Christmas brandy at the right moment

Sofi Oksanen is the most awarded Finnish novelist of our times. Her work has been translated to 43 languages, her books have sold over half a million copies in Finland alone. Her most sold novel “The Purge” was published in 2008. It has won several major international literature prizes. The first edition of her latest novel “When The Doves Disappeared” (2012) was 100 000 copies, a new record figure. The translation rights have been sold to 29 countries.


From the publishing trade point of view, the movie business seems to be quite a circus and a caravan. Because the stories of the books are often adapted to films, these trades meet regularly and it’s relatively common that all sorts of incidents and mishaps take place. It seems to happen all the time that options and rights are sold – but the movies never get made.

Sofi Oksanen

The Purge, produced by Solar Films, was the first movie based on my work that actually went into production – and at least from my point of view, with rare effortlessness. The whole project left me feeling good and everytime Solar Films Christmas brandy arrives, I remember that feeling. This year it appeared at an extremely good moment, because I was just making brandy sauce – but had forgotten to buy the most important ingredient, the brandy! I was laughing when the postman rang the doorbell at the very best moment. This little incident epitomizes how the production was handled; smoothly, surely and making correct choices concerning the cast, the music and the musicians. Viktoria Mullova was the perfect choice for the violinist, Antti was an excellent choice for the director and all the actors were perfect in their roles. The project was sailing in favorable winds from day one and when I met Markus in Sea Horse restaurant for the first time, eating cabbage rolls – he already had a vision that was easy for me to share.

Cinematographer Rauno Ronkainen and director Antti J. Jokinen in the shooting of Purge

The world premiere of the movie was in Tallinn; we also published “When The Doves Disappered” on the same day. Two major events like this under the same roof – it was a massive effort, but it went really well. I had my doubts if people would take the trouble to travel abroad, to attend a cultural event. But they did and liked it. I often bump into my readers, who were there. That movie makes grown men cry – and that is a good sign.