Sunday, November 30, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 5

/ / FI / 1997 / Bagh, Peter von, etc. / TV documentary

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 5 - Viattomuuden vuodet. 1952 - 1964. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh, Elina Katainen, Iikka Vehkalahti. 60’. PAL TV transmission, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 30 November 1997.

Friday, November 28, 1997

Mrs Brown

100472 / G / GB / 1997 / Madden, John / / drama

Mrs Brown / Hänen majesteettinsa Rouva Brown. PC: BBC Scotland. A Miramax release. P: Sarah Curtis. D: John Madden. SC: Jeremy Brock. CAST: Judi Dench (Queen Victoria), Billy Connolly (John Brown), Anthony Sher (Benjamin Disraeli). 1,35/1,66. 104’. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 28 November 1997. *** A subtle psychological study of Queen Victoria’s years of grief after the death of her husband. The two other main characters are John Brown, Victoria’s loyal personal servant, and Disraeli, the Prime Minister who cajoles the Queen back to public life. Essentially a TV movie, it is worth watching on a big screen because of its magnificent Scottish Highlands scenery around Balmoral. British historical drama at its best.

Thursday, November 27, 1997

Microcosmos

100466 / G / FR / 1996 / Nuridsany, Claude, etc. / documentary

Microcosmos - le peuple de l’herbe / Mikrokosmos - ruohikon kansa. PC: Galatée Films; France 2 Cinéma; Bac Films. D: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Perennou. MPAA: G. 77’. 1,35/1,66. DIST: Kamras Film Group. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday 27 November 1997. **** Featuring grasshoppers, snails, spiders, ants, ladybirds, timbermen, dragonflies, and centipedes. The miracles of nature - the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, the sundew consuming a fly, the snails getting it on - belong to the very oldest subjects of cinema. They belong to the staples of TV documentaries and popular video series. The French team here recapture the fascination with state of the art cinematographic means, including extreme close-ups and digital surround sound space. It is the unity of the vision and the quirky assemblage that make this stand out. A few computer generated shots enhance the film: the dragonfly’s point of view, for instance. It all takes place on a French meadow during 24 hours.

Wednesday, November 26, 1997

A Face In the Crowd

047628 / 08 / US / 1957 / Kazan, Elia / / drama

Face In the Crowd, A / Kasvot väkijoukossa. PC: Newtown Productions. A Warner Bros. release. P+D: Elia Kazan. SC: Budd Schulberg. DP: Harry Stradling, Gene Rescher. M: Tom Glazer. CAST: Andy Griffith (Larry ”Lonesome” Rhodes), Patricia Neal (Marcia Jeffries), Anthony Franciosa (Joey Kieley), Walter Matthau (Mel Miller). B&w Academy. 126’. MPAA Seal of Approval 16503. BBFC: Passed For Adult Audiences. A NFTVA print with fine definition. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Wednesday 26 November 1997. *** Great ideas in a pioneering satire on television and celebrity, visually fascinatingly detailed. But with the familiar Kazan cliches: histrionic performances and jarringly overstated naturalism with the trademark dirty, sweat-dripping undershirts. Kazan does not trust a minute in the viewer’s intelligence. Everything has to be overdone and exaggerated. Trouble is, he has no spirit of generosity to back the extravaganza. It gets terribly hollow and futile instead. Kazan is a man of drama, not spectacle. But he lacks the patience for pure drama. Someone shoulda put reins on him. He would have needed a good tough producer.

Eurodisc Playlist for 13.40.11

100463 / G / US etc. / 1997 / various / / music video

Eurodisc Playlist for 13.40.11 / Musiikkikooste 13-40-11. Compiled by Pioneer Video Manufacturing. DIST: Ulkokaupat Oy. Laserdisc. Viewed on big screen at VET, Helsinki, Wednesday 26 November 1997.
Sash! Featuring La Trec: Stay **
Oasis: Stand By Me **
Backstreet Boys: As Long As You Love Me **
Spice Girls: Spice Up Your Life **
Aqua: Barbie Girl **
Janet Jackson / Q-Tip / Joni Mitchell: Got ‘Til It’s Gone **
N-Trance Featuring Rod Stewart: Do Ya Think I’m Sexy **
Dario G: Sunchyme ***
Lighthouse Family: Raincloud: ***
Eternal: Angel Of Mine **

