Wednesday, December 31, 1997

1997

Checklist: some of the films I saw theatrically in 1997 - Orion

16.12.1997 21.15 Revoljutshioner (Bauer), Orion
16.12.1997 19.00 Raskolnikov (Wiene), Orion
16.12.1997 16.30 L'Inhumaine (L'Herbier), Orion
2.12.1997 19.00 Poikien pesula, Orion

26.11.1997 17.00 Kasvot väkijoukossa, Orion
25.11.1997 21.00 Nukkevaimo, Orion
18.11.1997 21.00 Viva Zapata!, Orion
12.11.1997 18.45 Täältä tullaan, elämä, Orion
12.11.2997 16.30 Viettelyksen vaunu, Orion
4.11.1997 18.45 Hiljainen sopimus, Orion
2.11.1997 16.00 Marcello Mastroianni, Orion
XX.XX.1997 Orion

26.10.1997 18.00 Les Travailleurs de la mer (Antoine), Orion
7.10.1997 17.00 The Last of Dolwyn, Orion
2.10.1997 19.00 Pépé le Moko, Orion
2.10.1997 17.00 Rakastajatar, Orion

28.9.1997 18.15 Germinal (Capellani), Orion
23.9.1997 17.00 Tulipunainen kirjain (Sjöström), Orion
18.9.1997 19.00 Pako pohjoiseen, Orion
18.9.1997 17.00 Poljettu tähti, Orion
17.9.1997 19.00 Nuoruus sumussa, Orion
17.9.1997 17.00 Onnen kiertolaiset, Orion
16.9.1997 17.00 Kiihko, Orion
11.9.1997 18.30 Pietarin viimeiset päivät, Orion
10.9.1997 19.30 Nuoria ihmisiä, Orion
7.9.1997 17.30 Parrasvalot, Orion

27.8.1997 19.15 Elämän maantiellä, Orion
13.8.1997 21.00 Clerks - tiskirotat, Orion
13.8.1997 19.00 Veronika Vossin kaksoiselämä, Orion
XX.XX.1997 Orion

29.7.1997 19.00 Koskematon kauneus, Orion
24.7.1997 21.00 Syötti, Orion
24.7.1997 19.00 Kramer vastaan Kramer, Orion
23.7.1997 19.00 Elämäni koirana, Orion
22.7.1997 19.00 Shokkikäsittely, Orion
1.7.1997 19.00 Lähtö, Orion

4.5.1997 20.15 Suuri illuusio, Orion
3.5.1997 19.00 Atomic Café, Orion

29.4.1997 21.00 Slacker, Orion
27.4.1997 19.00 Kaos, Orion
24.4.1997 20.15 Maa järisee, Orion
23.4.1997 19.00 Mu qin san she shu, Orion
23.4.1997 17.00 Kahden tanssin välillä, Orion
22.4.1997 18.45 Jie tou xiang dei, Orion
17.4.1997 19.00 Hongkongilaista lyhytelokuvaa, Orion
16.4.1997 21.00 Ei kahta ilman kolmatta, Orion
16.4.1997 19.00 Qin shao nian nuo, Orion
15.4.1997 21.00 I she i jia, Orion
15.4.1997 19.30 Myrkky, Orion
15.4.1997 17.00 Si Paris était conté, Orion
11.4.1997 21.00 Long men ge zhan, Orion
10.4.1997 19.00 Qiou jue, Orion
9.4.1997 21.00 Wue li hung, Orion
9.4.1997 19.45 Tie shan gong zhu, Orion
8.4.1997 17.00 Kruunun helmet, Orion
5.4.1997 21.00 Miehitetty kaupunki, Orion
5.4.1997 19.00 Faisons un rêve, Orion

