I’ve been vaguely aware of the Swedish-Finnish movie production The Girl King (Finnish title Tyttökuningas), which is remarkable for having been largely (according to some sources, almost entirely) filmed in Turku, Finland, including the local castle. It’s one week from opening night now, and reviews and interviews are starting to roll out. Yay!
The movie is about Queen Kristina of Sweden (1626-1689), of the Vasa lineage, directed by Finland’s famous Mika Kaurismäki. In the main roles we’ll see Malin Buska, Sarah Gadon (whom I liked in Belle), and Michael Nyqvist (familiar from the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series). A description from Kaurismäki’s website says:
“Mika Kaurismäki is currently developing a feature film project about the Swedish Queen Kristina, starring Swedish actress Malin Buska. Set in the 17th century, the film paints a portrait of an extravagant and atypical queen, who was the ruler of her country from the age of seven until her startling abdication at 28.
“The film is scripted by Canadian award-winning screenwriter Michel Marc Bouchard and the cinematography will be by renowned Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Hero).”
At the time of Kristina’s life, Finland was a part of Sweden, and Turku (Åbo in Swedish) was the oldest and largest city in Finland. The Turku Castle dates from late 13th century, but it was still inhabited and garrisoned at the time; in the modern period, it’s been restored to its Renaissance state, so it’s an appropriate location even though Kristina didn’t actually live there. (Tidbit gleaned from a news article in Yle uutiset: Kristina’s parents visited Turku early in 1626, and it’s said that she was conceived at the Turku Castle.) Also, kuningatar Kristiina has a special place in the Finnish memory because of her efforts to end the 30 years’ war which was hard on Finland, and because she at the suggestion of one of her statesmen (and twice Governor General of Finland), Per Brahe, founded the first Finnish university in 1640.
The official trailer (with Finnish subtitles) is out, and looking gorgeous:
Tyttökuningas (The Girl King) -elokuvan virallinen traileri via LeffatByFSFilm
Frock Flicks has a interview with the costume designer, Marjatta Nissinen, and a review that includes insights into the costuming. There’s also a documentary on the costuming, with background information from Kaurismäki and closeups of some of the outfits in the latter half (Finnish with English subtitles):
Dressing The Girl King -documentary by Film City Turku and Länsi-Suomen elokuvakomissio via Scene Turku
As an early history geek who lived in Turku for a number of years, I’m very curious to see The Girl King – for freaking once I get the native advantage in location spotting! 😀
But seriously, what I can see of the sets and locations, especially the Renaissance floor of the castle, looks fantastic. Here’s hoping that The Girl King will have a reasonably wide release in the U.S.!
In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.