'Sinful Song' was directorial debut

Director Rauni Mollberg died of leukemia Oct. 11 in Helsinki. He was 78.

Mollberg started as an actor, then turned into directing, first for television and then for cinema with the 1973 debut feature ” The Earth is a Sinful Song,” which remains one of Finland’s most successful films. 

The prizewinning film, an adaptation of a novel by Timo K. Mukka, portrays nature, sexuality, religion and death in a Lapland village.

Another success was a remake of the definitive Finnish war film, “The Unknown Soldier” in 1986. While he was criticized for daring to remake a Finnish classic, his approach using teen actors proved successful.

Mollberg received five Jussi awards as a director, and one as a producer.

His last feature, 1994′s “Children of Paradise,” a satire about an upstart businesswoman striving for success was neither a critical or commercial success. In his later years, he returned to directing for television.

He is survived by a daughter.

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