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A Patriotic Man

Isänmaallinen mies

Finland | 2013 | 97 minutes | Arto Halonen

Sad-sack 50-something Toivo isn’t much of a physical specimen—or so he thinks. It turns out that his blood, rich in red blood cells, is a secret weapon that the Finnish Olympic Ski Team is bent on exploiting in the name of patriotism.

May 16, 2014
Lincoln Square Cinemas  
1:00 PM Date has passed
May 29, 2014
SIFF Cinema Egyptian  
9:30 PM Date has passed

Director Arto Halonen scheduled to attend

May 30, 2014
AMC Pacific Place 11  
4:00 PM Date has passed

Director Arto Halonen scheduled to attend

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Outwardly, Toivo (Martti Suosalo), a saturnine, out-of-work man in his 50s, is not much of a physical specimen. Inside, however, he is a secret weapon. After a trip to the doctor, a technician discovers that Toivo’s blood naturally contains an extremely high amount of hemoglobin—the kind desired by athletes to boost performance. Plus, he is O-negative, the universal donor blood type. Before long, the sad-sack Toivo is contacted by the Finnish Olympic Ski Team to tap his gold-medal blood supply. Though he initially refuses on moral grounds, officials ask him if he is a “patriotic man” who will do what he can for the ski-crazy nation. He is finally convinced by money and free cars—unquestioningly welcomed by his ambitious wife—and also to help the pretty, young Nordic skiing star, Aino (Pamela Tola). After some initial success, Toivo pays a heavy price for being used as the team’s “reserve tank.” Set in the ’70s and ’80s, A Patriotic Man is fictional but based on actual Olympic scandals. Well-known documentary director Arto Halonen effectively dramatizes how blood-doping was an open secret used to gain an edge over the mighty Soviet and Eastern Bloc teams. The dark topic is leavened by Halonen’s light comic touches, exciting skiing sequences, and a sympathetic performance by Suosalo as a man torn between serving his country and listening to his conscience.

Director Biography

Arto Halonen is a Finnish director and producer, known mostly for documentary short and features, such as The Magnetic Man (2009), Shadow of the Holy Book (2007), and Tynnyrimies (2004). He also taught cinematography in Joensuu, Finland. Halonen’s first dramatic feature, Princess (2010), won prizes worldwide and is one of the highest-grossing Finnish films of the last 10 years.

Sponsored by Seattle University Film Studies, W Seattle Hotel, FOOL Serious

Director: Arto Halonen
Principal Cast: Martti Suosalo, Pamela Tola, Janne Reinikainen, Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Mikko Kouki
Country: Finland
Year: 2013
Running Time: 97 minutes
Producer: Arto Halonen, Igor A. Nola
Screenplay: Arto Halonen, Jouni K. Kempainen
Cinematographers: Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen
Editors: Tuuli Kuittinen
Music: Alfi Kabiljo
Filmography: When Heroes Lie (Doc, 2012); Victors and Vanquished (Doc, 2011); Princess (2010); The Magnetic Man (Doc, 2009); Shadow of the Holy Book (Doc, 2007); Confrontations in Cuba (Doc, 2007); Pavlov’s Dogs (Doc, 2006); Moonshine Village (Doc, 2006); Conquistadors of Cuba (Doc, 2005); Karmapa - Two Ways of Divinity (Doc, 1998); Karmapa - A Voyage on the Roof of the World (Doc, 1998); A Dreamer and the Dreamtribe (Doc, 1998); Ringside (Doc, 1992); The Light Behind the Shade (Doc, 1990); Aaro Iivari Aukusti, Farmer’s Son (Doc, 1988)
Language: Finnish
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: DCP
International Sales: Finnish Film Foundation
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