Finland, 1962. Boxer Olli Mäki has a shot at the World Featherweight title. Immensely talented and equally modest, Olli’s small town life is transformed when he’s swept into national stardom and suddenly regarded as a symbol of his country. There’s only one problem: Olli has just fallen in love.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
A wonderful, small big film about love, ambition and boxing. The script is great: it gives the movie room to breath and builds up tension with simple issues (eg. will Olli be under 57 kg in due time). The dialogue works well, the characters feel very real, and the on top of it, the actors do a great work, especially of the two main characters, Olli and Raija.
Camera d'or winner at Cannes. Kuosmanen's debut film tells the story of Olli Maki and his title fight against Davey Moore in the early 60's. Instead of being the atypical boxing film Kuosmanen instead centers in on what really makes Maki tick; mainly his love and romance with Raija his home town sweetheart. Lovingly shot in b&w this character driven film has a sort of innocent charm but lacks revelation.
Truffaut would have been proud. At her best, Oona Airola channels a young Jeanne Moreau. The 16mm film really comes to life in a few memorable scenes, like the motorcycle ride near the beginning, and Olli's march to the ring before the fight. I love small gestured efforts like this.
A subtle yet profound film that with bittersweet realism portrays a boxer that chooses love over fame. It may not have lots of action like typical boxing films but like the greatest boxing film of all time Raging Bull, it as heartbreaking realism among it's combination of punches. That for me makes it a more memorable film than simply being a action film about a contender battling to become a champion.