Klaus Härö’s first feature, Elina, went straight to the heart of the children’s jury, which gave the Berlinale’s Crystal Bear to Filmlance International’s Swedish-Finnish co-production.

A film by Klaus Härö
Cast : Natalie Minnevik, Bibi Andersson, Marjaana Maijala, Henrik Rafaelsen, Tind Soneby, Björn Granath

Nine-year-old Elina lives with her mother and a younger brother and sister in Northern Sweden in the 1950s. Elina misses her dead father very much and feels alone in her grief. Her family is among the Finnish-speaking minority, which is poor and looked down on by the Swedish population.
Elina gains a new teacher, Tora Holm. She sees herself as a saviour of this god-forsaken dump. Her task is to save these poor, dirty Finnish children from a foul life and forcing them to learn Swedish. Things go wrong right from the start. Tora Holm punishes Elina's classmate Anton for speaking Finnish and Elina cannot accept this.
When the new, young teacher Einar becomes involved and also has the unforgivable effrontery to take the child's side. Tora Holm is furious. She takes her anger out on Elina and soon battle rages in the little school. Elina refuses to bend to Tora Holm's authority. She revolts in the only way she can - she stops eating and escapes to the marshes, where she gets stuck in the bog and is about to be sucked in forever. Luckily her mother and Einar come to rescue at the last minute.
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Producers Anders Landström & Charlotta Denward
Co-Producers Per-Erik Svensson
French Rights Nordisk
Nationality Sweden
Running time 80 min
Gauge 1:1,85
Format 35 mm
Color Colour
Screenplay Kjell Sundstedt. Based on a novel by Kerstin Johansson i Backe
Cinematographer Jarkko T. Laine
Sound Mats Lindskog & David Lindskog
Editor Riitta Poikselkä & Thomas Täng S.F.K.
Music Tuomas Kantelinen

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