German Natdisc Playlist for 15.90.11

100462 / G / DE etc. / 1997 / various / / music video

German Natdisc Playlist for 15.90.11 / Musiikkikooste 15-90-11. Compiled by Pioneer Video Manufacturing. DIST: Ulkokaupat Oy. Laserdisc. Viewed on big screen at VET, Helsinki, Wednesday 26 November 1997.
Da Hool: Meet Her At The Love Parade **
X-Perience: I Don’t Care **
Wyclef Jean: Guantanamera **
Tic Tac Toe: Ich wär’ so gern so blöd wie du **
Bootsy Collins Featuring MC Lyte: I’m Leavin’ U *
Mr. President: Take Me To The Limit *
Marusha: My Best Friend *
Cultured Pearls: Sugar Sugar Honey **
Blur: MOR **
Fleetwood Mac: Temporary One *

Urpo & Turpo II

A-027800 / G / FI / 1997 / Helminen, Liisa / / puppet animation

Urpo & Turpo II. PC: Lumifilm. P: Hanna Hemilä, Liisa Helminen. D: Liisa Helminen. 70’. Academy. DIST: Lumifilm. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 26 November 1997. Seven short animated stories.
Urpo & Turpo jouluvalmisteluissa / Urpo & Turpo Prepare For Christmas
Urpo & Turpo kuntoilevat / Urpo & Turpo Get Fit
Urpo & Turpo autiolla saarella / Urpo & Turpo On The Nature Trail
Urpo & Turpo muuttumisleikissä / Urpo & Turpo Have A Make-Over
Urpo & Turpo ovat rohkeita / Urpo & Turpo The Brave
Urpo & Turpo salapoliiseina / Urpo & Turpo The Detectives
Urpo & Turpo haluavat olla rauhassa / Urpo & Turpo Want To Be Alone

Tuesday, November 25, 1997

Baby Doll

046089 / 16 / US / 1956 / Kazan, Elia / / drama

Baby Doll / Nukkevaimo. PC: Newtown Productions. P+D: Elia Kazan. SC: Tennessee Williams - based on two one-act plays of his own. DP: Boris Kaufman. M: Kenyon Hopkins. ”Shame Shame Shame”, ”Baby Please Don’t Go”. CAST: Karl Malden (Archie), Carroll Baker (Baby Doll), Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock. B&w Academy. 115’. MPAA Production Code Seal Of Approval 18129. BBFC: 16. NFTVA print with beautiful definition. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 25 November 1997. ** Badly written, badly directed, and badly acted. But with beautiful cinematography and fine music. The play is dated, and the acting is histrionic. It is amazing to see the Actors Studio hystery resembling here the melodramatic acting style of the early years of the century. The stylization, the self-consciousness, and the nervous, mannered tics make it impossible to take these characters seriously. Then again, the composition and the definition of light are masterful. Someone should take out all the dialogue from Baby Doll and we would have a beautiful set of silent tableaux, with only music accompaniment.

Monday, November 24, 1997

Kummeli Kultakuume

A-027797 / 12 / FI / 1997 / Grönberg, Matti / / comedy

Kummeli Kultakuume / Kummeli Goldrush. PC: Porkkana Ryhmä; Solar Films. D: Matti Grönberg. CAST: Heikki Silvennoinen, Heikki Hela, Heikki Vihinen, Timo Kahilainen. 1,66. Parts in German, with Finnish subtitles. DIST: Finnkino. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Monday 24 November 1997. A crazy comedy about a madman (HS) and his male nurse (HH) wreaking havoc with two delinquents (TK and HV) in Lapland on the trail of a lost gold treasure. They beat the Nazis and get the gold. The madman is cured through happy marriage. Seasoned comedy veterans appears all through the film. It could have more style, but some scenes are actually very funny.

Sunday, November 23, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 4

/ / FI / 1997 / Bagh, Peter von, etc. / TV documentary

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 4 - Ei onni ole lahja. 1945 - 1952. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh, Elina Katainen, Iikka Vehkalahti. 60’. PAL TV transmission, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 23 November 1997.

