In rural Sweden of the early 1950s, little Elina goes to school again after recovering from tuberculosis, the same illness that has killed her father a few years earlier. Elina's family ... See full summary »
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In rural Sweden of the early 1950s, little Elina goes to school again after recovering from tuberculosis, the same illness that has killed her father a few years earlier. Elina's family belongs to Finnish-speaking Finns frowned upon by a staunch schoolmistress who starts hounding Elina for questioning her authority. Elina's mother, sister, and a liberal young male teacher all try to mediate the ensuing battle of wills between Elina and Miss Holm. Elina finds consolation in wandering out on the dangerous marshlands to have imaginary conversations with her dead father. Written by
The film was chosen as the Finnish candidate for the foreign Oscar award, but it was unable to compete for the Finnish Jussi awards, because it was determined to be more Swedish than Finnish film (52% vs. 48%). See more »
Definitely a movie that children need to see, but...
Children's movies quite often tell stories considering important moral issues. They often have purposes others than to entertain, and therefore have to find the way to get the child audience interested by other means than mindless action. That kind of films should have all the qualities needed to offer something for the adults also.
"Elina -Som jag inte fanns" has a message working on two levels. It is about basic civil rights. On general level, it remind us on how important it is for people to be allowed and able to use their own language. On personal level, it is about our right of seeing the world as we wish. In this case, the perspective is the one of a Finnish-speaking child in Sweden.
In Scandinavia people are, in general, fairly free to believe in gods, spirits, aliens, even gnomes and elves if they wish. (At least when they keep it to themselves.) These rights are so important that it is always worth the money and effort to tell a story about them. However, that is what this movie lacks. A good story. Of course I'm happy to see a children's movie with no unnecessary action and violence, but the lack of a plot makes me wonder if this is actually more suitable for adults. The film fortunately has some humorous scenes, with good taste also, but that does not really cover up for the lack of a story. However good the atmosphere and the message, face the fact: Children deserve a little bit more adventurous movies than this.
Basically, this is a movie about the little people's rights. The message pretty much reflects the attitudes in today's Scandinavia. We encourage our children to grow up to be independent and aware of their rights. But looking at the youth of today, maybe it would be time to make a movie of the importance of the safety provided by the limits and even discipline?
The northern nature is both beautiful and described in a realistic way. The movie also has some historical value, as it shows us the reality of cultural discrimination from the children's point of view, so often forgotten. It combines a little bit of fantasy with the harsh reality. Therefore it is good for the adults and even better for the children, if you manage to get them to watch something as serious as this. 7/10
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