Winner of the Grand Prix at last year's Cannes Film Festival, Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6 is a warming and unexpected tale of adventure, self-discovery and human connection.
Young Finnish archaeology student Laura (Seidi Haarla) is convinced by her lecturer – and lover – to take a trip to an ancient site of petroglyphs near the Arctic Circle. However, when she boards the long-distance train to take her there, she finds that she has to share her carriage with the boorish and belligerent Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov), a foul-mouthed, misogynistic drunk travelling to his new job as a miner. Initially, they seem to have nothing in common, but, like the landscape they’re travelling through, the more time Laura spends with Ljoha the more he thaws, revealing an unforeseen kindness beneath the macho façade.
This chance meeting between the two occupants of compartment no. 6 brings about an awakening within them, forming a bond they will never forget. There are echoes of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995), but Kuosmanen’s film, which was Finland’s entry for the Academy Awards last year, has its own distinct sensibility, and his two leads bring charm and warmth to their characters as their journey progresses.