Friday, November 21, 1997

La sindrome di Stendhal

V-003391 / 18 / IT / 1996 / Argento, Dario / / thriller

Sindrome di Stendhal, La / The Stendhal Syndrome. PC: Medusa Film. P+D+SC: Dario Argento. DP: Giuseppe Rotunno. FX: Sergio Stivaletti. M: Ennio Morricone. CAST: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Paolo Bonacelli. VHS PAL cropped from 1,85 to 1,33. Dubbed into monotonous English. Time-coded. Long version 113’26” /25 fps/ = 118’10” /24 fps/. (Cf GB release 110’43” at 25 fps.) DIST: Finn Innovation Productions. Big screen video projection viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 21 November 1997. Impossible to evaluate: the plot is not the thing, and the probably exquisite visuals could not be appreciated from this VHS copy. Asia Argento is a policewoman tracking down a serial rapist-killer. Visiting Uffizi Gallery and other marvellous sites of art she succumbs to ”the Stendhal syndrome”: a posttraumatic stress reaction with personality changes. (The title has been taken from the novelist, since he was the first one to record it based on his experiences in Florence.) Her persona changes several times, and after eliminating the killer in a gruesome battle she is taken over by the slain monster: ”He is inside me now”.

Thursday, November 20, 1997

Excess Baggage

100458 / 12 / US / 1997 / Brambilla, Marco / comedy

Excess Baggage / Tuhannen taalan tyttö. PC: Columbia Pictures. P: Alicia Silverstone (First Kiss Productions). D: Marco Brambilla. CAST: Alicia Silverstone, Benicio Del Toro, Christopher Walken. MPAA 34335. Rated PG-13. 98’. 1,85. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: CB Egmont. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday 20 November 1997. ** Clueless was a first-rate film, and Alicia Silverstone was great in it. A hard act to follow? This one is merely a trifle.

Wednesday, November 19, 1997

Starship Troopers

100457 / 16 / US / 1997 / Verhoeven, Paul / science fiction

Starship Troopers / Universumin sotilaat. PC: TriStar; Touchstone. A Buena Vista release. P: Jon Davison. D: Paul Verhoeven. Based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein. M: Basil Poledouris. PD: Allan Cameron. FX: Phil Tippett, Scott Squires, John Richardson, ILM, Boss. CAST: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards. 129’. 1,85. MPAA 34343. Rated R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri. DIST: Finnkino. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 19 November 1997. ** Great effects, shame about the film. Verhoeven returns to science fiction full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. There is the satire of future TV, done better in RoboCop. There is the resurrection theme. There is the bombastic music of Poledouris and the special effects of Phil Tippett, all these from RoboCop ten years ago. Also Michael Ironside, then the villain, now the instructor of the heroes, though he is basically the same character. The humans are weirdly indifferent, like models from a shampoo commercial: physically perfect, empty inside. What are we to make of the fact that ”we” are fighting for a Fascist empire, against an empire of giant bugs? This is not satire to me, just cynicism.

Tuesday, November 18, 1997

Sling Blade

100456 / 12 / US / 1995 / Thornton, Billy Bob / drama

Sling Blade / Sling Blade. PC: Sling Blade LLC. A Miramax release. D+SC+starring: Billy Bob Thornton (as Karl Childers). With Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh. M: Daniel Lanois. Location: Benton, Arkansas. 1,85. 136’. MPAA 34457. Rated R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Eirik Udd. DIST: CB Egmont. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 18 November 1997. *** This charts the territory of William Faulkner and Erskine Caldwell. Connecting with Of Mice and Men. And paying homage to To Kill A Mockingbird: Robert Duvall, who played Boo Radley in his debut role, gives a guest performance here as Karl’s father. Very well performed but does not intrigue me much.

The Ice Storm

100454 / 14 / US / 1997 / Lee, Ang / / drama

Ice Storm, The / Jäämyrsky. PC: 20th Century Fox. D: Ang Lee. Based on the novel by Rick Moody. M: Mychael Danna. CAST: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Henry Czerny. MPAA 35015. Rating R = 17. 1,85. 113’. Finnish subtitles by Timo Porri. DIST: Finnkino. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 18 November 1997. ** Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice revisited. It is Thanksgiving 1973 in Connecticut. Human relationships are a mess. The costumes even worse. Nobody laughs happily. I failed to get interested in any of the characters portrayed.

