Tabloids such as Iltalehti and blog forums like Uusi Suomi have raised passions to fever pitch due to a new movie about Marshal Carl Mannerheim (1867-1951). The issue that they are heatedly debating and questioning is why Finland’s most famous military figure is being played in a movie by a black man from Kenya?
The producer of the movie, Erkko Lyytinen, told Ilalehti that he has received death threats as a result of the movie, which will debut in Finland on September 29.
So? Black Mannerheim. What’s the problem? Why is it an issue?
Andy Warhol had no problems about painting political figures like Mao in unnatural skin-colors like dark blue and green. The unnatural colors reminded us that these people are human like us.
Warhol saw Mao with green lips and dark-blue skin…
… Marilyn Monroe’s skin changed colors too.
Since we’re not talking about a serious documentary, picturing Mannerheim as a black man should not raise passions. Isn’t it a good thing that some are using poetic license to understand who Mannerheim was and what he represents today?
Mannerheim is still a controversial figure, who is seen by some Finns as a savior and by others as a scoundrel.
Kalle Kinnunen, a Suomen Kuvalehti columnist, claims that the strong reactions by some Finns about black Mannerheim expose racism.
At the end of the day, is it such a sacrilege to picture Mannerheim and his deeds in a different skin color other than white?
What does it say about our history and how we see ourselves ethnically?