Cannes Critics’ Week film “The Woodcutter Story” has debuted its trailer. It’s the feature film directorial debut from Mikko Myllylahti, the writer of Cannes Un Certain Regard winner “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Makki.” The film is being sold by French sales outfit Totem Films.
“The Woodcutter Story” centers on Pepe, a woodcutter in an idyllic small town in Finland. In the span of a couple of days, a series of tragic events gradually destroys his quiet and happy life – but Pepe seems to be fine with it all, as if he held a secret to existence that is hard to grasp.
Myllylahti was inspired to write the story following an encounter with a woodcutter who – despite having lost everything – “accepted his ordeals with a smile on his face.”
Myllylahti said: “The more I thought of him and his attitude towards life I started to realize a potential for a story, a tale about the possibility of hope in our modern world filled with uncertainty and fear. I wanted to create a poetic universe where my kind woodcutter could live in, a quirky little village covered in snow and darkness, accompanied with the ensemble of strange characters.”
He said it is “a film that is very comical and very serious, metaphorical and plot-driven at the same time.”
He added: “To me cinema is poetry. This is also where my background is: I started out as a poet when I was 23. Any poetry – be it literature or cinema – is a contemplation on the language.
“A cinema that relies solely on the storytelling mechanics is inevitably just a visualized oral tale, a mere pale representation of reality without being that reality. Whereas a cinema that is structured on more layered approach, reaches out to transcendence beyond words and is able – even in the year 2022 – to shake us, or ‘to shock our soul’ as Tarkovsky put it, and create a lasting magnitude. This is also what I want to achieve with ‘The Woodcutter Story.’ ”
The film is produced by Aamu Film Company, owned by Jussi Rantamäki and Emilia Haukka. Their credits include “Compartment No 6,” the Grand Prix winner at Cannes last year; “Fucking With Nobody,” which premiered at Venice in 2020; and “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, winner of Un Certain Regard in Cannes in 2016.
“The Woodcutter Story” was selected for L’Atelier Cannes in 2019 and labs such as Next Step in 2018, Torino FeatureLab in 2018, Toronto Filmmaker Lab in 2018, Jerusalem Film Lab in 2016 and Berlinale Script Station in 2015.
The film stars Jarkko Lahti (“The Happiest Day of Olli Mäki”), HP Björkman, Iivo Tuuri, Marc Gassot and Katja Küttner.