Up North Films

Finnish American Lives

(1982)
47 minutes.

A moving portrait of traditional Finnish American culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, highlighting that fragile community of memory connecting ourselves with parents and grandparents. It uses the “biographical model” of folklore filmmaking to tell the story of Erikki Vourenmaa, a 92-year-old Finnish immigrant, and his family living near Ironwood, Michigan. This three-generation farm family works, celebrates, reflects, and grieves together. The film explores the meaning of family, ethnic history, aging and intergenerational bonds. It contrasts between the immigrant elder, his American-born son and the partially assimilated grandchildren to illustrate change and continuity in the "sauna belt" of the Lake Superior Region. As Dr. Sharon Sherman concluded, “Loukinen’s focus on the bonds between generations will strike emotional chords about family relationships and ethnic identity for numerous cultural groups.”

Price: $20