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Das Haus unter dem Sternenhimmel

Titel / Title Stars above / Tähtitaivas talon yllä 
Label Nordisk 
Total run time
Vö/Releasebereits erschienen 

A Finnish country house and three generations of women from the same family play the main role in this movie. Each of the women is about the same age when we get to know them, each of them is spending some time at the country house. There are more parallels in their lives beyond the fact that they are related.

Saima (Irina Björklund), a teacher at the village school, lives at the house in 1942. While her husband is at war, she gets help from a farm hand, the war-invalid astronomy student Toivo. With him she shares the book “Mysteries of the Universe” and a love for the stars, with him she finds some comfort. The book and a photograph of Toivo later play a part in the story of her granddaughter Salla.

The story of Tuulikki (Meri Nenonen), Saima’s daughter takes place in 1978. she moves into the house with her daughter Salla-Marie and plans to live more in accordance with nature. She wants to color wool with plant coloring and sell it. She enthusiastic, but a bit aimless, dreaming of a new beginning. All goes well until a group of friends come to the house to party and Tuulikki finds her crush Seppo in the arms of another woman.

Salla (Elin Petersdottir) moves into the house in present day, to finish her doctor’s thesis there. She is trying to escape from the curious neighbors, but makes friends with young Ville who works at his family’s farm but would much rather be a chef. During a long night she tells him her unhappy love story.

All three of these women are searching for a place in life, for themselves or for love. All three of them are going through a phase of reorientation. Director Saara Cantell skillfully connects the stories of the three women. Sometimes one of the women is even in the story of the others, cross fading in and out as if she were always there. Quietly and unobtrusively she weaves the women’s fates together to create a bigger picture.

The movie captivated me right away, it is well acted and beautifully filmed. Te he women are likeable and depicted convincingly. The supporting roles are well cast. Everything takes place in one location, but each of the women leave’s her very own mark upon the house. There is no huge drama here, no matters of life or death or action sequences. Instead the movie offers a story with depth, small insights with big impact, an intimate look into three different women’s souls. Each of them takes her destiny into her own hands in her own way.

Stefanie Oepen

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