Friday, November 14, 1997

Niskavuoren Heta

A-004304 / G / FI / 1952 / Laine, Edvin / / drama

Niskavuoren Heta / Heta From Niskavuori. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. P: T.J. Särkkä. D: Edvin Laine. SC: Hella Wuolijoki - from her play (1950). DP: Pentti Unho. M: Heikki Aaltoila. CAST: Rauni Luoma (Heta Harjula), Kaarlo Halttunen (Akusti Harjula), Mirjam Novero (Broken Wing), Eino Kaipainen (sheriff), Leo Lähteenmäki (Lammentaustan Santeri). B&w Academy. Yleisradio Tallennepalvelu VHS PAL cassette from Pirkkala Library. 89’40” /25 fps/ = 93’25” /24 fps/. Swedish subtitles. Viewed in Pirkkala, Saturday 15 November 1997. **** Of Hella Wuolijoki’s dramas only The Farmer’s Daughter is internationally well-known, filmed as it was in Hollywood in the 1940s (and quite well), and later transformed into a TV series. Many others would deserve recognition. Seeing Heta From Niskavuori and A Streetcar Named Desire during the same week it was striking to see how much Heta had grown and how dated Blanche seemed. Perhaps it is also because of the shortage of interesting female roles in contemporary films. There are plenty of Blanches and no Hetas. Anyway, Heta is a totally original drama, covering a quarter of a century of great transformation in Finland. All performances are strong. The life of the countryside, so often forged on the screen, rings true here. The drama itself is so strong that the usual melodramatic excesses of Messrs. Särkkä and Laine are held in check. (The same miracle was repeated three years later in The Unknown Soldier.) Taut, cinematic storytelling full of memorable scenes. Heta reminded me that a movie should really move the viewer!

Xian hunnü

100449 / 12 / CN / 1993 / Xie Fei / / drama

Xian hunnü / Women From the Lake of Scented Souls / Nainen tuoksuvien sielujen järveltä. PC: Tianjin Film Studios; Changchun Film Studios. D+SC: Xie Fei. CAST: Siqin Gaowa (Xiang), Wu Yujuan, Lei Luosheng. 1,66. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Kamras Film Group. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 14 November 1997. *** One of the best Chinese films I have seen. The drama of the strong-willed woman brings to mind the Finnish Niskavuori saga. ”In a small village in the Hebei province in northern China Xiang runs a sesame-oil operation. Interest from a Japanese company brings Xiang into contact with a whole world of female independence in contrast to the traditional world she normally inhabits” to quote the BFI CD-ROM. Fine performances, great cinematography are combined with true dramatic force.

Thursday, November 13, 1997

Tetsuo 2 - Body Hammer

097984 / 18 / JP / 1992 / Tsukamoto, Shinya / cyberpunk

Tetsuo 2 - Body Hammer. PC: Kaijun Theatre. D: Shinya Tsukamoto. CAST: Tomorog Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka. 1,85. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Eija Niskanen / Johan Förnäs. Submitted for re-examination by Cinema Mondo. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday, 13 November 1997. **** Tetsuo is the Japanese RoboCop and Blade Runner. The second installment is better than the first one, a poetic masterpiece which gets better with a new viewing. There is true force in the mindflash montages. It is a trick often abused. Here it succeeds.

Wednesday, November 12, 1997

Täältä tullaan elämä!

A-23752 / 16 / FI / 1980 / Suominen, Tapio / drama

Täältä tullaan elämä! PC: Sateenkaari-Filmi. P+D: Tapio Suominen. SC: Yrjö-Juhani Renvall, Pekka Aine. M: Pelle Miljoona, Maukka Perusjätkä. CAST: Esa Niemelä (Jussi), Tony Holmström (Pete), Kati Outinen (Lissu), Pertti V. Reponen (Pappa). 1,66. 117’. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Wednesday 12 November 1997. **** I saw this Finnish Zeitgeist film of 17 years ago for the first time. The teenage audience watched it with total concentration. It is difficult to make a film about a contemporary generation, but these people succeeded. It is a coming-of-age story worthy of Nicholas Ray and Francois Truffaut. All performances ring true. The Finnish punk classics ”Täältä tullaan elämä” and ”Säpinää” still sound great.

A Streetcar Named Desire

035123 / 16 / US / 1950 / Kazan, Elia / / drama

Streetcar Named Desire, A / Viettelysten vaunu. PC: Charles K. Feldman Group. A 20th Century Fox release. P: Charles Feldman. D: Elia Kazan. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams. M: Alex North. CAST: Vivien Leigh (Blanche Dubois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch). MPAA Production Code Seal 14871. B&w Academy. 122’. Swedish subtitles by Kerstin Landfeldt. A Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet print. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Wednesday 12 November 1997. *** From Scarlett to Blanche: the track of the Southern Belle. Legendary performances realized through great photography and backed by a stirring New Orleans influenced score. But the play itself is dated.

