Wednesday, July 08, 2009

British humour on Finnish posters?

The posters have gone up for "Brüno - the movie" in Helsinki. I read on Twitter yesterday that my favourite movie reviewer, Dr. Kermode, is refusing to see it on the basis of the poster alone. I'm not sure if it is the same one as this, but probably as I can see his point. Anyways; I was just wondering about the cultural resonance of "Achtung!" in Finland. Finns seems to get British humour very well - for older Finns when they say the British and Finnish sense of humour is very similar they normally base this on one thing: Benny Hill. Looking at some classic Finnish comedy movies, I can kind of see how they would get to that conclusion. But many younger Finns seems to greatly enjoy what I think of as British humour - be that Peep Show, The Office, League of Gentlemen, Smack the Pony, or The Thick Of It - all of which have been or currently are on Finnish TV, along with older classics from Black Adder to Monty Python.

But doesn't the "Achtung!" on the Brüno poster rely on British comics and war movies of the 70s and earlier for its comic value? For Brits of at least my (and Baron-Cohen's) age, if not younger, the word "Achtung" can only be followed with one other, and that is "Spitfire" - U2's best efforts not withstanding. Finns have their own war comics that still seem to be selling well today (and that could be the subject of a whole other post...), but I don't thinks the baddies in them would be yelling "Achtung Spitfire!".

Perhaps Brüno is reclaiming the comedy value of "Achtung!" in this Europeanised era for the whole of the continent? Brüno, we salute you - a potential contender for European of the year perhaps.

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