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Click the background image to view video of the invitational premiere in Helsinki on April 9 2015.
Filming and editing: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Petri Kotwica’s Henkesi Edestä (For Your Life) is a torturing thriller and will leave you exhausted after the full 1 hour and 32 minutes.
The film follows a couple, a pregnant Kiia (Laura Birn) and her husband Lauri (Eero Aho), who accidentally hit something while driving in the night on their way to hospital to give birth ahead of time.
Lauri plunges into the darkness to find out what it was. After returning, he convinces Kiia that he saw nothing and it was probably a deer.
In the hospital, Kiia meets Hanna (Mari Rantasila), who says her husband has been run over and the driver has escaped the scene.
Piece by piece, Kiia finds herself tangled in a web of lies, in a constant struggle in the search for what would be the right thing to do . . .
Henkesi Edestä succeeds in casting contrasts between birth and the concept of death as the scenes often display Kiia cradling her newborn while seeking the truth.
Laura Birn is phenomenal in her role as a mother and a compassionate human being in the squeeze of being fed with blurry facts and lies.
You can visually observe the pain in Eero Aho’s eyes while he struggles with sin and justice.
Mari Rantasila is no less convincing as a widow who finds her dreams shattered.
Director Kotwica is known for dramas such as the Jussi-awarded Black Ice (2007), which also competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
He finds his inspiration from legendary directors ranging from Stanley Kubrick to Ingmar Bergman.
And it shows.
The directing and cinematography of the film create suspense with purple flowers in a bunch, a close-up of a butter-knife-holding hand in a heated argument or a random smiling face after an aggressive outburst.
Kowac’s inspiration for Henkesi Edestä dwells from a car crash he experienced about three years ago.
He fell asleep for a fraction of a second while driving alone in bright daylight. He survived by a few muscle sprains and pain, which lasted for a few months.
He started seeing nightmares of the horrible things that could have happened: He could have hit a fellow human!
Henkesi Edestä is not a happy movie but instead evokes thoughts of life and death and the temporary nature of it all.
It succeeds exceptionally well.