Sydämeen kätketty (Learned by Heart)

Learned by Heart 2_09

The film’s five episodes explore the little-charted legacies of Finland’s post-war period, digging deep into the unspoken stories, misunderstandings and mysteries that a child of those years experienced.

DVD available.


Finland emerged from WWII in a schizophrenic state. The nation had survived two wars against the Soviet Union with her independence in tact, but had officially come out on the losing side. It was hard to talk about the war in the home. Fathers were back from the front, but they found it difficult to adjust to everyday life. The heroism and camaraderie of the battlefield lived on in their memories, the horrors of war haunted their dreams. Mothers, the heroines of the household, took control and began organizing the lives of their families.

To post-war children, their parents seemed distant, authoritarian, frightening. It took the Sixties to free society from the spectre of unquestionable authority, and to open windows to the outside world. Television brought war back into the livingroom, but now it was being fought on the other side of the planet.


The film is composed around five old Lutheran hymns and their spiritual legacy. Hymnal motifs dominate the soundtrack and recall memories of a time when they were an intimate element in everyday life.

The wealth of visual imagery consists of animation, period archive materials and photographs from old family albums. The new possibilities created by the current light wight equipment in recording, shooting and the technology in manipulating the imagery became a great source of inspiration.

Learned by Heart 05Learned by Heart 2_02Learned by Heart 3-33Learned by Heart 4-35Learned by Heart 4-51Learned by Heart 5-67


The film consists of five movements:

1. Just put up with it

Daughters born at the end of the war, reflect on their mothers who were cought up in the WWII and who had to sacrifice their youth for the fatherland.

2. Severe Peace

The girl’s journey from the post-war austerity to the 50’s that marked the turning point in Finland’s recovery from the war.

3. The Fear of Lord

Daughter challanges her fear of the war damaged father.

4. Schools are out!

Summer in Finland is blissful. Schools end in the beginning of June for three months. But summers are always followed by winters, darkness and frost. The sixties liberated the post-war generation and they started to seek their own destiny

5. Prepared for Everything

The baby boomer generation have learned from their mothers how to be prepared for everything and a new crisis will never take them by surprise. Television had the power to bring the family together onto the sofa.


Script and Direction: Marjut Rimminen ja Päivi Takala

Compositing and Animation: Marjut Rimminen, Shaun Clark, Kim Noce, Timo Arnall

Cinematography: Marjut Rimminen, Kari Sohlberg, Kristiina Tuura

Archive Material: Eeva Lintunen (YLE), Tommi Partanen (SEA), Orly Yadin, Footage Farm Ltd

Photographs: Eeva Rista, Simo Rista, Helsingin kaupunginmuseo, Lehtikuva Oy, Suomen Kuvapalvelu Oy, Ilppo Huhtinen, Rimminen’s family album.

Editing: Tony Fish

Editing Assistant: Benjamin Gerstein

Cast: Fanny Sukura, Anton Valtonen, Jari Valtonen

Costumes: Riitta Röpelinen and team

Music: Päivi Takala

Sound Design: Patrick Boullenger, Päivi Takala

Sound Mixing: Paul Jyrälä C.A.S, Barnaby Templer Fonic Ltd

Production Team in Oulu: Pauliina Hujanen, Aija Saari

Choirs: Aiolos – choir, dir. Seppo Härkönen, The 4th music class from Teuvo Pakkala School, dir. Leena Alenius-Määttä

Musicians: Kaisa Alasaarela, Seppo Heikkonen, Jeremy Gould, Margarete Järvi, Helinä Nissi, Pekka Nylund, Jukka Pietilä, Mirella Sipola, Taru Suvilehto

Music Recording: Patrick Boullenger, Pekka Suvanto

Music’Koska valaisee kointähtönen’ words by Anders Odhelius, traditional ’Joutukaa sielut’ words by Antti Achrenius, traditional ’Mä silmät luon’ words by J.L. Runeberg, composed by Rudolf Lagi ’Jo joutui armas aika’ words by Israel Kolmodin, traditional ’Mua siipeis suojaan’ words by Lina-Sandell-Berg, traditional Edward Grieg: Sonata no 3 for violin and piano, Jan Söderblom and Izumi Tateno, August Durand: Chaconne, Solistiseitsikko Otava, Nyberg-Suvanto-Yliselä: Free, performed by Silvery

Radio Voices: Eeva-Maija Haukinen, Simo Routarinne

Narrators: Marjatta Katajamäki, Johannes Brotherus, Taika Martikainen

Mother’s Day speech: Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio 11.5.1947, ‘Autius lehtipuissa’ Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio’s and Martti Haavio’s diaries and letters 1942-1951, edited by Katarina Eskola (WSOY 2003).

Trainees: Anni Terävä, Arto Aitta, Riikka Herranen, Nina Ervasti

Accounting: Kristiina Arokari

Thanks to: Marimekko, Annikki Rimminen, Anja & Jouko Pursiainen, Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio estate, Ev.Luth. Parish of Oulu, reverend Paavo Moilanen. Painting of the president by Rafeal Wardi by courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office. Jeremy Gould, Ezra Gould

Financed by: SES / Miia Haavisto, AVEK / Ulla Simonen, YLE Co-Productions / Sari Volanen, POEM / Markku Flinck, Kirkon Mediasäätiö / Juha Rajamäki

Producer: Annakaisa Sukura

Production: Soundsgood Productions Oy, 2007

In memory of Dick Arnall


BEST ANIMATION (Toon Boom Animation Inc.)
 Tampere Short Film Festival 2007

Finnish State Quality Award (VALTION LAATUTUKI) 2007.

SPECIAL MENTION in the category of short films, AURORA International Festival, Norwich 2007


“The story of  the memories of a young girl is told skillfully, in a new and fresh way combining different elements (documentary, fiction and animation), thus creating a film which in an exceptional way is able to communicate both personal emotions as well as the history of the whole generation. The rich sound track deepens the expression.”

“Tarina nuoren tytön muistikuvista on taitavasti, uudella ja raikkaalla tavalla eri keinoja (dokumenttia, fiktiota ja animaatiota) yhdistäen toteutettu. Elokuva, joka poikkeuksellisin keinoin kykenee välittämään sekä henkilökohtaisia tuntemuksia että sukupolvensa historiaa. Taitavasti rakennettu äänimaailma syventää tulkintaa”. Jury citation Tampere Film Festival 2007.

“The digital technique usually lends itself to ostentatious display: in this film, it is used modestly in service of the content.  Narrated with an ease of pop culture attitude and with the seriousness of high art, the directors lyrically document the invisibility of women’s contributions in a way that is not bound to geographical or cultural specificity.” Jury citation Aurora Festival 2007.

“After seeing the movie I thought it was made by younger women, but Marjut Rimminen, 63 and Päivi Takala 53, have made the most innovative film of the festival.” IDFA–newspaper 29.11.2007, Amsterdam International Documentary Festival.

“Learned by Heart is a brilliantly beautiful piece of work.” Finnish national newspaper Helsingin Sanomat 6.12.2007.