×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

10 Directors to Watch: ‘Heart of a Lion’ Director Dome Karukoski Tests Limits

Take-no-prisoners Finnish director targets gay-themed 'Tom of Finland' biopic next

“Liberation inspires me,” says Finnish filmmaker Dome Karukoski.

As someone who “doesn’t control himself,” Karukoski, the director of the neo-Nazi family drama “Heart of a Lion,” lives the same way he likes his cinema: without compunction.

“If I have a small hint that I will be ashamed of something, I’ll do it,” says the helmer. “Shame is one of the greatest obstacles for a director: If you’re feeling shame, it’s difficult to portray anything greater on the bigscreen.”

In “Heart of a Lion,” for example, he brazenly displays the brutality of the neo-Nazi life. “We wanted to make the violence as true as possible so it aches and traumatizes,” he says.

Karukoski’s films aren’t all vicious. Although his second film “Home of the Dark Butterflies” shows the ruthless goings-on at a Finnish boys’ school, he has also made a music-driven romantic drama (his debut “Beauty and the Bastard”), a distaff coming-of-age film (“Forbidden Fruit”) and a dark comedy (“Lapland Odyssey”).

“I always want to do something different,” he says. “I don’t seek security. After three dramas, I did a comedy, and we started it with five suicides.”

Karukoski, a self-described actors’ director, cites a range of movie influences. In his Helsinki office, he has posters of “The Godfather” and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Blue” on the wall. He was so taken with the latter film that when he saw it on his 18th birthday — “with its use of music and melodrama,” he says — he stole the poster from the theater’s wall.

After unveiling “Heart of a Lion” at Toronto, Karukoski scored an ICM agent and momentum for his highest-profile project yet: “Tom of Finland,” the story of the larger-than-life gay erotic artist that he hopes to shoot next year.

He’s also finishing up his latest Finnish film “The Grump,” and preparing to look for Hollywood-based projects. And though his U.S. reps want him to conceive of a 20-year-plan, the Finnish answer to that, he says, “is to make films that are not totally shit — that’s our way of showing encouragement.”

Stats:
› Age: 37
› Home base: Helsinki
› Agencies: ICM Partners; Actors In Scandinavia; The Lisa Richards Agency

More Film

  • Cannes The Square Winner

    SF Studios Acquires Nordic Rights to Ruben Östlund’s 'Triangle of Sadness'

    SF Studios has acquired the Nordic distribution rights to Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” the Swedish filmmaker’s follow up to the Palme d’Or winning “The Swquare.” A contemporary satire taking place in the world of fashion, “Triangle of Sadness” is set on a luxury yacht and ends up on a deserted island where hierarchies are [...]

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • 'The Cordillera of Dreams' Review: Poetic

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Cordillera of Dreams'

    Rounding out his sublimely meditative, deeply personal documentary-essay trilogy on time, memory and the relationship of Chile’s breathtaking landscapes to its troubled human history, Patricio Guzmán delivers “The Cordillera of Dreams,” a haunting and allusive exploration of the cultural impact of the country’s most spectacular geological feature: its snowcapped mountain spine. Coming after the exploration [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content