…ja minä pelkään yötä / [... And I'm Afraid of the Night]

A-27794 / 10/7 / FI / 1997 / Hassinen, Tomi / / thriller

…ja minä pelkään yötä / I’m Afraid Of the Dark. PC: Technofilm. D: Tomi Hassinen, Marko Nirhola. M: Tomi Hassinen. CAST: Mikko Ehnqvist, Elina Aho, Ilkka Ruutu, Anna-Maria Balk. VHS PAL 60’. DIST: Technofilm. VHS PAL big screen projection in Helsinki, VET, on Wednesday, 12 November 1997. Interesting non-professional mystery thriller about five young friends negotiating their relationships while trying to solve the mystery of a mind-altering toxic gas.

Metallica: Poor Touring Me

100446 / G / US / 1997 / Metallica / / tour documentary

Metallica: Poor Touring Me. PC: E-M Ventures. A PolyGram release. D: Wayne Isham. DP: Daniel Pearl. Featuring: Metallica = James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Jason Newsted, Kirk Hammett. 35mm Academy print with brilliant sound. 52’. DIST: PolyGram Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 12 November 1997. **** Excellent documentary. Laconic photography, clean lighting, rhythmic montages. There is nothing to distract from the performance of dark tribal sound. There is at the end, however, the inevitable catastrophe sequence.

Trees Lounge

100447 / 16 / US / 1996 / Buscemi, Steve / / drama

Trees Lounge / Trees Lounge. PC: Live Film and Mediaworks. D+SC+starring: Steve Buscemi. 96’. 1,85. MPAA 34420. Rating: R = 17. Finnish/Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Finnkino. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 12 November 1997. ** Steve Buscemi’s strongly felt tale of what would have happened ”if I would have become an alcoholic”. Trees Lounge is the name of a bar in a working-class New York suburb. Each member of the cast does a splendid job.

Monday, November 10, 1997

Jäänmurtaja

A-27793 / 10/7 / FI / 1997 / Kujanpää, Heikki / drama

Jäänmurtaja / Ice-Breaker. PC: Silva Mysterium. D: Heikki Kujanpää. CAST: Sampo Borgar, Siiri Nordin, Tommi Korpela. 63’. 16mm. Viewed on VHS PAL big screen projection in Helsinki, VET, Monday 10 November 1997. Ice hockey drama featuring adult and young players and a drama of a split family involving a coach and a lunatic hockey player who gets extraordinary powers when driven angry.

Sunday, November 09, 1997

Rovioiden ritarit

/ / FI / 1997 / Östling, Tom / / TV documentary

Rovioiden ritarit / Knights of the Bonfires. PC: Yleisradio TV 1. D+SC: Tom Östling. Featuring (film related interviewees): Arvo Salo, Kari Uusitalo, Matti Kassila, Aito Mäkinen, Jörn Donner, Hannu Leminen, Claes Olsson, Leo Stålhammar, Seppo Rustanius, Jarmo Jääskeläinen, Markku Jokipii, Maarit Pietinen, Gunnel Arrbäck, Birgit Bruun, James Ferman, Clifford Christians. 90’. PAL TV transmission. Viewed in Helsinki, Sunday, 9 November 1997. This was a summing-up of Östling’s trilogy on Finnish censorship (on banned books, films, and TV and radio programmes, originally produced in 1994-1996). It is an important survey in cultural history, and the abundant old clips are highly entertaining for today’s viewer. My five major criticisms would focus on: 1) the failure to recognize the difference between voluntary self-control and government censorship (in Finland first since 1946), 2) the neglect to mention that all the banned films mentioned in the lists have since been passed, often a long time ago, 3) most of the clips shown were never banned or cut in the first place: some were hypothetical illustrations, others were of films that got a higher rating than the distributor demanded, 4) the current large problem of criminal matter was only hinted at, and 5) there was no discussion of the Finnish video law, the severest in the world, which causes most of the programmes available to be banned on video distribution. That is a major censorship offense, a blatant infringement in a basic civil liberty.

Saturday, November 08, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 2

/ / FI / 1997 / Bagh, Peter von, etc. / TV documentary

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 2 - On aivan kuin runon takaa kaikuisivat marssin tahdit. 1930 - 1939. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh, Elina Katainen, Iikka Vehkalahti. 60’. PAL TV transmission, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 8 November 1997. Better than the first installment, this one scans the decade of political extremism, the Great Depression, and growing prosperity. It has to be admitted that the availability of original sounds makes this kind of chronicle more effective.