31.3.1997 18.15 Hamsa Geethe, Orion
29.3.1997 17.00 Sindhu bhatravi, Orion
26.3.1997 21.00 Pilvien takana, Orion
26.3.1997 18.45 Naisen tunnistaminen, Orion
25.3.1997 20.30 Hamsa Geethe, Orion
25.3.1997 19.00 Matti Manushulu, Orion
25.3.1997 16.30 Oberwaldin salaisuus, Orion
20.3.1997 16.30 Moondram Pirate, Orion
19.3.1997 20.45 Shankarabharanam, Orion
19.3.1997 19.00 Marattam, Orion
18.3.1997 19.00 Kiina, Orion
18.3.1997 17.00 Zabriskie Point, Orion
13.3.1997 21.00 Swarna kamalam, Orion
13.3.1997 18.45 Anantaram, Orion
12.3.1997 18.45 Piravi, Orion
11.3.1997 21.00 Blow-Up, Orion
11.3.1997 18.45 Punainen erämaa, Orion
7.3.1997 19.15 Antonionin lyhytelokuvia, Orion
5.3.1997 21.00 Kuumetta, Orion
5.3.1997 18.45 Yö, Orion
4.3.1997 19.00 Antonionin lyhytelokuvia, Orion
4.3.1997 16.30 Seikkailu, Orion

27.2.1997 21.00 Kaipuun punainen hetki, Orion
27.2.1997 16.45 Pikku ystävättäriä, Orion
26.2.1997 19.00 Nainen vailla sielua, Orion
25.2.1997 19.00 I vinti, Orion
25.2.1997 17.00 Erään rakkauden tarina, Orion
15.2.1997 17.00 Kaksoiskotka, Orion

25.1.1997 19.00 Kohtalon isku, Orion
25.1.1997 21.00 Varjojen vanki, Orion
24.1.1997 21.00 For Them That Trespass, Orion
20.1.1997 21.00 Mahtavat Ambersonit, Orion

Shooting Fish

100509 / G / GB / 1997 / Schwartz, Stefan / comedy

Shooting Fish / Huijareita kuten me. PC: Gruber Brothers. P: Richard Holmes, Glynis Murray. D: Stefan Schwartz. SC: Stefan Schwartz, Richard Holmes. Music selections include performances by Space, Strangelove, and The Supernaturals, and Burt Bacharach tunes like ”Do You Know The Way To San Jose”. CAST: Dan Futterman (Dylan), Stuart Townsend (Jez), Kate Beckinsale (Georgie). 113’, 109’. Scope. BBFC: 12. DIST: Cinema Mondo. Viewed in Helsinki, Tuesday 30 December 1997. *** Two con artists meet a medical student who becomes their secretary in their outlandish schemes. Pleasant yarn with funny inventions and weak morals. Excellent soundtrack.

Tuesday, December 30, 1997

The Jackal

100507 / 16 / US / 1997 / Caton-Jones, Michael / thriller

Jackal, The / Sakaali. PC: Universal. D: Michael Caton-Jones. SC: Chuck Pfarrer - based on the screenplay The Day of the Jackal (1973) based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth. M: Carter Burwell. Title music: Massive Attack. CAST: Bruce Willis (The Jackal), Richard Gere (Declan Mulqueen), Sidney Poitier (Cater Preston), Diane Venora (Valentina Koslova). 124’. Scope. MPAA 35563. Rated R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Outi Kainulainen / Ditte Kronström. DIST: UIP Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, Monday 29 December 1997. *** Without reaching the standards of the 1973 classic, this film offers pleasures of its own. Bruce Willis as a man of many disguises is excellent, better than Val Kilmer as The Saint.

