We meet two teenage girls from a Conservative Laestadian community who travel to Helsinki, where they meet other people of their age. Here, they learn about a lifestyle that differs greatly from the girls' religious way of life, where wackiness ensues!
Mr Dome Karukoski and actors Marjut Maristo and Amanda Pilk were kind enough to answer a few questions about the film.
Dome Karukoski, 34 - Won over 30 international awards and is the director of the box-office film Lapland Odyssey which showed at the Canberra int. filmi festival 2011. My father is an American actor and my mother a Finnish journalist.
Marjut Maristo, 26 - Is studying in the university of Helsinki to become a teacher. She started working on films as an amateur and has also done some theater after receiving main roles in films like Forbidden Fruit and The Home Of Dark Butterflies. Marjut is currently in Barcelona continuing her studies, but still wants to do films now and then. Was awarded for her role in Forbidden Fruit in festivals in Vienna, Mons Belgium and Zerkalo film festival, Russia.
Amanda Pilke, 20 made her name by acting in the big series "The Eastern Front" that tells stories of a small village in eastern Finland. Amanda has now received numerous roles in films by first rank directors like Dome Karukoski (Forbidden Fruit, Aku Louhimies and Antti Jokinen).Amanda has received numerous awards for her role in Forbidden Fruit in Mons Belgium, Festroia Portugal and the the best supporting actress award in the Finnish film awards Jussi's.
The Movie Club - Are differing religions of great interest to you? What made you want to make this story?
Dome: I met a girl that was the real life "Rachel". She had left her church of Conservative Laestadians. After she left, her father disowed her. He told her that she was not part of the family anymore and that she was not allowed to meet her siblings. She was the most complicated girl I had met. She was the launching point for me to make the film. At the same time Aleksi Bardy, the screenwriter of the film was interested on making a film of the "biblical Finland". -An area up north in Finland where a lot of Lutheran sects are very strong.
The Movie Club - The recent American movie Martha Marcy May Marlene follows a young girl who escapes a cult and finds it difficult to assimilate into regular life. With the young characters leaving to 'taste the forbidden fruit', was there any temptation to enhance the differences between living a relatively standard Finnish life and the lives led by apostolic Lutheran families? What methods helped the actors to convey these differences?
Amanda&Marjut - We made a pact with Dome and some of the other actors that for four months before the film shoot, we would abide to strict rules like the Conservative Laestadians do. We didn't watch TV, listen to pop music, use any alcohol, curse or even dance, which is also forbidden for the sect. Instead of not having sex, we ate no candy. It would've been quite difficult to explain to our spouses that we are not allowed to have sex for four months. Leaving away candy was a good alternative for that.
The Movie Club - What was it like working on set? Had the main cast and director worked together before?
Dome - I worked with Marjut in the Home of Dark Butterflies and that worked well. It was my first time to work with Amanda. We became like siblings with the girls.
Marjut&Amanda - The same. We became like siblings with Dome. The most frightful thing for us was to jump from a 6-meter cliff into water. We were so afraid and almost didn't want to do it. Dome and some other crew members jumped in first to encourage us. So we did it!!! It was a leap of faith:)
We miss the crew and the jump.
The Movie Club - What are your current/future projects?
Marjut - I will study in Barcelona for a few moments. I might do some theater in the summer. But no movies yet.
Amanda - My newest film "Vuosaari" by the multiawarded Aku Loukimies is premiering in Finland now. I play a girl that wants to become famous with any cost. I'm also shooting a film with Hollywood director Antti Jokinen. This one is in Finland and Estonia and it's based on the famous novel "The Purge". It will premiere in the fall of 2012.
Dome - I have several projects on development stage. One is about racism, one about the modeling world and one is about the most biggest warhero of Finlanf Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. I don't yet know which one I'll do first. That solution will be made by those who finance films...
Luke McWilliams, Feb 2012