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Finland | 2019 | 106 minutes | Miia Tervo

A poor, hard-partying nail technician reluctantly agrees to play matchmaker for an Iranian refugee so he and his young daughter can stay in Finland in this cross-cultural romantic drama.

"Suffused with tenderness and melancholy."—Variety

Aurora (Mimosa Willamo, SIFF 2017's Lake Bodom) is a perpetually single, hard-partying nail technician who dreams of leaving town and never coming back, but her unrepentant alcoholism and recent eviction from her home make that goal financially difficult to attain. Darian (Amir Escandari) is an Iranian refugee new to Finnish Lapland who will do anything for his young daughter. When the two randomly meet late one night at a hot-dog kiosk, she rejects his sudden, desperate marriage proposal but responds with an offer: If Darian ponies up 3,000 Euros, she'll help him find a wife so he and his daughter can achieve asylum. But that's easier said than done, especially in a world where too many people are still distrustful of foreigners, regardless of their plight. Aurora is a cross-cultural romantic drama about commitment—to family, to country, to matrimony—that doesn't pull punches, creating an adult, sometimes surprisingly funny view of a very complicated situation while still hitting the emotional beats that make the genre sing. "Thank you, Aurora. You're a strange person," Darian tells her one night. So is the film, and our Festival is better for it.

Director Biography
Miia Tervo was raised in Finnish Lapland, which she chose as the setting for her debut feature Aurora; she also drew on the history of alcoholism in her own family to create the portrait of her protagonist. Driven by a desire to combine poetry and painting, and inspired by her viewing, at age 15, of Sally Potter's Orlando, Tervo was drawn to directing. She has said of Aurora that "there are no stories [from Finnish filmmakers] about young women who deal with substance abuse" and also "there have been no comedies about this subject that are light and deal with forgiveness, acceptance, and love."

Sponsored by Pacific Place

  • Director: Miia Tervo
  • Principal Cast: Mimosa Willamo, Amir Escandari, Oona Airola, Hannu-Pekka Bjorkman, Miitta Sorvali
  • Country: Finland
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 106 minutes
  • Producer: Max Malka
  • Screenplay: Miia Tervo
  • Cinematographers: Arsen Sarkisiants
  • Editors: Antti Reikko
  • Music: Laura Naukkarinen, Jaakko Laitinen, Vaara Raha
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Santra and the Talking Trees (Doc., 2013)
  • Language: Finnish, Farsi, English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: LevelK Film Sales