Young Finnish archaeology student Laura (Seidi Haarla) is convinced by her lecturer – and lover – to take a trip to an ancient site of petroglyphs near the Arctic Circle. However, when she boards the long-distance train to take her there, she finds that she has to share her carriage with the boorish and belligerent Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov), a foul-mouthed, misogynistic drunk travelling to his new job as a miner. Initially, they seem to have nothing in common, but, like the landscape they’re travelling through, the more time Laura spends with Ljoha the more he thaws, revealing an unforeseen kindness beneath the macho façade.
This chance meeting between the two occupants of compartment no. 6 brings about an awakening within them, forming a bond they will never forget. There are echoes of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995), but Kuosmanen’s film, which was Finland’s entry for the Academy Awards last year, has its own distinct sensibility, and his two leads bring charm and warmth to their characters as their journey progresses.
Director: Juho Kuosmane
Cast: Seidi Haarla, Yuriy Borisov, Yuliya Aug
BFI London Film Festival 2021
Toronto International Film Festival 2021
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2021
Cannes Film Festival 2021
Winner - Grand Prix Award, Cannes Film Festival 2021
‘Despite the bone-chilling cold of its location in Murmansk in Russia’s remote north-west, there’s a wonderful human warmth and humour in this offbeat romantic story of strangers on a train’★★★★ Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
‘This is one of those films where the journey matters more than the destination… deeply atmospheric’Jonathan Romey, Screen International
‘Kuosmanen’s storytelling has a fundamental generosity of spirit, tender though not sentimental.’David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter