AJ Annila’s period drama The Eternal Road comes out on top at the Jussi Awards
by Vassilis Economou
- In the midst of controversy, Aku Louhimies’ war epic (and the audience’s favourite) The Unknown Soldier received five of the top Finnish prizes
The historical drama The Eternal Road [+see also:
interview: Antti-Jussi Annila
film profile], directed by AJ Annila and produced by Ilkka Matila, has been awarded Best Film at the 2018 Finnish Jussi Awards. The period film set in the 1930s was part of Finland’s centenary celebration of its independence and received a total of six Jussis at the national awards ceremony held on Friday 23 March. The Jussi Awards are Europe’s oldest film prize, as the first ceremony was held in 1944.
The Eternal Road was the frontrunner in the nominations, racking up 13 nods in total. Third-time director AJ Annila received the Jussi for Best Director, while Sidse Babett Knudsen and Hannu-Pekka Björkman picked up the Best Supporting Actress and Actor Jussis, respectively. In the technical categories, DoP Rauno Ronkainen was awarded for Best Cinematography and Kalju Kivi for Best Set Design.
However, the film that outshone the rest during the ceremony was the second big winner and another film celebrating Finnish independence: the blockbuster war epic The Unknown Soldier [+see also:
film profile], which picked up five Jussis. The film’s director, Aku Louhimies – who also co-wrote The Eternal Road’s script – has nevertheless created controversy in the industry as eight actresses have accused him of using demeaning tactics and humiliating them during their time working together. Louhimies, who was also nominated for Best Director, appeared on stage to accept the Jussi Award for Audience Favourite, as The Unknown Soldier exceeded one million admissions (see the news). Lead actor Eero Aho received the Best Actor Jussi and in his speech thanked the director, while the rest of the gongs for the movie were in the technical categories, including Best Sound Design (Kirka Sainio), Best Editing (Ben Mercer) and Best Make-Up (Salla Yli-Luopa).
Two Toronto premieres received the rest of the main Jussis. Krista Kosonen picked up Best Actress for her performance in Miami [+see also:
film profile] by Zaida Bergroth, while writer-director Teemu Nikki received Best Original Script for his old-school revenge B-movie Euthanizer [+see also:
interview: Teemu Nikki
film profile], which also won Best Musical Score thanks to Timo Kaukolampi and Tuomo Puranen.
The Finnish Oscar entry, Dome Karukoski’s Tom of Finland [+see also:
interview: Dome Karukoski
film profile], wasn’t nominated in any of the major categories, but received Best Costume Design for Anna Vilppunen. The big surprise of the night was that Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope [+see also:
Q&A: Aki Kaurismäki
film profile] left empty-handed, despite its 2017 Silver Bear win and its six nods in the major categories.
For the first time since 1980, the Best Short Film Jussi was also handed out, and the winner was Teppo Airaksinen’s Ceiling. As for documentaries, it was Hobbyhorse Revolution [+see also:
film profile] by Selma Vilhunen, which depicts the growing trend of the hobbyhorse competition, that emerged victorious. Finally, legendary filmmaker Maunu Kurkvaara, who rose to prominence during the 1960s, was the recipient of the Concrete Jussi for Lifetime Achievement.
Here is the full list of winners at the 2018 Finnish Jussi Awards:
AJ Annila – The Eternal Road
Best Supporting Actress
Sidse Babett Knudsen – The Eternal Road
Best Supporting Actor
Hannu-Pekka Björkman – The Eternal Road
Rauno Ronkainen – The Eternal Road
Best Musical Score
Timo Kaukolampi and Tuomo Puranen – Euthanizer
Best Sound Design
Kirka Sainio – The Unknown Soldier
Ben Mercer – The Unknown Soldier
Best Set Design
Kalju Kivi – The Eternal Road
Best Make-up Design
Salla Yli-Luopa – The Unknown Soldier
Best Short Film
Ceiling – Teppo Airaksinen
Concrete Jussi for Lifetime Achievement
The Unknown Soldier – Aku Louhimies
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