A Finnish boxer falls in love in this gorgeously upbeat sporting romance
The true story of a long-forgotten Finnish featherweight’s crack at the world boxing title in the late 1960s is the jumping-off point for this unexpectedly lyrical drama about life’s innocent pleasures – and surely one of the year’s most charming arthouse treats. Captured in atmospheric 16mm black-and-white, Juho Kuosmanen’s film is a deceptively simple recreation of the run-up to the big bout. Jarkko Lahti is Olli Mäki, a wiry, modest 25-year-old country baker and fighter who struggles to cope with the hype whipped up by his ambitious manager. Really, he’d much prefer to be spending time with the new love he’s just met at a wedding.
Thanks to Lahti’s instantly likeable performance, we’re soon rooting for him, and the movie slowly reveals itself as a parable about all that is lost when professionalism, greed and image-conscious PR muscle in on the purity of sport. With its loving recreation of the period, this is a must for vintage design fans. But what’s most remarkable is how the film somehow avoids the trap of twee nostalgia. Instead, it’s an authentic celebration of the timeless delights of country bike rides and skimming stones. Absolutely lovely.
Cast and crew
Average User Rating
3.9 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:10
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
The world does not need another boxing movie, and fortunately Olli Maki delivers so much more.
Beautifully written and shot - this piece in Black and White with subtitles makes the viewer work a little, but not half as hard as the eponymous boxer.
Its a glimpse of reality. The man - his passions and his loves - and those around him trying to manipulate it all for their own gain.
Really enjoyed it - and now know about MUBI which is no bad thing.
Just signed up to their download service.
More of this please.
Although this film wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and would definitely recommend it. The film is a true story that follows Olli Maki and his upcoming world championship boxing match. The film was presented in black and white which I thought added to the experience. Don’t get caught up in the fact that it’s a boxing movie… it’s definitely a great love story as well! Don’t miss the very last scene when the real Olli Maki and his wife are shown walking along the river and the actor’s comment that they hope they will be as happy as them one day. A nice touch!