This is another one of my blog posts that I´v moved from my old blog to here. This review is from July 2016.
I recently bought Hammer of Ukko for myself. It is a first documentary ever made from Finnish traditional paganism (Finn Belief) and it's roots.
I consider myself quite well-read what it comes to Finnish mythology and folklore. Still there was things mentioned in the documentary I hadn't thought that much before. Narrative is singer and songwriter A.W.Yrjänä. There was many people interviewed in the documentary. Professor Juha Pentikäinen, members of Taivaannaula , several archaeologists and folklorists
When I was younger I read some books written by Juha Pentikäinen. I like the way he pointed out the differences between the "new" and "old" Kalevala's. New Kalevala is the one majority of the Finns know. Still it is only Lönnrot's take on Finnish here-epic and mythology. Lönnrot's Kalevala is also monotheistic unlike ancient Finns worldview that was animist-shamanist and more polytheistic/pantheistic.
Lönnrot's Kalevala appeared in the end of 19th century with more attempts to rise and form national identity so it was written to serve politically than anything else. In the end both old and new Kalevala are just tine fractures of the universe of Finnish mythology and folklore.
All the most important deities were mentioned in the documentary. Ukko, Akka, Tapio, Tapiotar (Mielikki), Annikki, Ahti, Vellamo and of course the Bear. Also the way Bear worship has changed when ancient Finns turned from collective culture to hunters and later on to agriculture.
Big part of Finn belief is the concept of three souls. This was also mentioned in the documentary. The way Itse-soul (self) could born into a same family. Also the importance of spirit world. The way everything in nature has their own spirits. They all belong to the four elements water, earth, air and fire. Each spirits having powers of their own. Faith to different spirits still lives in Finnish modern-day culture. Especially during different festivals and cultural habits.
There was also lots of talk about the way our nature connection has changed dramatically within past decades. Overall majority of the Finns have very good nature relationship (at least compared to many other western countries). However our nature relationship has changed the same way as lifestyle has changed.
I really like the visual look and style of documentary, especially these mystical cover photos. There was only tiny glimpse of a city scenery in the beginning of the film otherwise it is all about beautiful Finnish nature. Naturally there is Kantele playing and occasionally shaman drum.
A.W.Yrjänä's deep voice is quite relaxing. He looks a bit like a bear himself so I thought he was pretty good narrative. Stories of the deities were told with animations. Animation style was quite minimal and I think it fits well with the style of the documentary.
I recommend this documentary to anyone who is interested on Finnish mythology and folklore. You can get English subtitles to the film as well. I watched this together with bunch of my British friends last week. They liked it.
Official web-page for Hammer of Ukko http://www.helomedia.fi/ukonvaaja/
Artist, illustrator, writer and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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