Pirjo Honkasalo (Finland)

Pirjo Irene Honkasalo (born 22 February 1947) is a Finnish film director who has also worked as a cinematographer, film editor, producer, screenwriter and actress. In 1980 she co-directed Flame Top with Pekka Lehto, whit whom she worked earlier and later as well. The film was chosen for the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. In the 1990s she focused on feature documentaries such as "The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic" (Mysterion, Tanjuska and the 7 Devils and Atman). Honkasalo returned to fiction with Fire-Eater (1998) and Concrete Night (2013), both of which were written by Pirkko Saisio. Concrete Night won six Jussi Awards in 2014, among them the Jussi for the Best Direction and the Jussi for the Best Film. Its world premiere was at the Toronto International Film Festival in Masters series.

Pirjo Honkasalo worked as provincial artist laureate in Central Finland 1974–1975. At that time she drove around the area with one-armed scholar who made research of traditional handcrafts. Honkasalo photographed all the interviewees voluntarily. On that journey she met the main characters of her documentary Their Age. She is the first honorary member of Women in Film & Television Finland ry. The organisation says that "Honkasalo has [...] made touching films of universal topics" and also spoken out about the gender inequality in film industry.


  • Pilvilinna
    1970) (cinematography
  • The Land of Our Ancesters
    1973) (with Rauni Mollberg
  • Their age
    1976) (with Pekka Lehto
  • Two Forces
    1979) (with Pekka Lehto
  • Flame Top
    1980) (with Pekka Lehto
  • Nine Ways to Approach Helsinki
    1982) (with Pekka Lehto and Jörn Donner
  • 250 Grammes – a Radioactive Testament
    1983) (with Pekka Lehto
  • Da Capo
    1985) (with Pekka Lehto
  • Mysterion
    1991) (with Eira Mollberg
  • Tanjuska and the 7 Devils
  • The Cinderella of Tallinn
    1996) (with Marja Pensala
  • Atman
  • Fire-Eater
  • The 3 Rooms of Melancholia
  • Ito – a Diary of an Urban Priest
  • Concrete Night

Doc Alliance Members

Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.