February 2, 2023

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Oscar nominee Selma Vilhunen takes on polyamory in ‘Four Little Adults,’ trailer debuts

4 min read

Sales agency Level has unveiled the first clip (below) for Selma Vilhunen’s “Four Little Adults,” which will bow at Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam and then Gothenburg. The film follows a happily married couple experiencing an affair and then trying to welcome the husband’s lover into their daily routine. And that’s just the beginning.

Produced by Tufi Films along with Arora Films, Hobab and Manny Films. It stars Ero Milanoff (“Border”) and Alma Paisti (“Tove”).

“All my life I have been thinking about monogamy. I guess I’m questioning my own choices, what they’re based on and whether it’s really the right way to live,” says the Finnish filmmaker.

As the conversation around alternative relationships grows louder (“especially in Finland,” she notes), Vilhunen also reaches for Eve Rickert and Franklin Vieux’s “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory.”

“This is an important book,” she says. “It calls into question some of the structures we’ve built in our society, thousands of years ago, when we first came up with these ideas of land, animal and human rights. It makes me very curious.”

Vilhunen, who also wrote the screenplay, “wanted to write about love,” he says.

Vilhunen, who was Oscar-nominated for the short “Do I Have to Care of Everything?”, explores themes about a mother and a daughter in “Little Wing” and “Stupid Young Heart,” winner of the 2019 Crystal Bear. But it’s been a while since teenage parents focused on his more mature avatar.

“In 2007, I made a TV film called ‘Pietà’. It was about people in their late twenties, so my age at the time. It is very true that I am interested in love as a subject and polymorphism can be seen as its full form. You allow your loved ones to love other people too.”

But good intentions are one thing – figuring out all the logistics is quite another. Which, predictably, gets his characters into a lot of awkward situations.

“It was fun. I felt like I could write about everything accurately because they’re middle-aged. They’ve already been through a lot,” she says.

“This awkwardness was at the very core of my initial idea – even the title is a nod to their imperfection. They are entering this situation with integrity; They don’t care about being ‘sexy’. But it’s interesting to see how hard it is to do the right thing, to be a good person.”

Especially when other people are watching. Julia is a promising politician who even manages to become the leader of her party, Matias – a respected priest. Much is at stake, but after a while a future without Enni and Miska (Ona Erola and Pitu Wikström) cannot be imagined.

“They are struggling with the question of how truthful and open they can be about this new lifestyle. I think I wanted to put them in a tough spot,” she says.

“Furthermore, their works represent these institutions we have created, which try to enforce ‘norms’. I chose parliament and the church because I’m always interested in seeing people work together, how they manage things when they have different expectations and needs.

By featuring a character among non-binary and non-white supporting players, Vilhunen attempted to portray a more diverse Finnish society.

“It was a conscious choice. I was influenced by the conversation that was going on at the moment. It also felt connected to the theme of the movie,” she says.

“It’s also my reality – it reflects it more [accurately] Than what I see in sitcoms or more standard stories. But I wonder about the fact that it’s all in the background. After all, my main characters are all white.”

After its festival screening, the film is currently eyeing a December release date in Finland. But while the modern Christmas movie canon recently welcomed the queer rom-com “Happiest Season,” Vilhunen isn’t sure if “Four Little Adults” can pull off the same feat.

“I don’t see it as a Christmas film but it’s definitely quite Christmassy,” he laughs.

“I am extremely impressed by it [Ingmar Bergman’s] ‘Fanny and Alexander’ and it has this wonderful Christmas scene. The way the grandparents’ house looks in my film is also a nod.

“Also, it’s a loaded holiday that comes with a lot of expectations. You are supposed to be loving, making sure everyone is happy. You can’t be sure [a situation like that] Can make the right plays, but does. We all have weaknesses.”

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