Weeping men and singing women: voices in Finnish documentaries

Jouko Aaltonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article focuses on voices that are heard in Finnish documentaries. In this context, the concept of voice indicates different points of view and expressions which are present in a film. In addition to the voice of the film-maker, the voices of subjects comprise essential components of documentaries. Voices are created in the complicated film-making process. In a way, this consists of a game between intentions, plans and openness, a tension between the financing institutions and the film-maker’s ideals of freedom. These tensions and games imply that several voices can find their ways into finalised films: for instance, the voices of financiers and institutions, but also the voices of history and myths. Because several voices appear in documentary films and impact the film-making process at the same time, documentary films can be considered through the metaphor of choric expression. The concept of Bakhtinian polyphony is used to understand the present state of the documentary film in general and Finnish documentary film in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • dialogism
  • Finnish documentary film
  • new documentary
  • polyphony
  • Voices of documentary film


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