2 Best Movies to Watch by Juho Kuosmanen

Staff & contributors

In Compartment Number 6, two different people strike an unlikely friendship during a train ride from Moscow to Murmansk. One is Laura, a Finnish student looking to observe ancient rock carvings at their destination, and the other is Ljoha, a gruff miner who hopes to secure a job once there. While the pair are initially unable to get on the same page, their friction eventually lends way to curiosity and empathy, especially as they learn more about each other and life itself.

It’s a great film to put on if you’re a fan of smart but subdued movies like the Before trilogy and Lost in Translation, and there is a lot to mine beyond their already-rich conversations, especially in terms of class and romance. It’s little wonder then that this delightful two-hander shares the 2021 Grand Prix award with another brilliant piece of art, Asghar Farhadi's A Hero.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Denis Pyanov, Dinara Drukarova, Galina Petrova, Konstantin Murzenko, Natalia Drozd, Polina Aug, Seidi Haarla, Sergey Agafonov, Tomi Alatalo, Valeriy Nikolaev, Yuliya Aug, Yuriy Borisov

Director: Juho Kuosmanen

Rating: R

Most sports biopics are centered around winners– their drive, their spirit, and their determination to beat the competition, and maybe win some glory for their respective teams, hometowns, or countries. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki instead focuses on a Finnish boxer that lost a match. Shot in 16mm black and white film stock, writer-director Juho Kuosmanen captures the man, not the legend, in sequences that feel like decades-old memories that draws you into his story, his humble character, and the motivations that drive him, a yearning for love rather than bragging rights, trophies, and nationalistic pride. It’s such a charming twist to the genre, one that recognizes a different kind of masculinity. While Mäki might not be the world’s best boxer, this film suggests that he might be one of the happiest, forgoing an important match for a marriage that ended up lasting his lifetime.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Aaro Airola, Anna Airola, Claes Andersson, Deogracias Masomi, Eero Milonoff, Elma Milonoff, Emilia Jansson, Esko Barquero, Heikki Metsämäki, Iiris Anttila, Jarkko Lahti, Jarmo Kiuru, Joanna Haartti, Joonas Saartamo, Leimu Leisti, Mika Melender, Olli Rahkonen, Oona Airola, Pia Andersson, Salla Yli-Luopa, Tiina Weckström, Viljami Lahti

Director: Juho Kuosmanen

Rating: NR