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 »

BRIDE OF THE SEVENTH HEAVEN, A

A Bride of the Seventh Heaven (Jumalan Morsian) FinlandIn the vast, frozen expanses of the Jamal Peninsula in Russia's far north, the astonishing story of a woman's marriage to a god is recounted ... More »

AMBUSH

In the early days of the Summer of 1941, the Finnish army is mobilised on the Russian border. An idealistic young lieutenant, Eero, leads his platoon into a newly conquered village. There he sees his ... More »

THREE SCENES WITH INGMAR BERGMAN

Jörn Donner has condensed some sixteen hours of conversation with Ingmar Bergman into this hour-and-a-half profile of the Swedish film director. Bergman talks about his films, his way of life, his ... More »

ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

Bowling over audiences at Berlin, Toronto and Montreal Film Festivals, Finnish auteur Markku Pölönens fifth film is a burlesque comedy with absurdist overtones. Cynical Helsinki real estate agent ... More »

BLACK ON WHITE

This is the story of Juha Holm. 33-year-old model family man, hero of a magazine story, showing him surrounded by his happy wife and loving children. Is this picture quite true? The film lays bare ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director