An overweight, school-bullied boy grows into a comedian loved by the Finnish audience. Jope Ruonansuu is an imitator who is able to imitate more than 150 characters, mostly rulers and celebrities in Finland. Eventually he strives to get rid of the extra weight and childhood trauma with the sleeve gastrectomy. Unfortunately he dies of cancer afterwards: death will also interrupt a joint school bullying project with current President Niinistö.
This emotional documentary builds a profile of the shy and kind, yet quick-witted and original entertainer Jope Ruonansuu. It does not shy away even from the more difficult moments in his struggle with alcohol and obesity. Some of the skits in his famous sketch show Jopet show may in their own way be based on personal experiences.
Interviewees include Finnish entertainment royalty from Vesa-Matti Loiri to Timo Koivusalo, along with Ruonansuu’s family members and collaborators. His caricature characters are brought to life through animation, and some rare recordings of live performances from his long career are included. Ruonansuu died in 2020 from the complications of esophageal cancer, but his memory lives on. For example, the president of Finland honored his promise to Ruonansuu post-humously by visiting Ruonansuu’s old school in Syväkangas, Kemi in the spring of 2022.
Paavo Ihalainen (translated by Virpi Sumu)
The director Marko Talli is present in the screening on Sun, Feb 5.