Gracious Night

Yö Armahtaa

Finland, 2020
90 minutes, Color

Official website

Early in the pandemic, Helsinki is deserted like a host wondering where everyone went. In his empty bar, Heikki (Pertti Sveholm) sits down to dinner alone, contemplating the possibility of having to close down the pub, his whole life. Risto (Kari Heiskanen), a doctor, knocks on the door; a few glasses of good red wine later, Risto is himself in an existential crisis. Enter Jussi (Timo Torikka), antsy and haunted, forcing attention on himself. Gracious Night takes a Chekhovian turn as three men contemplate the world, "brittle in so many spots," and ask how, as the jukebox song goes, "can everything be finished when nothing is done." The actors, Kaurismäki regulars, developed their characters and wrote the dialogue; hence the tenderness with which they approach their crises and each other. Kaurismäki owns a beloved bar in Helsinki that is the set for the bar in this film.—Judy Bloch

In Finnish with English subtitles

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