In the 1930s, middle-aged museum curator Tauno Saarinen yearns for a young beautiful maid and writes a lengthy confession about his feelings which he gives his wife Elisabet to read. ...
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In the 1930s, middle-aged museum curator Tauno Saarinen yearns for a young beautiful maid and writes a lengthy confession about his feelings which he gives his wife Elisabet to read. Elisabet shows the writings to her husband's sister Naimi, an art critic who tries to reconcile with her ex-husband despite a spiteful mother-in-law. Meanwhile, things gets worse between Tauno and Elisabet when the young maid, seduced by Tauno, becomes pregnant. Based on a novel by Helvi Hämäläinen, first published in 1941 but partly censored until 1995 because allegedly based on true incidents involving well-known people. Written by
A family crisis spanning the last two summers before World War II
In 1938, the threat of war appears to have receded, but another danger looms for Tauno and Elisabet, an upper middle-class Helsinki couple with an outwardly happy and secure marriage. With the summer coming on, Tauno falls prey to a rising tide of erotic obsession. At the family's holiday home, he is smitten by the virginal beauty of the neighbours' nanny, and pens no less than 60 pages full of decadent yearnings, which his conscience then forces him to hand over to his wife. Initially horrified, Elisabet returns to Helsinki to seek the advice of Tauno's sister Naimi, herself the victim of an unfaithful, sadistic husband. The women decide that since Tauno's writings are just that - a `literary product' without any `deed' as such - Elisabet should forgive him. But Tauno, in the meantime, has moved on from words to action, and has seduced the young girl. When she falls pregnant, his conscience again forces him to confess to Elisabet, who is adamant in her refusal to accept any apology. Naimi's attempts to effect a reconciliation with her ex-husband Artur also fail, undermined by his cruelty towards her and an insanely domineering mother-in-law. Tauno's sense of guilt leads him to provide the young mother-to-be with some money, but when she dies in childbirth the following April, it is Elisabet who steps in to take on the family responsibility of caring for the baby. The comfort she derives from this appears to restore some equilibrium to her marriage. But by now it is the summer of 1939, and war is only weeks away.
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