Finnish American Lives (1982)

About the Film

A portrait of traditional Finnish American culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, highlighting the fragile community of memory connecting one with parents and grandparents. A 92-year-old grandfather asked his son and Finnish immigrant daughter-in-law to live on the farm and care for him. The barn will fall any day; the grandchildren are growing restless. This three-generation farm family works, celebrates, reflects and grieves together. FINNISH AMERICAN LIVES explores the meaning of family, ethnic history, aging, and intergenerational bonds. Contrasts between the immigrant elder, his American-born son, and the partially assimilated grandchildren illustrate continuity and change in the "sanua belt" of the Lake Superior Region. The film was completed in 1982.


  • Red Ribbon (2nd), American Film Festival, New York City, June 1983. CINE Golden Eagle


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Michael Loukinen, the distributor Northern Michigan University, Up North Films, or Folkstreams.