It’s wonderful. Its witty dialog and Finnish humor makes you chuckle in your seat. Teit meistä kauniin (You Made Us Beautiful) tells the story of one of the most popular Finnish bands, Apulanta, whose members posed in posters on the walls of teenaged girls and in the plastered basements of boys’ local punk and rock groups in the 90’s. While the story of the teenaged punk/rock group pushing off from a small town of Heinola in Päijänne region itself is intriguing, the subplot of the depression in the early ’90s is a real kicker. Especially for guys like me who grew up in a similar environment.
The film is simply amazing! Oh, but I already said that . . . but it’s true and the honor for this goes to Director Tuukka Temonen, Screenwriter Niisku Haapala, the cast and cinematographers Arttu Peltomaa and Jan-Niclas Jansson.
Teit meistä kauniin is Temonen’s debut film, even though he has an extensive background directing music videos, for example. Temonen’s link to Apulanta is indeed very personal: he was one of the original members. He played bass in the group.
Temonen said to me that he chose the actors for the film doing a simple Google image search, looking for Finnish actors who resembled the members of the band. During the casting, Temonen assembled the final cast by intuition.
It turns out, Temonen has a great gut instinct for casting. For example, actor Iiro Panula, who plays the young Tuukka Temonen himself, nails it by playing a troubled teen with a tender heart. Tatu Sinisalo, on the other hand, plays the role of the vocalist and guitarist Toni Wirtanen sublimely. In short, the whole cast shines down to the simple role of a bum (Tenho Linnala).
The cinematography uses saturated colors for a VHS feel, and the setting breaths authenticity to the last detail. For example, Temonen chooses to illustrate the core of the Finnish depression of the 90’s in a scene where they take down the sign of the national commercial bank, Kansallis-Osake-Pankki KOP, one of the great symbols for the Finnish banking crisis and economic downturn.
In short: Teit meistä kauniin is the best Finnish film to come out this year and beyond.
Teit meistä kauniin premieres in cinemas September 7.