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Lapland Odyssey

(Napapiirin Sankarit)

Montreal Premiere

  • Comedy
  • /
  • Finland / Sweden/ Ireland
  • /
  • 2010
  • /
  • 92 min
  • /
  • 35mm
  • /
  • Finnish/english with English subtitles
Lapland Odyssey Lapland Odyssey Lapland Odyssey Lapland Odyssey Lapland Odyssey Lapland Odyssey

WINNER: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Audience Prize, Jussi Awards 2011

Screening Times


Director: Dome Karukoski
Screenplay: Pekko Pesonen
Cast: Jussi Vatanen, Jasper Pääkkönen, Timo Lavikainen, Pamela Tola, Kari Ketonen
Producers: Aleksi Bardy, Dominic Wright, Martin Persson, Jacqueline Kerrin
Print Source: The Yellow Affair



In seventh grade, Kapu recalls, his class was assigned presentations about suggested tourist attractions for their little town in Lapland, far in the north of Finland. Kapu suggested a particular dead pine tree — the “swing tree,” locals called it. Five generations of village men, despondent over heartaches and hockey defeats (by Sweden, no less!), had strung themselves up from it. His teacher said it was the best thing Kapu had ever done — and the best he ever would do.

Today (and its is daytime, despite the arctic darkness outside), the cynical, possibly suicidal Kapu is “successfully unemployed,” much like his slacker buddies, Janne and Tapio. Janne’s gorgeous girlfriend Inari has given him 50 Euros and an ultimatum — get a digital converter for the TV today, or it’s over. Janne, a savvy and diligent master at avoiding responsibility, rounds up his pals (promptly breaking the 50 for a pint of beer), and the three begin what’s supposed to be a fairly straightforward search for a standard piece of consumer electronics, at a good price. But then, Janne’s quest for ease and simplicity in life generally makes anything easy and simple into a complicated nightmare. Soon enough, the trio are contending with cops, car crashes, an aging striptease-videogame starlet, a naked Russian with a paintball gun and — okay, this one’s not so bad — an all-girl Swedish underwater rugby team in dire need of male company.

Fantasia, a truly international festival, has a long history of sharing with our audiences the sights and sounds of exotic, far-off lands. And what could be more exotic, to a Quebec crowd, than northern Finland’s pine trees, snowmobiles, caribou, boredom, limited sunlight and loads of snow? But for the Finnish text on signs here and there, LAPLAND ODYSSEY is endearingly familiar, a ribald road-trip comedy in the tradition of HAROLD AND KUMAR that could well have come out of the small-town Grand Nord, punctuating its gags with the occasional breathtaking arctic vista lit by the dance of the Northern Lights. And anyone with male friends who fall into the arrested-adolescent category will recognize the trio of Janne, Kapu and Tapio, the world’s smartest idiots (or is the other way around?). A raunchy riot of laughs loaded with twists and turns that pack punches while staying plausible, LAPLAND ODYSSEY is nonetheless a smart, empathic postcard from a place that’s far away, and yet so very close.

—Rupert Bottenberg

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