Sunday, December 28, 1997

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

I-008197 / G / US / 1965 - 1977 / Disney, Walt / / animation

Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The / Nalle Puh (video) / Nalle Puhin seikkailuja (TV). PC: Walt Disney Productions. A compilation of three Winnie the Pooh episodes linked with special animated material on the concept of the ”living book”. Based on the original stories by A.A. Milne and the original illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. The first video release of this compilation in Finland in 1997 by Buena Vista Home Video. Finnish dialogue and songs by Pekka Lehtosaari. Total length 71’ VHS PAL /25 fps/. Plus Making Of bonus track. Viewed in Pirkkala, Saturday 27 December 1997. ****
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree / Nalle Puh ja hunajapuu. 1965. D: Wolfgang Reitherman. 074566
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day / Nalle Puh ja tuulinen päivä. 1968. D: Wolfgang Reitherman. 077773
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too / Nalle Puh ja Tiikeri kans! 1974. D: John Lounsbery. 086028
This film has been labeled a Disney Classic, one of the 35 official classic animated Disney features. As such, it has been the most elusive of them in Finland. The original episodes were promptly released in Finnish cinemas, but this 1977 feature edition first surfaced on television in 1993. Seeing it for the first time now I was amazed at the concept which was so faithful to the Milne / Shepard originals. The relaxed tempo and the gentleness of spirit are in contrast to the hectic rhythm of the regular animated series of the era. The first two episodes belong to the last projects personally supervised by Disney, and of The Blustery Day he won his last (posthumous) Oscar. It has a dream sequence worthy of Dumbo. During the years from The Jungle Book (1967) to Beauty and the Beast (1991) this was probably the greatest Disney animated feature. It probably was the last with Walt’s spirit in it.

Härmästä poikia kymmenen

A-003314 / 12 / FI / 1950 / Unho, Ilmari / / drama

Härmästä poikia kymmenen / Österbottniskt blod / The Blood of Pohjanmaa / Ten Bad Men. PC: Suomi-Filmi. P: Risto Orko. D: Ilmari Unho. SC: Artturi Leinonen. DP: Eino Heino. M: Ahti Sonninen based on popular ballads ”Isoo Antti ja Rannanjärvi”, ”Ei ole leskeä ollenkaan”, ”Enkä minä hurjan luontoni tähren”, ”Anssin Jukka”, ”Härmästä poikia kymmenen”, ”Hurja min oon ollu”, and hymns, ”Minä vaivainen oon mato matkamies maan”, etc. Location: Ylihärmä. CAST: Tauno Palo (Isoo Antti = Antti Koivula), Yrjö Kantoniemi (Iisakki Nukari = Rannanjärvi), Kalervo Nissilä (Anssin Jukka), Kalle Kirjavainen (Kauhavan ruma vallesmanni = the ugly sheriff from Kauhava), Jussi Oksa (Pouttula, lautamies = juror), Hilkka Helinä (Katri Pouttula), Kauko Helovirta (Janne Koivula). B&w Academy. 86’ according to sources. A Suomi-Filmi PAL VHS release, lent from Helsinki City Library. 79’ /25 fps/ = 83’ /24 fps/. Viewed in Pirkkala, Saturday 27 December 1997. **** One of the best Finnish films. Taut storytelling, excellent cinematography, inspired performances, fine screenplay and dialogue in perfect blend with a score crammed with first rate adaptations of popular ballads about the notorious knifeslingers (puukkojunkkarit) in the great plains of the province of Pohjanmaa, the Texas of Finland. This film is Red River meets The Wild One in the 1860s, when Finland lived under Russian rule. The son must confront his outlaw father who is turning to a monster. The Finnish sheriff risks his life trying to tame his wild compatriots alone because he would never summon the Cossacks. The badmen (häjyt) speed their carts recklessly on the highways. They are not out for material gain, but just to raise hell and infuriate the deeply religious people of the plains. Among their offenses: spoiling the well with sour milk! In this film about the violence of men, women stay stoically in the background. The six professional lead actors were helped by over 30 laymen from Pohjanmaa. Among them, I spot a relative, Väinö Alanen, as the first landholder confronting the outlaws on the bridge.

