The Hypnotist

”To what extent did the arguments, behaviour and manners of this peculiar person consist of natural madness and how much of it was theatre? He was no ordinary man, in any case.”

Master hypnotist Olliver Hawk (1930–1988), or Olavi Hakasalo by his real name, was a superstar in his time. Having started his career in Australia, the hypnotist became famous in Finland in the 1960s when hundreds of thousands of people saw Hawk’s hypnosis show. In addition to his performances, Hawk accepted private customers with mental disorders, for example, which led to a conviction for fraud and illegal practice of medicine in the 1980s.

Director/screenwriter Arthur Franck’s The Hypnotist is proof of the high level of Finnish documentary film. It depicts not only a sensational hypnotist but also a change in the Finnish society. Was Olliver Hawk a fraud or a pioneer working for the inner circles of power and blacklisted for political reasons? The film does not offer readymade answers; it draws a picture of a man who remained a mystery even to his close ones.

Riikka Pennanen (Translation: Marko Pyhähuhta)

Language: Finnish
Subtitles: English

Q&A with Arthur Franck (director) and Oskar Forstén (producer) on Thursday 31.01. at 20:00 at Bio Rex and on Friday 01.02. at 17:00 at Savoy (in Finnish)

  • Director: Arthur Franck
  • Country: Finland
  • Year: 2019
  • Length: 75 min
  • Age limit: K12
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Mikko Kelloniemi
  • Editing: Markus Leppälä
  • Music: Toni Teivaala
  • Production: Oskar Forstén / franckforstén


  • Bio Rex: Thu 31.1. at 20.00
  • Savoy-teatteri: Fri 1.2. at 17.00
  • Kinopalatsi 6: Sat 2.2. at 15.00