13 user 31 critic

Juha (1999)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | May 2003 (USA)
A farmer's wife is seduced into running away from her stolid older husband by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel.


Aki Kaurismäki


Juhani Aho (novel), Aki Kaurismäki (scenario)

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2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sakari Kuosmanen ... Juha
Kati Outinen ... Marja
André Wilms ... Shemeikka
Markku Peltola ... Autonkuljettaja
Elina Salo ... Shemeikan sisar
Ona Kamu Ona Kamu ... Shemeikan nainen
Outi Mäenpää ... Shemeikan nainen
Tuire Tuomisto Tuire Tuomisto ... Shemeikan nainen
Tatjana Solovjova Tatjana Solovjova ... Tanssija (as Tatiana Soloviova)
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Nimismies
Jaakko Talaskivi Jaakko Talaskivi ... Henkivartija
Safka Pekkonen Safka Pekkonen ... Tango-orkesterin jäsen
Sami Kuoppamäki Sami Kuoppamäki ... Tango-orkesterin jäsen
Juuso Norlund Juuso Norlund ... Tango-orkesterin jäsen
Anssi Tikanmäki Anssi Tikanmäki ... Tango-orkesterin jäsen


A farmer's wife is seduced into running away from her stolid older husband by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Finland | Germany | France


None | Finnish

Release Date:

May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Juha See more »

Filming Locations:

Asematunneli, Helsinki, Finland See more »


Box Office


FIM 4,773,394 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Aki Kaurismäki decided to make this film without sound when he realized André Wilms, who was his first and only choice for the role of Shemeikka, didn't speak any Finnish. See more »

Alternate Versions

There's a special version without soundtrack to be used when music is provided by live orchestra. See more »


Version of Juha (1956) See more »


Le Temps des Cerises
Music by Antoine Renard
Lyrics by Jean-Baptiste Clément
Performed by Elina Salo
See more »

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User Reviews

Images are more powerful than words...
9 October 2006 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Juha is the last silent film of the 20th century. And a truly great one, I might add. Adapting a Finnish literary classic (already brought to the screen three times), Scandinavian master Aki Kaurismäki (whose movies have always had limited dialogue, mind) tells a cruel, touching story of love, loss and revenge.

Weirdly for a Kaurismäki movie, Juha seems to open on a happy note: we witness the everyday life of the eponymous farmer (a never better Sakari Kuosmanen) and his wife Marja (the consistently astounding Kati Outinen). The two don't lead the easiest of lives, but somehow they manage to survive and keep an optimistic view on existence.

That's when Shemeikka (André Wilms, whose previous work with the director includes Bohemian Life and Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses) enters the game. He comes from the big city, and is forced to spend the night at Juha's because of a lousy car. The following morning he returns home, only this time he's got company: he has seduced Marja, promising her a better life. Sadly, she'll come to regret her choice as it turns out that Shemeikka actually runs a brothel. All she can do is hope her husband will forgive her and come to the rescue.

The audacious aspect of Juha is not the fact that it's shot in black and white (Kaurismäki does that quite often), but the fact that there's no sound at all. Dialogue is shown through title cards, and the rest of the action is left to the strength of the performances: Kuosmanen shows a staggering intensity as the leading man, Outinen is at her most vulnerable playing his wife, and Wilms is perhaps the best villain the Finnish director has ever come up with. Utterly cold and repulsive, he really makes sure you won't like him.

Juha works thanks to its honesty and raw power: it's not a pastiche of silent movies, but a serious, endearing tragedy, and further proof of Kaurismäki's high rank among Scandinavian film-makers.

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