Saturday, December 27, 1997

Le Mépris

068575 / 16 / FR / IT / 1963 / Godard, Jean-Luc / drama

Mépris, Le / Keskipäivän aave / Sen täytyi tapahtua. PC: Rome-Paris Films; Films Concordia; Compagnia Cinematografica Champion. P: Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti. D+SC: Jean-Luc Godard - based on the novel Il disprezzo by Alberto Moravia. DP: Raoul Coutard. M: Georges Delerue. CAST: Brigitte Bardot (Camille Javal), Michel Piccoli (Paul Javal), Jack Palance (Jeremy Prokosh), Fritz Lang (Fritz Lang), Giorgia Moll (Francesca Vanini). Franscope, Technicolor. Versions: 84’, 100’, 103’. Re-released in Finland in the restored version in 1997. Not re-examined: if it had been, it would have rated G. The screening I saw took 98’33”. Finnish / Swedish subtitles Pekka Lanerva / Johan Förnäs. DIST: Cinema Mondo. Viewed in Helsinki in the premiere screening in Kino Engel 2 on Friday, 26 December 1997. **** Brilliant colour restored to vintage Godard. Le Mépris was his rare outing with big producers, and he had savage fun with them in this metafilm. Godard and Warhol were the first postmodern film directors. Now this film does not look strange anymore. The music is sumptuous.

Friday, December 26, 1997

King Creole

049763 / 16 / US / 1958 / Curtiz, Michael / / rock / crime

King Creole / King Creole / Kitara kainalossa / King Creole - kitara kainalossa. PC: © Hal B. Wallis and Joseph K. Gazzo. A Paramount Picture. P: Hal B. Wallis. D: Michael Curtiz. SC: Herbert Baker, Michael V. Gazzo - based on the novel A Stone For Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins. DP: Russell Harlan. M: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller. ”Lover Doll”, ”Trouble”,”Young Dreams”, ”Hard Headed Woman”, ”King Creole”, ”Don’t Ask Me Why”. CAST: Elvis Presley (Danny Fisher), Carolyn Jones (Ronnie), Walter Matthau (Maxie Fields), Dolores Hart (Nellie), Paul Stewart (Charlie Le Grand), Vic Morrow (Shark), Dean Jagger (Mr. Fisher - the Father). 111’ /25 fps/ = 116’ /24 fps/. B&w VistaVision. A Finnish release by Barium Video in 1983, lent from Helsinki City Library. Finnish subtitles. Cropped to Academy. Poor definition, soundtrack slightly damaged. Viewed in Helsinki on VHS PAL on Thursday 25 December 1997. **** Pop culture endures the video transfer much better than Fritz Lang. Whereas Scarlet Street is caricature, this is a comic strip, and a very good one. Elvis Presley performs strongly in his one note characterization as the singer / delinquent. The dialogue is excellent, and the whole cast seems to relish this New Orleans crime melodrama. Astounding accomplishment from that old Hungarian.

Thursday, December 25, 1997

Scarlet Street

026475 / 16 / US / 1945 / Lang, Fritz / / thriller

Scarlet Street / Punainen katu. PC: Universal Pictures. P: Walter Wanger. D: Fritz Lang. SC: Dudley Nichols - based on the novel and play La Chienne by Georges de La Fouchardière. DP: Milton Krasner. CAST: Edward G. Robinson (Chris Cross), Joan Bennett (Kitty), Dan Duryea (Johnny). 102’. B&w Academy. A JEF Films / Aikman Archive video release of 1993, in Finland by Castle Communications 1994; lent from Helsinki City Library. Finnish subtitles. Viewed in Helsinki on VHS PAL on Wednesday 24 December 1997. *** This one does not endure the video transfer. The black circle of fate of the murderous caricature seems pale on the small box. The best sequence: Dan Duryea is taken to the electric chair while Edward G. Robinson hears from the journalist in the subway that nobody can escape punishment. Joan Bennett is totally believable and realistic but should be bigger than life to make this work. Lang would have needed Dietrich. Renoir’s La Chienne with Michel Simon is the better film adaptation.

Little Women (1933)

018720 / G / US / 1933 / Cukor, George / / drama

Little Women / Pikku naisia. PC: RKO Radio Pictures. EX: David O. Selznick. P: Kenneth MacGowan. D: George Cukor. SC: Sarah Y. Mason, Victor Heerman - based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. M: Max Steiner. CAST: Katharine Hepburn (Jo), Joan Bennett (Amy), Jean Parker (Beth), Frances Dee (Meg). B&w Academy. 111’ /25 fps/ = 116’ /24 fps/. Yleisradio TV2 PAL transmission on 22 December 1997. Finnish subtitles by Annu James. Viewed in Helsinki on VHS on Wednesday 24 December 1997. *** Although this is generally considered the best of the four film adaptations of the novel, I actually prefer the latest one with Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, and Susan Sarandon.

