Following his 2016 Un Sure Regard win with “The Happiest Day within the Lifetime of Olli Mäki,” Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen is again in Cannes with “Compartment No. 6,” and this time, in the primary competitors. Impressed by Rosa Liksom’s e-book, it follows two strangers on a prepare to Murmansk, Russia: a younger Finnish lady, dreaming of seeing historical petroglyphs, and a Russian miner.
The motion takes place on the prepare for a lot of the story. What have been the challenges of staying in a confined house?
We departed from St. Petersburg and shot on the prepare for nearly two weeks. However we didn’t go all the way in which to Murmansk, despite the fact that that was our first concept.
One apparent reference level was Wolfgang Petersen’s “Das Boot.” It might need been simpler to shoot in some studio, nevertheless it simply wouldn’t look that convincing. All these corridors and compartments, these are actually small locations. You’re employed slower, as a result of nobody might match there — aside from my DP, J-P Passi, and his assistant. I wish to be with my actors and now I needed to watch them on the monitor. It introduced a lot to the movie although, this complete claustrophobic pressure. However I used to be comfortable to get out and shoot on location for a bit.
In your earlier movie, Oona Airola delivered an unbelievable efficiency. And this movie includes a robust feminine character.
Seidi Haarla [as lead character Laura] was the primary particular person I solid. Within the e-book, the steadiness between these two is off. He takes up all this house, she is so quiet. We wished to have a stronger feminine character, proper from the beginning. She is powerful, humorous, not some fragile lady you need to fear about. That’s what I felt was necessary — I didn’t need the viewers to fret that one thing dangerous was going to occur, that she would get assaulted. They’re locked there collectively, on this tiny compartment, so your thoughts begins to wander: “Is she going to outlive? Is he going to rape her?” I wished them to be equal.
Within the e-book, he felt way more threatening.
After we have been nonetheless engaged on the script, we have been extra devoted to the e-book. Now, this man is youthful, extra approachable. That’s why we modified his identify to Ljoha; he grew to become this complete different particular person. We have been free to try this, as a result of Rosa Liksom mainly advised us to. She stated the e-book is hers, however the movie is mine.
Discovering these two was the toughest problem. We have been desirous about casting an older man, between 45 and 55 years outdated, and I simply didn’t imagine the story! Then, I noticed Yuriy Borisov in “The Bull” at Karlovy Range. They seem like brother and sister, as in the event that they shared the identical childhood. It’s not your standard love story; it’s about connection. They perceive one another, even with out phrases.
I wasn’t certain when this story came about. It was Laura’s Walkman and the point out of “Titanic” that lastly gave it away.
The e-book is about within the Nineteen Eighties, so we modified that as properly. I’m comfortable to listen to that you just weren’t certain — that’s one thing we wished to realize. There are not any smartphones right here, in order that’s one factor. I didn’t need her to really feel related to her buddies on a regular basis, or that she will Google one thing. She really is determined by different individuals’s assist.
Additionally, with a rustic like Russia, with such a sophisticated historical past, when you determine on a selected 12 months, all these political connotations come pouring in. I wasn’t thinking about that — I used to be thinking about these two individuals.
It’s nearly humorous, watching this movie through the pandemic. It’s about individuals caught in a confined house, and so relieved after they lastly get out.
They closed the borders two weeks earlier than we have been presupposed to wrap, and we determined to remain in Russia. We labored with a small crew, however we managed to do every thing that we wished. We received very fortunate. We really needed to smuggle the final movie inventory into Finland. The Russian driver took us to the border and there was no one there. It was like coming into a ghost city.
There may be this second within the movie when Ljoha asks her about Moscow. She says: “There have been individuals, there have been events, laughter and music. And now it’s all gone.” It actually hit me. Now, it has extra which means than ever. All these regular, staple items have been all of a sudden taken away from us.