Hiljainen tila

About a Farm

a documentary by Mervi Junkkonen

photo by Mervi Junkkonen


The Film

In the Autumn of 2002 the cows of the Junkkonen farm are taken to the slaughterhouse. The wheels of progress roll onwards, but two middle-aged people get left behind, Maija and Pentti Junkkonen. The small municipality of Oulunsalo is planning factories, business parks, and a new 4-lane road which would cut through the farmers' fields. The old ways of making a living are dying.
   The oldest daughter, director Mervi Junkkonen, realises that she herself is part of the reason why her parents decided to give up their livelihood-there is no one to take over the farm. Through her father's 8mm films, she catches glimpses of the farm's history and a time when it was full of life.
   Now, Pentti (60), spends his time with his collection of tractors and some small-scale farming, but Maija (55) doesn't know what to do. Yet, life keeps taking tragic turns and old worries do not seem so important any more.
   About a Farm is the director's personal inquiry into a vanishing life-style and a history of which she is the last link. It is a story about the period of mourning people who give up their livelihoods go through and about the things that really matter in the end.

More information at www.cinemervi.com


Documentary, 52 minutes, 2005

Directed by Mervi Junkkonen
Script by Mervi Junkkonen
Photography Mervi Junkkonen
& Vesa Taipaleenmäki
Editor Tuuli Kuittinen
Sound by Esa Nissi
Music by Girilal Baars
Produced by Kimmo Paananen
& Mika Ronkainen
Production by Klaffi Tuotannot
In Co-Operation with Yle TV 1 Yhteistuotannot /
Eila Werning & Erkki Astala


Award of Excellence
Yamagata International Film Festival
Japan, 2005

2nd Prize
Filmmaker Film Festival
Milan, Italy 2005

Risto Jarva Prize
Tampere Film Festival
Finland, 2005

Quality Award
The Finnish Council for Cinema, 2005


The Music

The music in this film is mainly based around the doshpulur, a three-stringed, goat-skinned, plucked instrument from Tuva. The sound of doshpulur has a melancholy, soft-but-hollow character, which I though would capture the intimacy and loneliness of life on a farm in the far north of Europe. Some singing and very rough jouhikko playing are also featured in the soundtrack of About a Farm.
A curious thing is that the opening credits actually use the rough, demo version of the main theme, recorded in my bedroom onto minidisc and with a cold to boot. But the director insisted that it was better than the "proper" recording I made later, though that version is used elsewhere in the film.

  This very personal film won several of prizes, and though I am hardly taking the credit for that, I am very happy to have contributed, in a small way, to the perception and appreciation of this film.