Gerald Langiri
August 17 / 2012

Let me take you to Finland back to the early 19th century where we are met with Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim or as he was better known as the Marshal of Finland. To the finns, Mannerheim was one of the greatest leaders ever. He fought the reds in civil war ensuring the independence of Finland. Later he was supreme commander of Finnish forces during World War 2 and under his command, Finland defeated soviet union in winter war and pushed back the last bid invasion by CCCP in '44. Highest honor a soldier can earn is the Cross of Mannerheim. He also served as president of Finland after the war.

So great was this leader that a movie titled The Marshal of Finland was shot in May 2012 and is currently being edited. The film's world premiere is in The Helsinki International Love & Anarchy Film Festival on September 28, 2012.

The majority of the movie was shot locally and it has used Kenyan actors in all aspect. That is where the problem starts. The movie has already sparked a lot of controversy in Finland for the fact that they used Telly Savalas Otieno, a Kenyan actor to play the main character of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.

marshall of finland


One finnish blogger who goes by the name of Mayhemia had this comment towards this “70 years later this is how our nation honors him. By casting a negro as Mannerheim. I'm so angry at the moment, that I can't say anything else, but **** everyone involved.”

Another finnish blogger by the name of Swanny retorted “Introducing a new word to the English language:"blackwash".Blackwash: to take a historical character and cast a negro to play that role even when the person was White thereby rewriting history so it is more "inclusive" and future generations of negros will be brought up thinking their race actually achieved something beyond being mud runting savages who systematically destroyed every nation they landed in.”

Vagg said “FUKINGG BUULSHHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thank god my Finnish Great Grandmother is dead.”

Threats to the film makers of the movie have also been reported.

If the controversy already brewing is anything to go by, I cannot wait to watch the movie and my guess is, it will be huge.

Besides, a great Kenyan cast was used: Telly Otieno, Ruth Maingi, Jacky Vike just to mention but a few.

The movie has been Directed by Gilbert Lukalia and Produced by Erkko Lyytinen. The script was written by Sam K, Andronico otieno, Anthony Ndungu and Emma taulo.

“Story of the film focuses on Mannerheim's private life from 1905-1918. It tells about a failed marriage with Anastasia Arapova, and love affair with Kitty Linder after the Finnish Civil War. According to Gilbert Lukalian, "It's an universal story about a man who has difficulty reconciling family life and career." Wikipedia.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle are behind this 50 minute movie that had a budget of ksh 2.5 M

In an interview done by Veli-Pekka Lehtonen and Jaakko Lyytinen, Telly said that the film was a magnificent experience for him and is the best film he has ever been involved in.He had not heard about Mannerheim before the film and Two months ago,he read about him on the internet and was amazed!  Read the full interview HERE.

So the big question here is why Telly was used instead of getting a white guy to act that role? Does it really matter who played the role? Are the Finns justified in their outrage towards the movie? Was this some kind of a ploy for the movie to be shot in Kenya? How would it make you feel if a movie of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was made and a white man is casted for the role?

Preview of the movie:


Written by Gerald Langiri | Pic Source


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