Interview: Director Juho Kuosmanen on Finnish Oscar Entry 'The Happiest Day in The Life Of Olli Mäki'
By Jose Solís.
In 1962, a young Finnish boxer faced featherweight champion of the world Davey Moore in a match that would go down in sports history as one of the most bittersweet for the tiny European country. Director Juho Kuosmanen has captured the event from the perspective of the challenger (played by Jarkko Lahti in a breakthrough) who finds himself vanishing among the excitement and pressure of the fight. The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki is a bittersweet tale about our need to create larger than life personalities that help us fulfill our desires, but fail to fulfill those who are actually participating in the experience. We see the sensitive, but quiet, Olli light up when he’s with his girlfriend Raija (Oona Airola), even though his manager Eelis (Eero Milonoff) suggests she will only make him lose the fight. Despite that the film is about a boxer, it has more in common with melancholy romances like Jules and Jim and Roman Holiday, than with Raging Bull. The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it picked up the Prize Un Certain Regard, since then it went on to become the Finnish Oscar entry, so I spoke to director Kuosmanen about the parallels between the film and his life, shooting in black and white, and entering the craze of awards season.
Read the interview after the jump.