Finnish Cold War comedy August Fools backed by Norway and Czech Republic
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
02/04/2012 - Finnish actress Kati Outinen (pictured) – a regular Aki Kaurismäki héroïne (she won for Best Actress in Cannes for his The Man Without a Past [trailer] (2002) – will play the lead in Finnish director Taru Mäkelä’s romantic comedy August Fools, which Markku Flink will produce for Finland’s Kinosto, with Norway’s Pomor Film ANS and the Czech Republic’s Fog’n’Desire Films.
The Finnish Film Foundation has chipped in €700,000, and the Norwegian Film Institute €160,000 for the €2 million production with Finnish pubcaster YLE and Czech Television, which will commence principal photography in mid-June. Nordisk Film AB Finland will handle local release in August 2013.
Set against the political backdrop of the Cold War, and scripted by Raija Talvio, August Fools is the story of Elsa, a middle-aged milliner, part-time clairvoyant, who is normally in full control of her life, until the man she loved 20 years ago and thought dead walks into her little hat shop in Helsinki in 1962.
He is Jan, a Czechoslovakian jazz musician, in town to play at the International Festival of Peace and Friendship of the Youth of the World. Initially she wants to stay away from him – but eventually she realises she still loves him, and there is only one way for them to be together - he has to defect to the West.
“There are films I love to see with my teenage children, like Four Weddings and a Funeral, or the comedies of Billy Wilder. There should more films like that, and August Fools is my contribution to the genre I love,” said Mäkelä, who has just finished a documentary about Tallinn’s Viru Hotel with Margit Kilumets.