SFFLA 2015: Finnish film "Heart of a Lion (Leijonasydän)" Moves Audience!

On Sunday last week, this writer attended the screening of the gripping 2013 Finnish drama "Heart of a Lion" from director Dome Karukoski. The movie is about a Neo-Nazi man named Teppo who one day falls in love with woman who happens to have a biracial son from a previous relationship. This development would force him to examine his racist nature and would test his relationship with his half-brother Harri, who happens to be a hard-core Neo-Nazi.

The film offers a timely message on tolerance and acceptance at a time when Europe is under threat from the extremists of both ends. It does not romanticize the subject matter and it offers no clear-cut solution to the problem either. What it does is present the growing threat in small cities across Europe and allows the audience to act according to what side they are on the issue. Don't get me wrong, the movie is strongly against racism and intolerance but it does not totally demonize those who are in the wrong side but are willing to make a change for the better.

The screening was attended by director Dome Karukosi, actor Jasper Pääkkönen, who plays the half-brother Harri, and screenwriter Aleksi Bardy. The audience was so moved by the film that the post-screening Q&A lasted over 40 minutes and the photo-ops took so long that the screening for the next film had to be delayed for a couple of minutes to give some people time to have their pictures taken with the filmmakers.

Below are pictures from the screening. Of course, i had to be in some of them!

SFFLA Festival Director James Koenig (2nd from Right)
with (L-R, screenwriter Aleksi Bardy,
actor Jasper Paakkonen and director Dome Karukosi
Raymond Lo (center) with Jasper Paakkonen and Dome Karukosi
Raymond Lo

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