People We Come Across

Includes Q&A

No Longer Available

Film Info
Country Listing:Finland
Premiere Status:International Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2021
Accessibility:Partial Subtitles
Program Category:International Spectrum
Film Subjects:African Cultures & Issues
European Cultures & Issues
Health & the Pandemic
Science & Technology
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Mia Halme
Producer(s):Marianne Mäkelä
Executive Producer(s):Liisa Karpo
Editor(s):Phil Jandaly
Antony Bentley
Writer(s):Mia Halme
Cinematography:Ditte Uljas
Composer:Kalle Vainio
Sound:Olli Huhtanen


A Finnish doctor conducts a vaccine immunity study in Benin that could save the lives of millions from enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) bacteria in the tropics. Over 700 Finnish tourists agree to test the vaccine while on vacation, mixing humanitarian duty with sightseeing in a unique cultural exchange. An experiment in psychology, biology and charity, People We Come Across examines how people can both connect with and completely misinterpret one another, and how humans help and harm with the best of intentions. As a study participant herself, director Mia Halme brings a knowing eye to the tension between tourist and local, doctor and patient, donor and sponsor, Finnish wife and Beninese husband, and her sophisticated use of reaction shots draws attention to colonial history and the dance of distrust between strangers without being overt. In this must-see pandemic film that reflects the zeitgeist, Halme strikes an impressive balance between deadpan toilet humour, the chilling physical threat of an invisible antibiotic-resistant menace, and a metaphysical lesson on the human impulse to help. Angie Driscoll

International Spectrum program supported by
Donner Canadian Foundation logo

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