An original translation by Michael Laudahn:
FINLAND: Finnish national hero Gustaf Mannerheim, the only one having received the title ‘Marshal of Finland’, is being portrayed by a black actor in a new film. Finland, which has been largely spared of the paralysing politically correct dogma, now seems to get its fair dose.
The film titled ‘The Marshal of Finland’ has its premiere later in september, during a Helsinki film festival. Mannerheim’s roll is being played by kenyan Telley Savalas Otieno a choice which has caused much rebellion and debate in our neighbouring country.
We are totally taken by surprise of the strong reactions. The entire country is divided into two parts, like during an earthquake’, says the movie’s producer Erkko Lyytinen at finnish public service radio/tv YLE. Many excited voices have been raised, and certain people consider it scandalous that the national hero is played by a black man. Media and bloggers, however, are much more content with this choice. According to Lyytinen, the debate indicates a low self-esteem, who also thinks that reactions would have been different in Sweden.
‘I figure that reactions would have been different in Sweden. How would you have seen it if, let’s say, Gustaf II Adolf had been depicted as member of a different race?’ [For the reply, see readers’ reactions.]
The film is a finno-estonian-kenyan co-production and has been shot in Kenya. The definite product will probably last a bit more than one hour, and it will be shown both at the film festival and on tv, later this year. Lyytinen thinks that Mannerheim certainly is a national hero, while simultaneously pointing at the fact that his activities lie 75 years back in time, and that much has happened in finnish society since then. ‘But the movie is about reports. A man reports the Mannerheim history for a group of Kenyan children, who obviously imagine Mannerheim a person more or less as they are. It is about an attempt to see things from different angles. We who are behind the film have tried to achieve this, but it went wrong, says Erkko Lyytinen, laughing.