Thursday, November 06, 1997

Djöflaeyjan

100443 / 12 / IS / 1996 / Fridriksson, Fridrik Thor / drama

Djöflaeyjan / The Devil’s Island / Pirunsaari. PC: Islendska Kvikmyndasamsteypan; Filmhuset; Peter Rommel Filmproduktion. D: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. 104’. 1,85. In Icelandic. Finnish subtitles by Lars Lundsten. DIST: Senso Films. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Thursday 6 November 1997. A grungy family saga covering the 1950s and the 1960s in the US military area of Iceland: violence, booze, romance, rock’n’roll and airplane adventures. I would criticize it for miserabilism and for the fact that the characters remain too unsympathetic or indifferent.

Eurodisc Playlist for 12.40.10

100441 / G / US etc. / 1997 / various / / music video

Eurodisc Playlist for 12.40.10 / Musiikkikooste 12-40-10. Compiled by Pioneer Video Manufacturing. DIST: Ulkokaupat Oy. Laserdisc. Viewed on big screen at VET, Helsinki, Thursday 6 November 1997.
Elton John: Something About the Way You Look Tonight *
Jon Bon Jovi: Queen of New Orleans *
Chumbawamba: Tubthumping ***
Boyz II Men: 4 Seasons Of Loneliness **
Mariah Carey: Honey *
All Saints: I Know Where It’s At ***
Genesis: Congo **
En Vogue: Too Gone, Too Long *
Jam & Spoon Featuring Plavka: Kaleidoscope Skies ***
Diana King: I Say A Little Prayer *

German Natdisc Playlist for 19.77.10

100440 / G / DE etc. / 1997 / various / / music video

German Natdisc Playlist for 19.77.10 / Musiikkikooste 19-77-10. Compiled by Pioneer Video Manufacturing. DIST: Ulkokaupat Oy. Laserdisc. Viewed on big screen at VET, Helsinki, Thursday 6 November 1997.
Down Low: Moonlight *
Bandits: Catch Me *
Blacknuss: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life *
Caught In The Act: Babe *
C-Block: Summertime *
Plastic Voice: Los niños del parque ***
Bell Book & Candle: Rescue Me **
Object One: Typewriter ***
‘N Sync: For The Girl Who Has Everything *
Bed & Breakfast: All I Wanna Do *

Otto e mezzo

066600 / G / IT / 1963 / Fellini, Federico / dreamfilm

Otto e mezzo / 8½. PC: Cineriz. A Titanus release. P: Angelo Rizzoli. D: Federico Fellini. SC: FF, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi. DP: Gianni Di Venanzo. M: Nino Rota. CAST: Marcello Mastroianni (Guido Anselmi), Anouk Aimée (Luisa Anselmi), Sandra Milo (Carla), Claudia Cardinale (Claudia). 138’. 1,85 b&w. Swedish subtitles by Stig Almqvist. Worn print from Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet. In Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Thursday 6 November 1997. **** Still an elusive experience. Having seen it three times on the small box (horrors for a Fellini) I now saw it for the first time on the big screen. A musical dream-film, fascinating, but too indulgent, too narcissistic. This is the turning-point in FF’s films where all other characters become just visions of the mind. There is no depth in them anymore. There is only the first person, the dreamer. The film now to be seen three times more on the big screen. To study the music of light. It is a huge launching pad for a film under construction.

Wednesday, November 05, 1997

Slaves To the Underground

100438 / 14 / US / 1996 / Peterson, Kristine / drama

Slaves To the Underground / Slaves To the Underground. PC: Overseas Filmgroup. D: Kristine Peterson. SC: Bill Cody. CAST: Molly Gross, Marisa Ryan, Jason Bortz. 93’. 1,85. MPAA 34998. DIST: Soma Distribution. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 5 November 1997. US indie drama on Seattle twentysomething subcultures: a riot girl band called The No Exits, and a publisher of ”zines”. There is a bisexual triangle drama. The characters are boring and no visual style is in evidence.

