Sandarmohin suru is a documentary film on 12 Finns who lost their relatives in The Great Purge in Soviet Carelia. Each of them found out about the fate of their family members almost 100 years later.
Kanerva Cederström’s film is minimalist. Besides interviews with the victims’ relatives, the image material is scarce: photos, articles, documents. Music is used judiciously. The grief is documented without manipulating the viewer, for instance with a quiet shot of the forest of Sandarmokh, filled with photographs of the murder victims, with only the sounds of birds chirping in the background.
The documentary recites the raw statistics of history: 41,3% of the people sentenced in Karelia were Finnish, of whom 88,3 % were shot, among them 17 members of the Finnish Parliament. The names of the executors of the killings also appear on the screen.
There have not been many mass murders like Sandarmokh of Finnish workers and leftists in recent history. Still, according to the film, Finland is one of the only countries that do not have a monument for their dead citizens in the area.
Joonatan Nikkinen (translated by Inari Ylinen)