Saturday, November 27, 2010


[Själräddarna] / Saving Souls. FI © 2010 Aito Media Oy. EX: Ilkka Hynninen, Eero Hietala. P: Ilkka Hynninen. D+DP: Saku Pollari. SC: Saku Pollari, Kimmo Kohtamäki. AN: Teemu Åke. M+S: Poppe Johansson. ED: Kimmo Kohtamäki. Loc: Finland and Canada. A documentary film featuring: preacher Markku Koivisto and the people of the Nokia Missio Church. 78 min. A Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus release without subtitles, at 35 mm, at Kinopalatsi 4, Helsinki, 27 Nov 2010. - A documentary on the charismatic preacher Markku Koivisto and his Nokia Mission Church. Koivisto was expelled from his position as vicar (kirkkoherra) at the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Finland. Almost 80% of Finns belong to it, but the status is rapidly falling because of some Christians' intolerant views. - The reviews I have read of this film have been unanimously critical and ironic about the Nokia Mission. - Myself, I have never believed in God ever since I once visited Sunday School at the age of six, and I parted from the Evangelic Lutheran Church as soon as possible, at the age of 16. - But I am very happy that a valued friend once fulfilled a long-cherished wish of mine and invited me to a revivalist meeting, Markku Koivisto's at the Helsinki Ice Stadium. I was profoundly impressed by the good atmosphere and the general feeling of balance and happiness in the huge meeting. The simple message is love, and everybody is invited. That is the message of Christ, and it lives in the meetings of Nokia Mission. This visit is an especially treasured memory of mine, and I'll be grateful for it for the rest of my life. - I had heard about the crazy things about the Nokia Mission, and they are largely true, but they are secondary syndromes. - The official churches, from which Markku Koivisto is banned, are empty, and bureaucrats (in Finnish "leipäpappi", priests who preach "for the bread only") in whose voice a child can hear that they don't themselves believe in what they are saying are rampant. - Thus, although an unbeliever, I watched this documentary with sympathy. The power of the word fascinates me, and Markku Koivisto with all his human imperfections has that power. Never forgetting that he is a servant of God, helping to bring the good message to everybody. The message of love. - What about the miracle healings? The power of belief is tremendous. At least alcoholism and other terrible addictions can be incurable for medicine, but religious conversion can cure them, this I have witnessed with people I know. - Saku Pollari has managed to get intimate footage from inside the Nokia Mission, including from crucial conversations in Canada ("you don't need a new church"), crisis palavers on economic alerts, and Koivisto's hospitalizations. - The visual look is that of a basic record, but this is not an image-driven film.

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