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The Home of Dark Butterflies (2008)
"Tummien perhosten koti" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,586 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

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Title: The Home of Dark Butterflies (2008)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Niilo Syväoja ...
Juhani Johansson
...
Olavi Harjula
Kristiina Halttu ...
Irene Harjula
...
Tyyne
Pertti Sveholm ...
Erik Johansson
Matleena Kuusniemi ...
Maire Johansson
Eero Milonoff ...
Salmi
Marjut Maristo ...
Vanamo Harjula
Roope Karisto ...
Sjöblom
Ville Saksela ...
Rinne
Niko Vakkuri ...
Hermanni Hämäläinen
Iiro Panula ...
Sulkava
Henri Huttunen ...
Simola
Heikki Nousiainen ...
Sosiaalijohtaja Rantala
Matti Onnismaa ...
Viranomainen
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Storyline

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

11 January 2008 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Tummien perhosten koti  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

€1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Official Finnish entry for Best Foreign Language Film contest of 81st Academy Awards. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Home of Dark Butterflies
17 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

Juhani Johansson (Niilo Syväoja) is a teenage boy with a very traumatic past who gets sent to an isolated home for troubled boys situated on an island, presumably sometime in the 1960s. The home is managed by a strict but fair man named Olavi Harjula (Tommi Korpela), and besides him and seven boys the only people on the island are Harjula's wife Irene (Kristiina Halttu), their two daughters and the female caretaker Tyyne (Kati Outinen). After initial adaptation troubles and an escape attempt, Juhani starts bonding with the other boys and befriends Harjula's older daughter Vanamo (Marjut Maristo). Still, dark shadows of the past won't leave Juhani alone and the other boys have their own problems as well.

Besides Juhani's development, the story is also about Harjula's plans to solve the school's financial problems by breeding domesticated silkmoths with the help of the boys (hence the title of the film). Harjula's blind commitment to his job with the boys is taking its toll on his frustrated wife who subsequently cannot handle the physical and emotional isolation and has to seek closeness elsewhere. Some of the dramatic twists of the story, a certain death scene in particular, don't necessarily seem highly realistic at first, but since the focus is more on the emotional side of things, they have their place in the film. Juhani's budding relationship with Vanamo is closer to ordinary youth movie material, but helps to present Juhani's changing moods to the audience without artificial voice-overs or other tricks.

Visually the film is strong: Juhani's development is portrayed at an unhurried pace using many flashbacks to cast light on his home life with his unstable parents. The dark blue hue of the flashbacks provides a strong contrast with the green summer on the island and the brownish interiors of the house. The scenery in general is also very beautiful.

The most effective part of the film is the acting; Tommi Korpela radiates charisma as the superficially strong Harjula and Pertti Sveholm as Juhani's father Erik nails the sycophantic but explosive part perfectly. In his first starring role, Niilo Syväoja brings Juhani's confusion to life on his slender face with few words, and while Eero Milonoff may look a little old for his part as Salmi, the most menacing of the boys, he handles the role with competence too.

In the end, the main theme is forgiveness and accepting the fact that making errors is an essential part of human life. The most interesting aspects of the story, namely Harjula's complex, contradicting nature and the sad fates of a few characters, are quite haunting, but perhaps the lack of action from Harjula after a revelation regarding his wife could have been explained better, even at the risk of losing some of the enigma surrounding him. In any case, The Home of Dark Butterflies is a well made film and a good addition to Dome Karukoski's directorial career.


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