Stolen Death | Chicago Reader

Stolen Death

Nykri Tapiovaara's 1938 Finnish film, set in Helsinki around 1900, focuses on a small band of resistance fighters struggling against Russian rule. Moody lighting, tilted camera angles, shadowy characters, and shifting allegiances contribute to an atmosphere of conspiracy and danger, and the convoluted situations ensuing after guns are concealed in a coffin predate the understated absurdism that would later flourish in Finnish cinema. Powerful in parts, the film is ultimately a melange of styles. The young director, said to be Finland's first film theoretician, was killed in 1940 fighting a new Russian invasion.

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