Leajsa (The Matriarch)

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U.S. PREMIERE
Director: MARKKU PÖLÖNEN

A large family of so-called “Travellers,” once court tailors for Czar Nicholas II of Russia, flee in and out of Finland during the 1917 Russian Revolution until they settle in the Leijsa region of north Karelia. Accused of being Bolsheviks, the family spreads far and wide (even the U.S.) but return again in the 70s, supposedly the town of their dreams.

Heart of the story is the Koppelo family, led by Martta, the matriarch, who needs to protect beautiful daughter Lara from family black sheep Laszlo, heading to a life of crime. Worn out after a number of travels, but united and strong, Koppelo family is proud of their history: “We are not just any gang of vagabonds; we are part of world history!”, says Martta. Director Markku Pölönen helms this story of family rough times with his usual sharp eye for Finnish eccentricity (The Last Wedding, Summer By the River, On the Road to Emmaus, Dog Nail Clipper).

(In Finnish w/Eng. subtitles)

FINLAND • 2007 • 90 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: MARKKU PÖLÖNEN

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