Directed by Pirjo Honkasalo (Finland, Sweden, & Denmark, 2013). Simo (Johannes Brotherus) is a 14 year-old boy in search of himself, unable to yet decode and interpret life around him. He and his big brother Ilkka (Jari Virman) are the sons of a helpless and unpredictable single mother (Anneli Karppinen). Their chaotic home is located deep in the heart of a concrete jungle in Helsinki. Ilkka has one day of freedom left before starting his prison sentence and their mother persuades Simo to spend this last night with him.
During the last 24 hours of Ilkka’s freedom, the brothers roam around Helsinki, witnessing incidents they would rather not have seen. Vulnerable Simo is not equipped to justify what he sees or delude himself. To him, the unfiltered world seems unbearable.
Finally a casual encounter with a photographer, whose intentions Simo misreads, launches him into blind fear. In the panic-stricken violence that ensues, Simo finds his missing identity, his true face.
Director Pirjo Honkasalo wrote the film script based on the hard-driving novel of the same name by Pirkko Saisio. Published in 1981, the novel foreshadowed the disconnected world we live in today. Honkasalo’s bold and perceptive urban film is a dream-like odyssey about the fragile mind of a young boy and the loss of innocence.
96 min. | In Finnish with English subtitles.
Special thanks to Film Republic, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Icelandic Film Centre, and Magnolia Pictures.
About the director
Pirjo Honkasalo (b. 1947, Helsinki) is an established director, cinematographer, and screen writer who has won numerous awards for her work. She directed several feature films in the 1970s and 80s together with Pekka Lehto, including Flame Top/Tulipää (1980), which was chosen for the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. In the 1990s she focused on featured documentaries, directing the award-winning The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic (Mysterion, Tanjuska and the 7 Devils, and Atman) (1991, 1993, and 1997) and returned to feature films with Fire-Eater in 1998 and again in 2014 with Concrete Night.
Honkasalo has over 20 retrospectives of her work worldwide, has acted as a member of several international juries, and actively gives international master classes.
She is also Finland’s first female cinematographer to shoot a feature film. Honaksalo acts as director and cinematographer in each of her documentaries.
Concrete Night won six Jussi Awards in 2014, among them the Jussi for Best Direction and for Best Film. The film made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in the Master series and is also Finland’s official entry for the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.