Who is this young fellow living with his mother in this lost place ? Is it the North of Finland or is it Estonia ? What has his father done to deserve being in jail ? How can they survive in this miserable farm and in the cold ? Who is this visitor seeking shelter ? Where does he come from ? Why is he wounded ? Why do they take him in ? Will he change their daily grind ? What will his relationship be with the mother ? And with the child ? Why does the young boy bring a little box to his father when he visits him ? What’s in it ? Why does the father foresee something terrible happening if the stranger stays ? What’s inside that well ? Who’s going to go down in it ? Who will come out ? The slow and enigmatic The Stranger, the long feature debut of Finnish helmer Jukka Pekka Valkeapää, sometimes reminds us of the big tradition of Soviet cinema. It is one of those movies that captivate the audience by what’s hidden behind the remarkable images of breathtaking beauty. The same can be said about the soundtrack. It’s used to transcend the feelings of the characters, which most of the time speak for themselves. The constant atmosphere of mystery enables the audience to extrapolate all that is “unspoken” from the simple and sober story. Young Vitali Bobrov is a revelation with his portrayal of the endearing young boy.

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