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Village People is a movie about the longing for a change and Finnish madness.

Solar Films / Marek Sabogal
Marja Pyykkö and Kristiina Elstelä.

The story takes place in a small Finnish village, way up north.  The time is early 70’s and the word spreads out: the President of the Republic of Finland, Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, is coming to pay a short visit. To this exact village, very soon!

This is not a biopic of a great president, but a story of the rage, horror and joy of anticipation. What possible things could the visit of the leaders of the country mean to the everyday-life-weary people of a tiny village? This is time for a change! The arrival of Kekkonen sparks various different passions; to someone he is a saviour, a physical, fantastic fisherman and a hunter. To someone else he is a great benefactor of Finnish art, to someone else a long lost father figure. Kekkonen’s arrival will wipe the dreary grayness of life from the village; the winds of change will blow from the mountains. And it is this change everyone wants a part of.

The style of Village People is very tongue-in-cheek; it is a twisted comedy. The Finnish madness is portrayed laconically but with warmth and love. As a nation, the Finns have an inbuilt appreciation for those in power, but simultaneously, we all have a little rebel inside us. The common, human feature in all Finns is also a longing with no specific target; a thought about a better tomorrow, a deep belief in the possibility of change.

As a director, I found the ferocious energy and the insane humanity of the characters in Village People as a fantastic base to build on. There are a lot of great female parts, everyone is on the edge but on a different one. The women are strong and determined. They all reach out for their individual goals bravely, using all means possible. When their paths cross, also their dreams are on a collision course – even in many absurd ways.

When the caravan of the President is approaching, the feelings and emotions up north collide and crash.

Marja Pyykkö

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