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The Year of the Hare (1977)

Jäniksen vuosi (original title)
Young advertising executive Vatanen suddenly quits his job and his whole life in Helsinki, and decides to spend a while in the Finnish wilderness. A wounded hare hit by a car becomes his ... See full summary »


Risto Jarva
2 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Antti Litja ... Kaarlo Vatanen
Kauko Helovirta Kauko Helovirta ... Desk Sergeant
Markku Huhtamo Markku Huhtamo ... Taxi Driver
Paavo Hukkinen Paavo Hukkinen ... Taxi Driver in Heinola
Juha Kandolin Juha Kandolin ... Photographer Miettinen
Kosti Klemelä Kosti Klemelä ... U. Kärkkäinen
Anna-Maija Kokkinen Anna-Maija Kokkinen ... Lawer Leila Heikkinen
Martti Kuningas Martti Kuningas ... Hannikainen, former rural police chief
Ahti Kuoppala Ahti Kuoppala ... Kaartinen
Hannele Lanu Hannele Lanu ... Kiosk Vendor
Hannu Lauri Hannu Lauri ... Advertising Manager Huhtinen
Heikki Nousiainen Heikki Nousiainen ... Tourist guide Toropainen, "Mr. Toro"
Esa Pakarinen Jr. Esa Pakarinen Jr. ... Police Officer #2
Martti Pennanen Martti Pennanen ... Hunter #1
Tuija Piepponen Tuija Piepponen ... Irja (scenes deleted)


Young advertising executive Vatanen suddenly quits his job and his whole life in Helsinki, and decides to spend a while in the Finnish wilderness. A wounded hare hit by a car becomes his travel companion. Together they find reclusion in the Finnish Lapland, soon to be disturbed by a noisy group of foreign tourists and their pretentious Finnish hosts. When the hare gets ill and needs to see a vet, Vatanen must return to the city and finally face the choice between his new and former life. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Did You Know?


In the accompanying letter of the first draft of the film that was sent to the Finnish Film Foundation production company Filminor published a manifesto that said: "The meaning of the film is to show how precious nature is and how preserved it should be. The film is also meant to show how beneficial is nature's influence on the hectic and distress urban human mind that is been pushed forward by the competition-mentality and the selling of oneself. The Year of the Hare is a story about a flight to the country site, a flight to nature, to a lifestyle that is more simpler and more agrarian. It is an idealistic tale in the spirit of Henri Rousseau and Frank Capra. The Year of the Hare is a story about aligning the one who is weaker, a story about how goodness makes one's life pleasant - even today." See more »


Photographer Miettinen: I lost my pal in the woods.
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Referenced in Memories of Risto (1980) See more »


Kauppaopiston naiset
Composed and Lyrics by Kari Peitsamo
Performed by Kari Peitsamo and Ankkuli
© Warner/Chappell Music Finland Oy
Love Records
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User Reviews

The idea of human freedom has been discussed in great detail by Finnish director Risto Jarva in 'The Year of the hare'
8 January 2016 | by FilmCriticLalitRaoSee all my reviews

Finnish film 'Jäniksen Vuosi' is based on a critically acclaimed book 'The year of the hare' written by famous journalist Arto Paasilinna. It has already achieved the status of a 'cult film' in Finland. However, it has a lot to offer to foreign viewers as its theme of man's closeness to nature as well as animals is dear to many people in the world. The notion of human freedom is very much evident throughout all scenes helmed by Finnish director Risto Jarva in 'The year of the hare'. While watching this film, a viewer is compelled to ask whether we are really free ? How and to what extent are we free ? What kind of freedom has been bestowed to us ? According to 'The year of the rabbit', a rabbit as a man's companion is an innocent idea which must not be confused with an American magazine for men ! It is not easy for anybody to simply leave the job to spend time with an animal. For this reason, director Risto Jarva has given a logical conclusion to an advertising executive's frustrations which compel him to leave his job and a nagging wife. As a family film which can be enjoyed by everybody, 'The year of the hare' informs everybody about the importance of wilderness as it is the only place where human beings can free themselves from the harmful influences of modern civilization.

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Finnish | English

Release Date:

23 December 1977 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Harens år See more »

Filming Locations:

Helsinki, Finland See more »


Box Office


FIM1,830,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Filminor See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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