Tuesday, November 04, 1997

Gentleman’s Agreement

028979 / G / US / 1947 / Kazan, Elia / / drama

Gentleman’s Agreement / Hiljainen sopimus. PC: 20th Century-Fox. P: Darryl F. Zanuck. D: Elia Kazan. SC: Moss Hart - based on the novel by Laura Z. Hobson (1946). CAST: Gregory Peck, Dean Stockwell, Anne Revere, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Sam Jaffe, June Havoc. 118’. B&w. MPAA Production Code Seal of Approval 12488. A worn 16mm print from Rosebud (Spain). Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 4 November 1997. *** Intelligent, dialogue-based thesis film with a great cast of a dozen interesting characters. No visual flair and no cinematic dynamism (further injustice in this department due to the flat 16mm print). Gregory Peck is the crusading, investigative reporter who takes a special project called ”I Was Jewish For Six Months”. The experience is surprising. He gets to experience discrimination immediately, his fiancée becomes estranged, and even his little son gets beaten as ”a dirty kike”. And this is New York.

Monday, November 03, 1997

The Devil’s Advocate

100435 / 16 / US / 1997 / Hackford, Taylor / fantasy thriller

Devil’s Advocate, The / Paholaisen asianajaja. PC: Warner Bros.; Monarch; Regency. P: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson, Arnon Milchan. D: Taylor Hackford. SC: Jonathan Lemkin, Tony Gilroy - based on the novel by Andrew Neiderman. CAST: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Connie Nielsen. 144’. Scope. Finnish subtitles by Jari Niittylä. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Monday 3 November 1997. *** Faust modernization starts promisingly with brilliant satire, excellent dialogue, and sharp performances. Towards the end, however, it grows overblown, when one twist after another renders everything previously established meaningless. It is a stupefying waste of talent. The special effects may be state of the art, but I would have left them all on the cutting room floor, pruning the film to a 90 minute masterpiece, trying to get rid of the misogyny in the process.

Sunday, November 02, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 1

/ / FI / 1997 / Bagh, Peter von, etc. / TV documentary

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 1 - Syvä iskumme on, viha voittamaton. 1917 - 1929. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh, Elina Katainen, Iikka Vehkalahti. 60’. PAL TV transmission by Yleisradio TV1, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 2 November 1997. First part of the 80th Anniversary TV documentary series by the well-known team. They have unearthed exciting unknown / forgotten footage, and many of the interviews are invaluable: it has still been possible to talk with living witnesses to the fight for the independence in 1917. Then again, the result is sloppier than their best work. And I resent vintage footage being reduced to ridiculous jerkiness with wrong speed and the silent frame being cropped mercilessly by the sound aperture. Too much haste this time.

Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo si io mi ricordo

/ / IT / 1997 / Mastroianni, Marcello / documentary

Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo si io mi ricordo / Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember Yes I Remember. PC: Mikado; Istituto Luce; Cinecitta; RAI; Telepiu. D: Anna Maria Tato. DP: Giuseppe Rotunno. Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni. 95’. Viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 2 November 1997. **** Mastroianni caught in a filmed interview in Portugal shortly before his death in 1996. This is the cinema version of a four-hour TV production. It is a wise, humorous memoir of the self-deprecating star who insists that life has been good and easy for him. The modest man of the people keeps quoting Proust, Kafka, and Chekhov. His own insights are worthy of theirs.

Saturday, November 01, 1997

Larmar och gör sig till

/ / SE / 1997 / Bergman, Ingmar / TV drama

Larmar och gör sig till. PC: Sveriges Television. P: Måns Reutersward, Pia Chronwall. D+SC: Ingmar Bergman. M: Franz Schubert - performed by Käbi Laretei. CAST: Börje Ahlstedt, Marie Richardson, Erland Josephson, Pernilla August, Anita Björk, Peter Stormare. 120’. TV PAL transmission by TV4 Finland / Sveriges Television, viewed in Helsinki, Saturday, 1 November 1997. Minimalistic, intimate TV drama. The title is from Macbeth: ”Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. ”En skugga blott, en saga berättad av en dåre, låter stort, betyder intet”. ”Walking shadows” is a perfect image for the cinema, especially for the silent one, and here IB tells the imagined story of his crazy uncle, who wanted to mount ”talking pictures” in 1925. The uncle’s film is about the death of Schubert, and is meant to be lipsynched by actors behind the screen. Everything goes awry. It is the story of a loser, a companion piece to Det sista skriket (The Last Shriek). It is also worth comparing with Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. IB and TB share the conviction that the step from a genius to a loser is a small one.