June 1944. The attention of the world is focused on Normandy, but the change of the tide can be felt in Finland also. Rumours of preparations of a massive Soviet attack in the Karelian ...
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June 1944. The attention of the world is focused on Normandy, but the change of the tide can be felt in Finland also. Rumours of preparations of a massive Soviet attack in the Karelian region are heard everywhere. In the Finnish HQ many officers know the attack is coming, but Marshal Mannerheim is not even informed of the most frightening news. The old marshal is turning 77, but the Soviet Union has an unpleasant gift for him. The army is not all prepared, but who is guilty, and to whom belongs the honor? Written by
Joel Rinne had played the role of Mannerheim aka Commander-in-Chief over hundred times in theater (Kansallisteatteri) an was obvious choice to replay the role in movie version. In theater version Pentti Siimes had played the role of General Airo aka Quartermaster general, but director Matti Kassila wanted "tougher" guy and chose Jussi Jurkka. See more »
Hair-style and sideburns of actors are obviously '70's style. Officers of army in the 1940's definitely wouldn't have that sort of style. See more »
The movie asks who were the heroes in getting Finland out of the Second World War. The honour of answering this question is left to the viewer who are presented images of actual wartime people. The level of historicity is high although the author of the script has taken some concise liberties to make the story more effective and the characters look more "like themselves"; for example the historical Colonel Armas Kemppi is replaced with fictive Colonel Markkovilla. The spotlight however concentrates on Major General Axel Fredrik Airo who is played by Jussi Jurkka and, mostly because of Jurkka's fine performance, Airo becomes the main character.
The movie does not extol specifically anybody. Marshall Mannerheim (Joel Rinne) is the army commander with almost mythological level of authority but he has his own small flaws too and sometimes he is quite humoristic character too. The Marshall will reprimand his Generals, dispute with them, admit his mistakes and he is also seen descending to the level of ordinary soldier without losing a bit of his status. Rinne's performance still remains as the most lively one among other pieces that feature Mannerheim.
Although "Päämaja" is a war movie pretty much of it is sheer drama. Even so it still captures the atmosphere of the time when Finland was threatened by Soviet steel steamroller. The picture of ordinary soldier's realm gives a very different impression than that of the headquarters' activity: they are like two different wars but because the picture of shabby foot soldier appears in the same movie with a cosmopolitan Marshall it gives "Päämaja" a considerable and genuine deepness.
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