Text & photo: Veera Heinonen
The Finnish war film Unknown Soldier was screened at the Glasgow Film Festival on Sunday. The screening was sold out. Actor Juho Milonoff attended the festival along with actors Jussi Vatanen, Hannes Suominen, and Arttu Kapulainen. Milonoff answered some questions about his work in the film.
What was a typical day like while shooting Unknown Soldier?
“We usually got up at 6 a.m. in a tent after about four hours of sleep. After breakfast it was time for makeup. Then we put on our clothes, which were usually still a bit wet from the previous day. After that we went to the forest to a battlefield. The shooting lasted as long as we had daylight, sometimes even later. After the shooting we had sauna, sat by a campfire, and headed for bed. I quickly grew some pretty convincing eye bags.”
How was Unknown Soldier different from your previous projects?
“Usually in Finland, shooting a movie is nowhere near glamorous because the budgets are quite limited. Usually people just arrive at the shoot, do the job, and then go home. While shooting Unknown Soldier we lived in our own little community, which was really an uncommon way to work.
What was most challenging while shooting?
“It was both physically and mentally challenging. We would film until we had no energy to act anymore. It was pretty nerve wrecking while we were at it, but afterwards I feel proud of myself, as well of the others.”
What did you enjoy most?
“We experienced a sense of community that is impossible to recreate if one tried. I think the fact that the film dealt with such a collective national trauma [Continuation war between Finland and Soviet Union] had a role to play as well. For me personally, it is very important that at the end of the day this is an anti-war movie, and that through my character I could bring a pacifistic aspect to it.”
How would you like the audiences to receive Unknown Soldier?
“I think everybody has a right to see the movie through their own filter. Some will perceive it as a very patriotic film. Others see that it bears a strong pacifistic message.”
Unknown Soldier was screened with the support of the Finnish Institute at Glasgow Film Festival on Sunday 25th of February