The Subtenant

A farce about blackmailing, a kidney transplant operation performed at home, deviants and human relationships!

Lauri Mustonen, kidney transplant surgeon, and Pauli Bergström, insect researcher, are housemates at a prestigious address. Their home is owned by an elderly lady, Lydia Molotova, who hasn’t raised the rent for years. Complications erupt when Lydia hands the property over to her nephew as advance inheritance. Master Sergeant John Molotov, a greedy heir, instantly hikes the rent into the stratosphere and, as an added bonus, shoves his old aunt into residence with her erstwhile tenants: the kidney cutter and the insectologist.

It’s an edgy situation but the two bachelors decide to follow Lydia’s advice and sublet a bedroom to help cover costs – with hilarious results. The new tenant is Robban Palmberg, of Robban’s Inside-Out Boys – a neighboring company specializing in interior design and detailed personal styling.

Surgeon Lauri is not impressed by his new housemate’s plans to redecorate the apartment with the assistance of a crowd of flighty boyfriends. Insectologist Pauli dithers as Lauri shapes up to fight for his rights and re-establish the good old days.
It emerges that landlord John Molotov suffers from a dysfunctional kidney. Lauri decides it’s in everyone’s best interests to conduct a spot of surgery. To avoid the endless queues at the clinic, the operation will take place in the apartment. A spare transplant kidney is liberated from the hospital. Lauri performs what appears to be routine surgery.

However, soon after the operation it is discovered that instead of a regular transplant organ, the new landlord’s abdomen accidentally contains insect lunch! Generic kidney: the favored food item of Pauli’s pet arthropods. Master Sergeant Molotov learns, the hard way, new modes of inflicting discomfort as the lunch-kidney’s resident bugs begin to nibble on his internals. A replacement kidney is required to save his life. Perhaps the janitor of the apartments … ?

Meanwhile, to add to the confusion, Molotov is falling in love with Hospital-Superintendent Marketta Riihiranta-Mustonen … who happens to be Lauri’s ex-wife.

The material makes for crazy farce. The plot, which piles absurdity upon the absurd, hurtles the characters from one disaster to another with the speed and panache that is the trademark of the most popular ensemble of comedians in Finland; the Kummeli group (permanent members Heikki Silvennoinen, Timo Kahilainen, Heikki Hela, Heikki Vihinen), the most popular ensemble of comedians in Finland.

The message of the film is humane tolerance.

The Subtenant (Kummeli Alivuokralainen) is based on a successful play written for the Tampere Theatre by Timo Kahilainen and Heikki Vihinen. From the director’s viewpoint the greatest challenge was to be able to tell this exuberant story in the language of cinema and make it into an independent work. The first step in this process was naturally to adapt the play for the big screen; Timo Kahilainen and Heikki Vihinen did a great job in it. The script has multiple layers; it is rich, full of speed and incredibly visual.

Warm and sharp-sighted character building and witty and snappy dialogue familiar to the Kummeli-ryhmä, the comedians behind the successful Kummeli TV show, can be seen in the film as well.

The film has less of the farcical qualities of the play; the film is fast-paced, and the scenes are shorter. As a whole, the film looks more like a comedy. The performances of the actors were toned down quite a bit for the film. The message of the film is humane tolerance.

Kind Regards,
Matti Grönberg

Pauli – Heikki Silvennoinen
Lauri – Mikko Kivinen
Robban – Timo Kahilainen
John Molotov – Heikki Hela
Lydia Molotova – Tuija Ernamo
Inkeri Sortavala – Mari Turunen
Marketta – Ritva Jalonen
Hirvonen – Jussi Lampi
Pena – Oiva Lohtander
Macce – Heikki Vihinen
Rafu – Risto Korhonen
Kikke – Jasper Pääkkönen
Rautiainen – Leea Klemola
Night watchman – Juha Veijonen
Butler – Auvo Vihro
Presenter – Jukka Rasila
Man at the gas station – Taneli Mäkelä
John, 5 – Riku Ustinov



Matti Grönberg

Markus Selin ja Jukka Helle / Solar Films Oy

Timo Kahilainen ja Heikki Vihinen

Jari Mutikainen

Sattva-Hanna Toiviainen

Jaana Aro

Hannele Herttua

Seppo Vanhatalo


Kimmo Taavila

color / 35 mm / 1,85:1 / Dolby Digital / 104 min