Unknown Karelia

a film by Katrin Molnár

Unknown Karelia

2020 | 43:00 min

Formal Categories

Human Interest Society

Content Categories

Karelia is a region that is part Finnish, part Russian. Only seven percent of its inhabitants consider themselves Karelians and therefore belong to one of the Finno-Ugric peoples of Europe.

Forests and over sixty thousand lakes – that's Karelia, a region in north-eastern Europe. Part of it belongs to Finland, a larger part, known as the Republic of Karelia, belongs to Russia. Seven percent of the inhabitants still identify as Karelians and therefore belong to one of the Finno-Ugric peoples of Europe. The vast majority are Russian, and the official and commonly spoken language is Russian. Many Karelians are concerned about the survival of their culture and language and fight to keep it alive. Forester Wiglijev would like nothing more than for his son to appreciate Karelia's countryside and rural village life, because Karelia is struggling with a massive rural exodus. Young people in particular are moving away – to settle in Petersburg or nearby Finland. Numerous villages are deserted and are falling into disrepair. Nadezhda and Igor Kalmykov have set themselves the task of preserving the original buildings in their village of Kinerma. Igor is restoring the 250-year-old wooden houses himself. The Karelian language is also dying out. Natalia Antonova is one of few people who speak Karelian as their mother tongue and is co-founder of an organisation that runs one of a handful of purely Karelian-speaking kindergartens in the Republic.
Cast and Crew
  • Director Katrin Molnár
Original Languages




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