THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI
It's rare to have a boxing movie without a love story, if only to show how the harshness of the sport clashes with the tenderness of relationships. From the very beginning, feelings are at the helm of Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen's feature-film debut. Olli Mäki has just fallen for Raija and is losing interest in boxing. How unfortunate that, as one of Finland's most talented pugilists, he has to take on an American boxer at the championship in Helsinki! His manager is trying to push him to his limits. It's 1962 and the media hype is one more challenge for the reluctant Olli to deal with. Raiji even helps with the training by riding a bike in front of the boxers. But the focus on training is bad for the relationship. On top of it all, Olli struggles to lose weight before the big day. Director Kuosmanen does a fantastic job of showing nuances in human behavior. This black-and-white film, his first, is a laconic, gently humorous, anti-boxing romance that gently hits exactly the right spots. THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI had its world premiere in Cannes in 2016 and its German premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. It was nominated by Finland the following year as that country's entry for best foreign film at the Oscars. It didn't win an award, but life isn't about winning; it's rather about all the things that truly make us happy.
Meet the director
Juho Kuosmanen, b. 1979, attended Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, graduating in 2014. His short films have won numerous prizes at festivals including Cannes Cinéfondation and Locarno. Kuosmanen has also acted and directed for the stage, working with the avant-garde ensemble West Coast Kokkola Opera. THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI is his first feature film.