Review: ‘Princess’

A cheerfully delusional patient locks horns with the chief doctor at a Finnish mental hospital over the course of a decade in "Princess."

A cheerfully delusional patient locks horns with the chief doctor at a Finnish mental hospital over the course of a decade in “Princess,” the fiction debut of noted documentarian Arto Halonen. Based on a true story, key facts of which are substantially changed here, the handsomely packaged period tale sold 277,000 ducats domestically, making it the third most popular local film of 2010. For offshore audiences, however, it lacks spark (other than that provided by the 1950s electroshock therapy), although it will hold court in fests and film weeks.

The action takes place at country manor-like Kellokoski from 1945-54, where inmate Anna Lappalainen (Katja Kukkola Kuttner, touching) refers to herself as Princess. In between suffering insulin shots, electroshock and malaria treatment at the hands of her nemesis, Dr. Grotenfelt (Samuli Edelmann), and narrowly escaping a lobotomy, Princess endears herself to other patients, staff and the village of Kellokoski with her kindness, eccentric grande dame manner and gifts of needlework and massage. Lensing is lush, costumes colorful, and the spritely score works overtime to instill some drama. Kuttner nabbed Finland’s Jussi award for best actress of the year.




A Sandrew Metronome release of an Art Films production, in association with MTV2, with the support of the Finnish Film Foundation, the Media Programme of the European Union, Nordisk Film and TV Fund. (International sales: Art Films, Helsinki.) Produced, directed by Arto Halonen. Screenplay, Pirjo Toikka, Halonen, Paavo Westerberg.


Camera (color, widescreen), Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen; editor, Tuuli Kuittinen; music, Tuomas Kantelinen; art director, Jukka Uusitalo; costume designer, Ritva Muikku; sound (Dolby Digital), Antti Koukonen, Samuli Pullinen, Juha Linna, Heikki Innanen. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, March 3, 2011. (In Gothenburg Film Festival -- competing; 2010 Montreal World Film Festival -- First Films, competing.) Running time: 98 MIN.


Katja Kukkola Kuttner, Krista Kosonen, Samuli Edelmann, Peter Franzen, Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, Paula Vesala, Antti Litja, Paava Westerberg, Irma Junnilainen, Tapio Liinoja.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety