Milka A Film About Taboos (1980) watch online


Directed by: Rauni Mollberg
Stars: Irma Huntus, Leena Suomu, Matti Turunen
Language: Finnish | Subtitles: English (embed)
Country: Finland

Also known as: Milka: Elokuva tabuista

Description: In a small Finnish Lapland community, Milka, an innocent 14-year-old girl lives with her mother, misses her dead father and prays God to show her what love is. For haymaking, they employ a simple but hard-working field hand, nicknamed Christ-Devil, who decides to stay and become the man of the house, courting both the mother and daughter. Eventually he leaves them both, and Milka has his child.

The religious aspects of this remote farming community are heavily stressed, and I especially enjoyed the motif of spiritual guidance from Cantor Malmstrom (quality, anti-stereotypical playing by Eikka Lehtonen), who instead of being rigid and cruel turns out to be caring once Milka’s illegitimate baby is born. In between, she has a strong romance with Turunen, while the stud also continues servicing her mom and other women in the neighborhood. Again, it’s all presented as utterly natural with the viewer in the position of watching an ethnographic exercise rather than a moralistic tale.

Also powerful is the technique of Milka frequently speaking directly to the camera (and viewer) in forceful monologues which bear the crisp sound recording (sounds of nature including rain being a constant motif) that makes MILKA an engrossing experience. I viewed the film without subtitles and have no knowledge of Finnish (or Lapp) but (recalling the best of Silent Era classics) the direction is strong enough to convey its dramatic content and themes in a way that transcends language.

Kudos to Mollberg and his talented cinematographers for a job well done -a work that remains in obscurity but is ripe for rediscovery.

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