Mikki Kaurismäki, inventor of Nordic cool, is Finnish & European

Mikki Kaurismäki and his brother Aki are Finnlands most popular movie makers. They showed us and Jim Jarmush how cool “weird” can be. In their road movie, “Leningrad Cowboys go America”, a weird Finnish rock band comes to New York to make it big, then travels to Mexico to perform at a wedding. Many weird things happen on the way… Mikki is Finnish & European

My European Faces: Popular homeless hero from Bath, István Kakas, was Hungarian & European

István Kakas lived on the small, picturesque Ha’penny Bridge in Bath, which he often swept with his broom and decorated with flowers. The former military vet and chef was well known amongst residents for his uplifting spirit and cheery personality. When he rescued a little girl and her father from the river with his broom, he became a Bath celebrity, and received a citizen award for his heroism. The community of Bath mourned his death of Leukemia in 2018. He was Hungarian and European.

My European Faces: Saturnus, Roman forebear of Jesus, is Italian, European

The Roman god Saturnus is a metaphor for the ancients’ understanding of time. He is master over the seasons, death and rebirth, he gives bounty and he destroys life. His birthday was celebrated on December 25th, at the winter solstice, that inflection point after which the light would return. Christus, whose birth is celebrated on December 25th as well, who died and was reborn on Easter, is a modern replacement of the eternally existing god of creation. Saturnus is Roman, Italian, and European.

My European Faces: Christao, a healer by laying-on-hands, is Portugese, European

For several years, Christao lives on his own in a small Portugese village close to the most Western point of Portugal. He is tending his beautiful orchard and kitchen garden. The villagers swear that they are not superstitious but pragmatic when bringing him their ailing animals, which he heals by laying-on-hands. They also say that he is a miracle healer for infertile women, that he is a truly nice guy and very generous. He is Portugese and European.

My European Faces: Kyria, blinded by Greece’s glorious past, is Greek, European

For Kyria, an archaeologist and Classics scholar, Greece and Europe are defined by the past, not the present. Her Greece is that of the Illyad, Athens under Pericles, Alexander’s empire, Herakleitos, Plato, and Aristotle. She cannot see the decline of talent that has plagued Europe since 400 BC, and specifically how a trauma of four centuries of suppression, and two world wars, would — even today — hamper Greeks’ agency, cognition, and problem solving. She is Greek and European.

My European Faces: Jan, consultant, boatbuilder, Dutch, European

Jan works 16-hour days at a strategic consulting firm, and keeps fit. But as soon as he lets up, dread overwhelms him; he feels, as if he’s lost his way. Sometimes, he wakes up at night and remembers how he used to work at a small shipyard, wind in his face, smells of wood, saltwater, and lacquer wafting through the air; the sounds of the sea gulls, the clinking of tackle, and the ocean waves drowning out all other sounds.