It’s not two genres you’d necessarily think of being a perfect blend — boxing and romance — but Juho Kuosmanen got it just right with his feature debut, “The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki.” The film picked up an Un Certain Regard award at Cannes last year, and after hitting a slew of festivals, it’s now gearing up to hit cinemas.
Starring Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola, and Eero Milonoff, the film tells the true story of the Finnish boxer who wins the heart of his country as he gears up for a featherweight championship fight against his U.S. opponent. Here’s the official synopsis:
In his confident and widely-celebrated debut feature, with stunning cinematography captured entirely in 16mm black and white film, Juho Kuosmanen presents the true story of Olli Mäki, the famous Finnish boxer who fought American featherweight world champion Davey Moore for the 1962 title. The small town life of the immensely talented and equally modest Olli is transformed when he is swept into national stardom and suddenly regarded as a symbol of his country. There’s only one problem: Olli is falling in love. Inside the ring, it’s Finland vs. the U.S.A., but outside, boxing and romance become unlikely adversaries vying for Olli’s attention.
“The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki” opens on April 21st and will be available to stream later this year exclusively on MUBI.