What happens in Lithuania, stays in Lithuania. But with whom and under what circumstances determine, whether the events are actually worth of showing on the silver screen. In the case of 2 Nights Till Morning (2 yötä aamuun), I’m happy to say that I enjoyed every minute.
When a Finnish DJ, played by Mikko Nousiainen, meets Caroline, a French architect portrayed by Marie-Josée Croze, one of the most charming and intelligent actresses I’ve had the honour to talk with, we have a solid foundation for a solid relationship drama, where a one-night stand in a hotel takes a turn deeper, after the volcanic ash cloud stops all airborne traffic in Europe.
The film, directed by Mikko Kuparinen, has already grabbed numerous awards at film festivals in Montreal, Sao Paulo and Valladolid . . . .
From a perspective of a viewer still learning Finnish, the film is a treat. The dialogue is mostly spoken in English, something rare among films from Finland.
At Hotel Haven in Helsinki in early April, Mikko Nousiainen, 40, told me that the English language has always intrigued him. I was offered to sit down with Nousiainen while waiting for Croze to break loose from the press swarming her. She is not only a foreign celebrity but has, after all, once been awarded as the Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nousiainen, on the other hand, is one of the most prominent actors in the country, seen in dramas like Sibelius (2003) and big budget films such as Renny Harlin’s 5 Days of War (2011), along with Val Kilmer. Nousiainen said that he learned English while watching cartoons as a child. “The cable TV showed cartoons from the Sky Channel in the mid-80’s. I also read a lot of English literature, for example. books relating to role games. I have always liked the English language.” “It’s more fun to act in English than in Finnish,” he continued. “Even if it feels like a second mother tongue the path of thought has to be clearer. If that makes sense . . . ?”
[alert type=blue ]”It’s more fun to act in English than in Finnish.”[/alert]
We talked about the lack of subtitles in most of the Finnish films in theatres but Nousiainen hadn’t thought about a possible wider reach of 2 Nights Till Morning. “It’s an interesting thought,” he said and adjusted his grey blazer. I hope that it gets a wider reach,” he smiled.
We moved to the question of challenges during filming. “One of the challenges was to portray a DJ properly. I contacted my good friend DJ Orkidea, who gave me some tips. There are too many good ones to name just one.”
I was also intrigued, whether Nousiainen had experienced a similar chance of life thrown on his way while traveling abroad. “Yeees, he said with a nostalgic tone. “It was in Canada in the late 90’s. “I am still thinking about her sometimes. How she is doing and so on.”
We concluded the discussions and I sat at another table to wait for Croze.
I looked at my notes and remembered that Croze said earlier at the press conference that “Mikko is more comfortable with the English language than me.” She said to Mikko: “You have rhythm. And I don’t. So I was very happy to share those scenes with you.”
After about half an hour, the French-Canadian actress, 46, walked towards me wearing brown leather boots, jeans and a dark shirt, her brown hair cut in a fringe. Her handshake was soft but firm, her eyes baby blue.
We talked about acting, which she compared to reading. “It’s like gymnastics to your brain and your soul. I used to read between the takes. When you read, you have to link with someone else’s brain. It’s actually the same process when you act.”
According to Croze, in many films the actors take turns rhythmically: You start. You stop. You start . . . “In this film, it didn’t happen that way. When you stop, you could lose something inside of you. Some of the life could disappear. My work is to keep the life going on all the time.”
The shooting schedule of the film was intense. It was filmed in 20 days in the same hotel, six days a week, 12 hours per day.
Croze has worked with directors such as Steven Spielberg (München (2005)) and actors such as James Franco (Everything Will Be Fine (2015)) and Daniel Craig (München), so I was eager to know whether there was any difference in working with Finns and the Hollywood big names.
“The Finnish people are very civilised and polite . . . ,” she said and continued,” I can only compare this with working the three Mikkos, you know there are three Mikkos (Mikko Tenhunen is the producer) in this film,” she smiled.
[alert type=blue ]”The Finnish people are very civilised and polite.”[/alert]
“I would say that it’s not a question of nationality. The acting process is such a mysterious thing. You have so many different actors . . .”
Croze said that as an actor it’s about growing up and developing your own technique. “You meet an actor with a different technique and you have to find a place where you both meet. For example, in this film I said to Mikko that I don’t like to say the lines too much or rehearse. I get bored.” “With Mikko, we met in the halfway.”
Our discussions had met the end due to her tight schedule.
“I like your hat,” she said and I smiled under my pale fedora with a baby blue rim.
“I like your films.”
‘2 Nights Till Morning’ opens in cinemas April 15.