Yes, we know that us Finns aren’t known for our outpourings of passion or public displays of affection. We tend to be reserved and value our personal space. But our belief in everyone’s right to love whoever they want to love runs deep. In fact, perhaps it runs so deep because love is serious business for us. Love is what motivates us to build a better future and a better city for our children and for all our loved ones. And yes, love is fun too.
The third episode of the Helsinki Freedom mini-documentary series presents Jussi, a gay Finnish man in his seventies. In addition to his own personal story, Jussi also shares the history of LGBTQ+ Helsinki. The mainly animated documentary shows how massive change can be achieved in the course of one generation.
Director: Susani Mahadura
Susani Mahadura is a Helsinki-based storyteller who works with documentary film and radio. She feels it is important to bring out voices that are neither heard nor seen in society. Mahadura's debut work was the documentary film Kelet that tells the story of a black trans woman. In this Helsinki Freedom minidocumentary Susani worked together with another Helsinkian, animation artist Mikko Heiskanen.
Loving in Helsinki
"The freedom to love should be everyone's right. Jussi's story in the documentary is touching and something that gives hope. He feels that love means breathing freely, and this is the thought I wanted to build his story around. It is important to listen to what kind of world older generations have lived in and how they fought for human rights. Or what it felt like to grow up in a society where one needed to hide one's identity. Jussi says that his energy has been spent on human rights battles, which left less time for love – this left a strong impression on me. Now at 70 years of age, he is slowly learning to love.
The act of Helsinki putting up flags for Pride week is an important message to those who have experienced fear in this city. It is important that society takes the side of human rights. The work of protecting human rights is not yet finished however. Jussi fought for values in the 1970s and we can see that the fight resulted in progress. The battles we have now are also important. I believe in a Helsinki that breathes freely when I turn 70."