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Eila

Director: Jarmo Lampela

Finland| 2003. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 94 mins.


Although sold as a hard-hitting social drama about a cleaning lady’s battle against an insensitive system, this Finnish drama is actually a touching story of a patient woman weathering a rough life with dignity.
An inconspicuous 40-something divorcee, Eila (Sari Mallinen) works as a cleaner in a government building. Her son is a delinquent and her lover is a musician who spends a lot of time away from home. Opting out of a strike earns Eila the enmity of co-workers, but by the ?lm’s third act a friendly lawyer has engineered a court victory that bolsters her spirits. Thanks to Jarmo Lampela’s sensitive direction and a shrewd, low-key performance from the beguiling Mallinen, the ?lm never seems oppressively didactic.

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