This weekend the Toronto International Film Festival will have the North American premiere of The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, a film which MUBI will be releasing theatrically in the US and UK next year. Winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year (a prize won in recent years by such gems as Blissfully Yours, The Best of Youth, Moolaadé, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Tulpan, Dogtooth, The Missing Picture, White God and Rams) this beautiful, charming love story set in the world of boxing will be MUBI’s first ever theatrical release.
Set in Finland in 1962 (the Finnish title Hymyilevä Mies translates as Smiling Man), The Happiest Day... tells the true story of national featherweight champion Olli Mäki and his world championship fight against American Davey Moore (a tragic figure commemorated in Bob Dylan’s song “Who Killed Davey Moore?”). Director Juho Kuosmanen was drawn to the story of working-class hero Mäki because of his own experience of the pressures of national expectations after his hour long film The Painting Sellers won the Cinéfondation prize in Cannes 2010 (the prize comes with the promise of a shot at the Palme d’Or for the filmmaker’s first feature). To best capture the early 60s milieu, Kuosmanen shot the film on 16mm black and white reversal stock.
The eye-catching new posters for film were designed by Richard Flintham, Hilay Varnali and Leah Bravo for MUBI.
Below is the international festival poster for the film, and the Finnish and French theatrical posters.
And I also discovered this poster for the film of Mäki and Moore’s legendary fight. Proof of what a big deal this fight was in Finland in 1962, the poster for the “Match of the Century on Finnish soil” promises a widescreen (“Laajakangaselokuvana!”), “thrilling hour-long program” of “percussive highlights in slow motion!” and “Finnish professional boxing peaks now available for inspection in every corner of our country!” (At least as far as I can glean from Google translate.)