fbpx Laugh or Die | Gene Siskel Film Center
22nd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival

Laugh or Die

Suomen hauskin mies

2018, Heikki Kujanpää, Finland, 99 min.
Martti Suosalo, Jani Volanen

Show Times

  • Fri, Mar 22nd 4:00pm
  • Mon, Mar 25th 8:00pm

This fact-based tale is set in the aftermath of the 1918 Finnish Civil War, when the Soviet- backed Reds were defeated by German-backed Whites. Thespian Tolvo Parikka (Suosalo), the self-styled "funniest man in Finland," finds himself in a German-run concentration camp as a suspected Red, although his fellow prisoners consider him a potential traitor. After using his comic skills to distract a firing squad, Parikka is spared by the commandant on the condition that he stage a comedy thatb will make a delegation of visiting dignitaries laugh...or else. The film's reckless mixture of farce and tragedy evokes such predecessors as TO BE OR NOT TO BE and STALAG 17. Director Kujanpää, for whom the film was a seven-year passion project, says, "The idea of opposites is employed everywhere in the cinematic language. The extremes-- hilarity and cruelty, desperation and faith, the base and the noble--are present in every scene." In Finnish and German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Media Luna. (MR)

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