(AFP) – It is the story of an unforeseen attraction between two beings that everything opposes: with “Compartment n ° 6”, in theaters Wednesday, the Finnish Juho Kuosmanen signs an ode to the unknown and to the ephemeral in a world “without smartphone”.
Adapted from the novel by his compatriot Rosa Liksom – translated into French but little known to the general public – the film had won the Grand Prix ex-aequo at the Cannes Film Festival, with “A hero” by Iranian Asghar Farhadi.
The story is located in Russia at the end of the years 1990, a few years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A Finnish student embarks on a long train journey alone to discover the petroglyphs (cave drawings in stone) of Murmansk, the largest city in the world in the Arctic Circle.
It is during this trip that she meets a young Russian man, who shares his compartment. But now, the young man is not the perfect travel companion: permanently alcoholic, provocative, boorish … It is around this improbable cohabitation that the narrative framework will be tied.
From the mutual rejection that the two protagonists will first experience, an irresistible attraction will be born. “I was immediately drawn to this wonderful connection between them and also to the fact that this story takes place in a world without a smartphone”, said the director, 31 years, to AFP during the Cannes Film Festival.
Erected as a great hope of Finnish cinema from his beginnings and compared to his compatriot Aki Kaurismäki, he also explained himself to be left carried by the Russian nature, “very cinematographic”.
As in his first film “Olli Mäki”, awarded in 2016 in a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival, Juho Kuosmanen continues, with “Compartment n ° 6”, his defense of a minimalist cinema, which takes the time to unfold its story and with little effusion.
“If I exaggerated the emotions of my characters, it wouldn’t be my film. I put the pedal to the wheel, I don’t like to add more,” he explained.
Full of details, its staging demands the viewer’s permanent attention. Unable to catch up with the bandwagon when the film has already started. “You have to be there from the start of the film”, he confided.