How has the true story of featherweight boxer Olli Mäki, a distinctively Finnish tale, connected with cinema-goers across the globe?
The events in The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki unfold in Helsinki in the spring of 1962. The film follows the amateur fighter (played by Jarkko Lahti) as his highly ambitious manager Elis Ask (Eero Milonoff) puts him through a grueling training regime in the lead-up to a fight against the American pro Davey Moore (John Bosco Jr).
The venue is booked, the tickets have been sold and the door to the big time is ajar – not just for Mäki himself, but for Finland as a nation. The question is, can he give this fight everything he’s got? Or is he more focused on a future with his fiancée Raija (Oona Airola)?
Kuosmanen uses black and white cinematography, a subtle injection of humour and just a touch of nostalgia to tell a colourful story about love, ambition and the desire to live life to the fullest. Despite its links with the past, the film succeeds in drawing our attention to our contemporary obsession with success.
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