Antti J. Jokinen wins best director at 19th Shanghai International Film Festival

via the Finnish Film Foundation

Antti J. Jokinen’s Flowers of Evil won the best director award at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival. The street-tough gang drama Flowers of Evil features predominantly non-professional actors, next to Tommi Korpela, Krista Kosonen and rapper Mikael Gabriel. Breathing with the rhythm of street music, the film is an edgy, topical and ragged story of a family trying to survive the pressures of restlesness. The main character Sipe, 14, has a touching relationship with his stepbrother Juno and his family, which is the main focus of the story. The threat is continuously simmering, until the unrest breaks out into a riot – with fatal results. Flowers of Evil is a social commentary on the problems of suburban life in Helsinki. The film is produced by Markus Selin and Jukka Helle, Ari Tolppanen and Mikko Leino for Solar Films inc.

Jokinen commented the prestigious award as follows: “Although the prize was awarded for the artistic merit in directing, I myself that since the win comes in such a large festival’s main competition, it is more an award for the choice of the subject matter rather than a single person’s performance. The Finnish realism seems to be of interest to the world. On the basis of jury discussions, it became clear to me that they felt that this is a new cinematic angle to the Finnish society. ”

Jokinen also emphasizes: “It is also particularly important that the whole team, with the exception of a few actors, were first timers.”

Jokinen’s previous film Midwife was also nominated for the Golden Goblet at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and Krista Kosonen won the best actress for her role in the film.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.