Order the summer edition here

The refugee crisis, the fear and the free Finnish woman

Aurora Direction and script
Regissør: Miia Tervo

HARMFUL / This intense, searing and screaming comedy is typical of a generation of young, rootless women.


While xenophobia is growing in Europe,
people die in droves – in war, on the run or just for lack of clean water.
How many people can a society try to assimilate without it all quickly
going to hell? Horror stories and real stories about gang rapes,
Abuses and murders committed by refugees and asylum seekers frighten the locals
in parts of Sweden and several places here at home, in Greece and many others
European countries. Fascism is fertile ground when fear reigns. Can one
slapstick-noise-techno-romantic comedy help on integration and understanding
between people?


The feature film Aurora is tiring and life-affirming, and the same characteristic can be applied to the female Finnish main character. Her exuberant escape from the alcoholic father, countless traumas and a poor life as a nail designer – and not least life as a party with fatal results – take on. Her dream is to have bowel movements in Norway. Expelling someone else's crap may well make good profits, but Aurora needs money for the flight ticket away from Finland. One late night at a gas station, she meets Darian: a widower and a grandfather from Iran. First, he asks her for advice on the best method of suicide, and then he suggests pro-marriage. Darian has just realized that the best thing for his little daughter is if he dies, then she is guaranteed a stay in the safe country of Finland. The film heals with serious themes and a Finland in full maturity with a younger generation in identity crisis. The use of genre films to make heavier themes accessible is a grip that can seduce new audiences. The sequences in which Darian tries to find a suitable accommodation for himself and his little daughter, put perspective on the level and lack of willingness for human refugee reception.


Aurora has created a lot of prejudice against men with a Muslim background, but still enters into an agreement with Darian to get him a Finnish bride. But first she has to give him homeschooling in customs and usage when it comes to dealing with the sexes and how Finnish women should be treated. The stage is priceless. Not only because it touches on a very sore point in today's lack of integration, but also because the widower Darian is the one who needs it the least. In the grief over his wife's death and with the care of the little girl, he is willing to do everything for others. The plot is not new, but the motherless and self-harming Aurora without a firm grip anywhere grows in her attraction to Darian. Like so many others, she is terrified of commitments and prefers one-night stands over love. The film is thus a well-observed situational picture of the young modern Finnish woman.

The dream is to run a bowel movement in Norway. Expelling other people's shit can supposedly make a good profit.

Due to the border with Russia, Finland has been a closed country, and xenophobia is far higher among Finns than in countries with a history of more openness. Although Aurora fully represents these attitudes, we know that the film will slowly but surely bring the two together. Darian is dragged into her massive savagery to be educated in respectful woman treatment. There, in the chaos, sweet music is about to emerge. But Aurora is a two-legged natural disaster and ends up in the emergency room after extravagant partying rather than admitting emotions. Before she collapses, she manages to become so intimate with foreign suitors that she forwards dickpics to Darian's little daughter. Upset, Darian refuses to see Aurora anymore.

How exposed the free Finnish woman is to dangers becomes clear through this journey into the darkness and horror of the night. But what threatens the most is not fleeting fucking or substance abuse, but Aurora herself, and her inability to take care of herself. As a portrait of generations and women, she is strongly reminiscent of the artist Amy Winehouse, who with a similar lifestyle unfortunately passed away so far too soon. I choose to see this intensely hurtful and screaming comedy as a warning about the young resourceful, but totally rootless, woman's condition. At the same time, I know her so deeply well from the close circle of my own youth. The film also offers a respite, as it gives the viewer an opportunity to deal with the refugee problem interspersed with something other than a guilty conscience, suffering and mutilation.

Aurora is one of many films with strong, unconventional and unpleasant female characters at the film festival Oslo Pix 3-9. June.

avatar photos
Ellen Lande
Lande is a film writer and director and a regular writer for Ny Tid.

You may also like