Director: Mikko Myllylahti
Writer: Mikko Myllylahti
Starring: Jarkko Lahti, Iivo Tuuri, Hannu-Pekka Björkman
The Woodcutter Story is a strange film, filled with bizarre and otherworldy events. It’s a black comedy drama filled with surrealism. Pepe (Jarkko Lahti) is a very optimistic man, so when his life starts to unravel it doesn’t seem to faze him at all. In fact he seems quite content with most things in his life, even after losing his job, his mother dying, finding out his wife is having an affair, and many many more things that just happen to him one after the other. No matter how bad things get, he just goes with it.
The film is quite relentless on Pepe, without much going his way. It’s a very odd and quiet film, with an ambient score. There’s a coldness to it all, as Pepe seems so detached to the events in his own life. Most other people in the village seem similar, they’re more lively than Pepe, but not by much. You don’t really feel anything for Pepe as his life completely falls apart. It all just feels passive, much like how Pepe reacts to it all.
His best friend, Tuomas (Hannu-Pekka Bjorkman), is the only person in the film who treats Pepe well, looking out for him where possible. He confronts the barber who Pepe’s wife is having the affair with, in a short moment of shocking violence that is pretty out of place for the rest of the film. Even when that happens Pepe’s wife is distant, even with the blood splattering onto her. She doesn’t really react.
As the story progresses it leans in more on the stranger elements, with some weird imagery and moments that are left for you to interpret. This is something you could sit there for hours thinking about, long after the credits have rolled. There’s a strange orb that comes out of TV, a fish that speaks to him, and a strange looking beast that seems to trigger the death of Pepe’s mother. Then the film is bookended by strange scenes in remote cabins that aren’t really explained.
One by one the people in Pepe’s life leave, either by death or just literally leaving town. His wife, mother, best friend, and even his son leave him completely isolated. He has no one left, and still keeps on carrying on. Which is really all he can do.
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