Oscars: Finland Selects 'Euthanizer' for Foreign-Language Category

EUTHANIZER Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of TIFF

Teemu Nikki's dark and surprising story of a mechanic who kills old and sick pets on the side impressed critics at its 2017 Toronto premiere.

Finland has selected Euthanizer, Teemu Nikki's odd story of a mechanic who dispatches old and sick pets as a sideline while giving deadbeat owners a piece of his mind, as its pitch for best foreign-language film at the Oscars.

Following its domestic release last November, Euthanizer received best script honors at Finland's Jussi Awards and later the same nod at the Tokyo International Film Festival. It also took home the FIPRESCI Award last month at the Norwegian International Film Festival.

Described in The Hollywood Reporter's Toronto International Film Festival review as "a distinctively dark Finnish tale of karma and tough love," Euthanizer is something of a modern morality tale that "cuts straight to the heart of issues between defenseless animals and the human owners who … put regrettably little thought into their well-being," reviewer John DeFore wrote.

Starring Matti Onnismaa as Veijo, a fifty-something mechanic who charges discount rates to put pets out of their misery, and Hannamaija Nikader, as Lotta, a nurse who becomes his lover and demonstrates a propensity for enjoying being choked during sex, the film is likely to appeal to both festival and mainstream audiences, DeFore added.

Euthanizer was produced by It's Alive Films, Jani Poso and Nikki, with Paris-based WIDE handling international sales.

Finland has a strong track record of submitting films to the Oscars, including Aki Kaurismaki's shortlisted The Man Without a Past in 2002 and Klaus Haro's December shortlisted The Fencer in 2015. The country has yet to win an Academy Award in the foreign-film category.