Archive for April 30th, 2011

1993, April 30 – PREMIERE OF “ONNEN MAA”

The prodigal son Tenho returns to his boyhood village hoping to recapture sweet memories of his youth but no one knows that he is a tango dancer…however, the country life is being assaulted by changes from the big city and there is much resentment…Tenho to his dismay, is seen as the black sheep of the family and he becomes a laughing stock…he tries desperately to fit by trying to match the other men of the family in their strenuous chores but he doesn’t quite succeed and he gets criticized and even bullied…Tenho begins to teach some of the other young people how to dance the tango which the elders do not like… in time he manages to conquer the village beauty, the sensuous milkmaid Vira to the astonishment of the others…”Onnen Maa” (Happiness in March), directed and written by Markku Polenen, was well received by critics and public alike…it artfully blends comedy and nostalgia in just under an hour; it has won several awards in film festivals…Polenen’s films are usually set in the country side; the preservation of Finland’s country culture and values is somewhat of a personal crusade for him…


Markku Polenen, born in Eno Finland, started out installing water pumps as a young man but he dreamed of making films…eventually, he attended Finland’s premiere film school and began working in television…he went on to become one of Finlands celebrated film directors earning numerous awards for his work…he bought the production company Suomen Filmeteollisuuss which he runs with the help of his wife Satu….perhaps his best film is “Dog Nail Clipper” which was released  in 2004 and  won the equivalent of Finland’s academy award in a number of categories….almost from the beginning Finland fell in love with tango; by the 1940s half of all popular published music was a tango especially in the habanera rhythm…perhaps no one did more to popularize tango in Finland than the legendary Olavi Virta…he was born to a musical family; both his father and grandfather were singers…Olavi was immensely popular but he would die destitute from complications of alcohol abuse at the age of fifty-seven years old