In 1938, a young Finnish couple, both of them architects, bought an 8mm camera. A year after this purchase, Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union. The husband, given the name “Y,” was appointed as the architect of the city of Vyborg, and he worked closely together with his wife, nicknamed Mirri. The story is told from the perspective of their daughter, whose first memory was of marching soldiers. Her observations are voiced sometimes by a child and sometimes by an adult.
This creative documentary is constructed entirely from amateur films—some of them in color—shot by the couple between 1938 and 1949. Initially, the footage paints a picture of life as usual, with people swimming and new children being born. Increasingly, however, the war starts to intrude on their existence. Then comes the moment that Y gets separated from his family for a long period of time. The couple’s correspondence and the films of this period offer some intimate insight into the lives of normal citizens affected by the war, and the unique perspective of an architect who must rebuild his ruined city adds a telling layer.