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director Juho Kuosmanen takes us on a journey

Juho Kuosmanen loves trains. Long before he read Rosa Liksom’s 2011 novel Compartment No. 6, the Finnish director had travelled around Russia on local lines, taking pictures in odd places. “It’s the best way to travel, especially in Russia, because you do these long trips and you meet interesting people,” he says. “You just don’t talk to people on plane journeys.”

Compartment No. 6, the inspiration for his latest film, was about exactly that: two unlikely travel companions thrown together in a small space for several days. As soon as he read it, he wondered first if he dared try to adapt it and, secondly, whether he could shoot it on a moving train.

Seidi Haarla as Laura in Compartment No. 6.Credit:Sami Kuokkanen

The resulting film, which was indeed largely shot on moving trains, shared the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021. The story is simple enough. Finnish Laura (Seidi Haarla) is studying Russian in Moscow, where…

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