Lord, these Finns are weird. “I wonder why life is damn hard,” says one named Tero at the beginning of The Living Room of the Nation, as he lies in his bed flanked by moose skulls. A man who appears to be in his late 20s, he’s the youngest subject of this film by Jukka Kärkkäinen, which observes six or so Finnish living rooms and their inhabitants over several years. They include a retired priest experimenting with feng shui, an opera-singing busker who is mostly seen ironing his pants, and a pornography connoisseur (of encountering the Finnish porn star Mariah, he says: “She had pimples on her face. Maybe she got them from all those cum shots”) and his gun-toting wife. Chiefly, though, this is a film about the small dramas of everyday life, and Tero’s is the most poignant: He’s at first a frequently drunk but harmless buffoon, but we follow him through his girlfriend’s pregnancy, his child’s incubator-confined early weeks, and the eventual rupture of his relationship. Otherwise, the narratives are by varying degrees arresting and uniformly bizarre, but they don’t deliver the look into a nation’s psyche suggested by the title. How could they? I refuse to believe that the average Finn is this bonkers.
At 11:30 a.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2; also on Saturday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m. at the Discovery HD Theater.