Once Upon a Time in a Forest

Virpi Suutari / Finland / 2024

Biodiversity and generation gaps collide in a politically urgent and thoughtful film about two young activists' fight to save the vast Finnish forests. Is it still civil disobedience when you know you have both history and the future on your side?

Ida and Minka share a boundless love for the Finnish forests and a deep respect for nature. But not everyone agrees. The two young environmentalists demonstrate against deforestation and eventually win a seat at the table with the older, bearded men that represent the powerful giants of the timber industry. But one thing is the industry, another thing entirely is to convince your own grandfather, who has spent a lifetime clearing and planting trees, that wild nature means everything to biodiversity and to the future of the planet. The gaps between generations are deep, the climate fight is also a cultural struggle. Fortunately, Finnish filmmaker Virpi Suutari has an eye for more than bitter conflicts and hard fronts, and with commendable humanity (and a dose of understated humour) she has created that great film about nature, the future and the climate that the world has been waiting for – nothing less. And in the spirit of its young activists, it is also a beautiful and thoughtful tribute to nature itself, with tadpoles and flying squirrels as witnesses to the great human drama.