The Winter War and Continuation War are conflicts that interests me, and the gaming group play Winter War with IABSM.
There are quite a few interesting Finnish movies about these conflicts worthy of more widespread knowledge. They are often far more dark than the Hollywood war movies, something they have common with German films.
I have a few Finnish movies I’d like to share, and reviewing them gives me a good reason to see them again.
Tali Inhantala 1944 (from 2007) is a about one of the final battles to stop the Soviet advance into Finland, the battles to ensure that Finland was able to negotiate a peace that still had Finland as an independent state. This battle is the largest ever fought in the Nordic countries.
The movie is based on real people and what happened to them. There are five stories going on, about several people, and that makes this film special.
I first saw this movie with my ‘video gang’, a couple of friends having seen ‘videos’ together a couple of times each year for ages. We usually blend movies, pizzas, beer, wine, GT, snacks and discussions into a rather enjoyable evening. We usually see a zombie movie and something else, and in this case the something else was Tali Ihantala. Two of us being something of WWII-nerds we commented gear, tanks, airplanes etc, and we had a rather good time, but after the movie our feeling was: “What was the movie all about?”. And that is this movie’s problem, there are several parallel stories going on, and you have to concentrate on them. So it is not a beer and pretzel kind of movie.
I saw it again the other day, and it was a completely different experience. If you concentrate on the movie it is much more enjoyable, and will give you a feel of the war. You follow ordinary people, and as it is based on what really happened you never know who will survive, and who will not.
This is not a pretty movie, it is very realistic in places and if you’re interested in these conflicts there is a lot to look at. We will, among other things, see the Finnish Stug IIIG:s in action (see my book review on the Lagus assault guns. This was a treat as you will recognize a lot of the action and people from that book), a lot of small arms and uniforms, Soviet armour (and Finnish too, mostly the same as the Finns used a lot of scrounged soviet gear), German Focke-Wulfs, artillery pieces etc.
Also an interesting ‘Making of…’ as extra material.
All in all, a good movie that demands a bit more of the viewer. I give it a rating of 4.