christer Kilhman, Filmihullu

See also...

EARTH, OUR SINFUL SONG

Earth, Our Sinful Sonh is adapted from a novel of the same name by Timo K. Mukka, a young Lapp who was only 19 years old when the book was published and became a literary sensation in Finland. Rauni ... More »

Through the Ice to Finland

This beautifully photographed film shows how communications over the frozen sea are kept open by ice-breakers operating throughout the long Finnish winter. ... More »

HAMLET GOES BUSINESS

A "black and white underground, B-movie classical drama" born out of serious drinking with a friend, Hamlet Goes Business is the only one of Kaurismäki's films winch the director professes to like ... More »

Rocky VI

Rocky VI is a serious-minded declaration on cultural policy, a collision of Finnish patriotism, multinational mass entertainment and apolitical straightforwardness respectful to Eastern neighbours ... More »

TOTAL BALALAIKA SHOW

It's inspired. It's crazed. It's beyond imagining. It's a rock'n roll detente. A pop perestroika. It's the Total Balalaika Show! ... In the beginning there was an idea - a joke - an incredible one ... More »

SEVEN SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA

Take a journey to the top of the world. Seven Songs from the Tundra is an anthology of tales set in far north Russia, depicting the life of the Nenets. Ranging in time from early last century through ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director