Archive of films The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki / Hymyilevä mies

Finland / Germany / Sweden
2016, 92 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2016

Finland 1962. 25-year old Olli Mäki, a European amateur boxing champion, is training for the match of a lifetime for the title of world champion. As it’s the first time ever for his country, unassuming Olli is a sudden celebrity who is pressured mercilessly on all sides. Employing modesty, gentle humor, and uncommonly mature skill, newcomer Juho Kuosmanen has turned in a subtle drama that significantly enriches the boxing film genre – and it earned him a win in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.


Finland 1962. Twenty-five-year-old Olli Mäki, European amateur boxing champion, is training for the match of a lifetime: the world championship title. As it’s the first time ever for his country, unassuming Olli is a sudden celebrity, and the entire country is living a dream of great victory through the young athlete. Olli is under pressure from the media and his ambitious coach Elis, but around this time he meets pretty Raija and something special blossoms. Displaying humility and a delicate sense of humor, director Kuosmanen relates the uncommon story of a man who left flashy gestures behind and boxed his way to the happiest moment of his life. Nostalgia is absent from the filmmaker’s vocabulary, and despite a setting that takes us back more than 50 years, his atypical contribution to the boxing film genre leaves a refreshing and modern impression. The real Olli Mäki was famous for his unwillingness to deliver his opponent a knockout blow if it was clear he had already won the match. With similar unforced nonchalance and appealing restraint, Kuosmanen, the teller of his tale, achieved Un Certain Regard’s highest honor.

Karel Och

About the director

Juho Kuosmanen (b. 1979, Kokkola, Finland) graduated from the ELO Helsinki Film School of Aalto University in 2014. His short movies have won several awards at prominent festivals, including Cannes’ Cinéfondation and Locarno. While at school he was involved in acting and directing for the stage and he worked closely with the avant-garde opera ensemble West Coast Kokkola Opera. His feature debut The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki won the competitive Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes fest.


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Les Films du Losange
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E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Juho Kuosmanen
Screenplay: Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen
Dir. of Photography: Jani-Petteri Passi
Editor: Jussi Rautaniemi
Art Director: Kari Kankaanpää
Producer: Jussi Rantamäki
Production: Aamu Film Company Ltd
Coproduction: One Two Films, Film Väst, Tre Vänner Produktioner
Cast: Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola, Eero Milonoff
Sales: Les Films du Losange
Distributor: Aerofilms


Juho Kuosmanen

Film Director

Jarkko Lahti


Ivo Andrle


Marine Goulois

Sales Agent


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