“Making Compartment Nº6 has been an inspiring challenge and a journey full of difficulties, such as bad weather, shooting in a narrow space… But well, film is in itself a challenge and an adventure, which has nothing to do with controlling reality.” Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen presented online, from Paris, the film with which he is competing for the Golden Spike in the Official Section of the 66th edition of Seminci, Compartment Nº6, anenigmatic story about the difficulty of human relationships. There in person in Calderón Theatre’s Hall of Mirrors on Wednesday 27th October 2021 was Finnish actress Seidi Haarla, who in this film plays her first major role as the star of a feature film. “It’s been a great experience, both shooting the film and coming here today to Valladolid. The filming was like a long journey that changed my life in a natural way,” said Haarla.
In the film – which already shared the Cannes Grand Jury Award with Asghar Farhadi‘s A Hero and will represent Finland at the Oscars – a young Finnish woman takes a train from Moscow to Murmansk, in the Arctic, almost two thousand kilometres away, to see some petroglyphs. But the young woman will have to share a sleeper car with a somewhat alcoholic and unpleasant Russian miner, at least at first. Nevertheless, Kuosmanen talks in Compartment No. 6 about people who meet each other and who, despite their differences, manage to understand each other and help each other in some way. The film, in that sense, also surprises the viewer as it progresses.
Juho Kuosmanen said that the film was inspired by a novel by Rosa Liksom, which he read in 2011 and which had been stuck in his head. “When I read it, the idea of making a film came to me, even though the novel is much broader and touches on many themes. But, although I kept putting it aside, every time I got on a train the idea of making this film came up again.” That was until he decided to make it once and for all, setting it in the 1990s, when so-called smartphones didn’t yet exist. “Smartphones have changed the very scale of the world and our existence, distances and the need to ask people we don’t know for help. We are missing out on the kind of encounters seen in this film,” Kuosmanen reflected.
Actress Seidi Haarla, meanwhile, recalled that to prepare for her role, she was inspired by her own memories of the past, when she spent five months in St. Petersburg, to study, and there learnt the rudiments of Russian, since no one spoke English then. “That is something that has certainly helped me a lot for this film,” he said.
Compartment Nº6 will be screened today Wednesday at the Carrión and Calderón Theatres at 7pm, and tomorrow Thursday at Broadway Cinemas at 10.30pm.