Currently filming in Finland, Jonas Rothlaender is ready to learn of the Power of Love
by Marta Bałaga
- The upcoming German-Finnish co-production will be shooting in the Turku archipelago until the end of July
Starring Saara Kotkaniemi and Nicola Perot (recently glimpsed in the Berlinale title Tides [+see also:
film profile]) as a couple navigating their respective roles during a trip to the Turku archipelago, Power of Love, Jonas Rothlaender’s second feature (following 2016’s Fado [+see also:
interview: Jonas Rothlaender
film profile]) will try to answer some pretty fundamental questions.
“When I started the project, I was wondering: is it really possible to be equal in a relationship? For this couple, it certainly changes: sometimes one is more dominant and the other more submissive. It excites them, too,” Rothlaender tells Cineuropa from his Finnish set.
Based in between Finland and Germany himself because of a personal relationship, he admits that part of the story is autobiographical. “In the 1990s, there was a saying that you come to Finland for two reasons only: for love or for work,” he says. “Later, I found out that there was a small community of men who have done the exact same thing: some even called themselves ‘imported husbands’. Many of them had to suddenly depend on their partner, as they didn’t speak the language and didn’t have a job. It was interesting to me because I wanted to take a look at power dynamics in a relationship.”
Also featuring Outi Mäenpää, Timo Torikka, Elmer Bäck and Cecilia Paul, Power of Love is being produced by Julia M Müller, Luis Singer and Dennis Schanz for StickUp Filmproduktion, as well as Finland’s Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari from Bufo. B-Plan Distribution will handle the local distribution in Finland, and while filming is set to go on until the end of July, the film’s release is planned for spring 2022.
Although the story will focus mainly on the Finnish-German pair, the small scale of the project wasn’t influenced by the pandemic, notes Rothlaender. Instead, it will help viewers get closer to the conundrum that many contemporary couples seem to be facing.
“It was always the idea, in order to really go deep into this relationship,” he points out. “These two, they are really playing with each other. For the role of Saara, I wanted someone with a strong personality but also someone very feminine, and for Robert [played by Zurich-born Perot], I wanted someone with this sensitivity and vulnerability to him. This way, things aren’t so obvious as far as gender divisions are concerned. But the most important thing was for them to have this connection, and I think we have succeeded in establishing that.”
Still, connection or not, once the couple leave their everyday life behind, old frustrations immediately rise to the surface. “There is a game going on, also when it comes to their sexuality. It’s an intimate, but also very sexual, film in this sense – this is basically how they communicate. Then they come to this deserted island, and when they are alone, they realise there are some things they just can’t talk about. And things spiral downwards.”
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.