Tuesday, December 23, 1997

Benjamín Dúva

100504 / 10 / IS / 1995 / Erlingsson, Gísli Snaer / drama

Benjamín Dúva / Ritari Benjamin Kyyhkynen. PC: Baldur Film; Icelandic Film Corp.; Neue Deutsche Filmgesellschaft; Migma Film. D: Gísli Snaer Erlingsson. CAST: Sturla Sighvatsson, Gunnar Atli Cauthery, Sigfús Sturluson. 90’. 1,85. Finnish / Swedish subtitles: Janne Staffans. DIST: Walhalla. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Monday 22 December 1997. *** Intelligent, well-made drama for young viewers. It’s about 10-12 year old boys who establish orders of knighhood. For fun, yes, but it gets deadly serious, too.

Monday, December 22, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 7

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

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 7 - Jänöjussin mäenlasku. [Ca 1970 - 1988]. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh. 60’. PAL TV transmission, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 21 December 1997. Interestingly, the visual material gets shabbier as we approach the present.

Saturday, December 20, 1997

Titanic

100501 / 12 / US / 1997 / Cameron, James / catastrophe

Titanic / Titanic. PC: Paramount, 20th Century Fox. D+SC: James Cameron. ”Nearer My God To Thee”. CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack Dawson), Kate Winslet (young Rose DeWitt Bukater), Gloria Stuart (old Rose DeWitt Bukater), Kathy Bates (Molly Brown). Scope, 194’. MPAA 35593. PG-13. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Friday 19 December 1997. **** I had become bored with megabudgeted catastrophe spectacles, but Titanic is really in a class of its own, ahead of the Twisters and the Jurassic Parks. This is also Cameron’s best film together with the first Terminator. He knows all about effects now, does not have to flaunt them anymore, can concentrate on the simple human story. It’s about life over machine, as in the Terminators. The culminating image is that of DiCaprio and Winslet grabbing the bow of Titanic as it is finally sinking vertically to the ocean. It is a mind-boggling sight. It is then about survival instinct, and also about true heroism. DiCaprio helps Winslet on a floating door before slowly freezing to death. A Night To Remember (GB 1958) was also a magnificent interpretation of the Titanic story, concentrating on the viewpoint of those running the ship. These two films complement each other perfectly. I predict before having heard of any box office results that this film will be the greatest success in the history of the cinema.

Friday, December 19, 1997

Un air de famille

100498 / G / FR / 1996 / Klapisch, Cédric / drama

Air de famille, Un / Suku on pahin. PC: Telema, Le Studio Canal+, France 2 Cinéma. D: Cédric Klapisch. ”Una furtiva lagrima” performed by Caruso. CAST: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Darroussin. Scope. 109’. Finnish / Swedish subtitles. DIST: Kamras Filmgroup. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Thursday 18 December 1997. *** ”Suis-moi, je te fuis. Fuis-moi, je te suis”. A neurotic chamber piece taking place in a small restaurant after hours, where a birthday is being celebrated. Impeccably performed.

Thursday, December 18, 1997

Mad City

100495 / 12 / US / 1997 / Costa-Gavras / / drama

Mad City / Yksinoikeudella. PC: Warner Bros. P: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson. D: Costa-Gavras. SC: Tom Matthews. CAST: John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Mia Kirshner, Alan Alda, Blythe Danner. 114’. Scope. MPAA 35278. PG-13. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Wednesday 17 December 1997. *** Viewed at VET after Money Talks, both sharing the premise of mortal danger being exploited as a media attraction. This is a serious contribution in the reliable Costa-Gavras tradition of social issues. The grandfather of all the media films of this type was Billy Wilder’s The Big Carnival (1951). However, Dog Day Afternoon (1975) is the closest prototype to Mad City. It’s a well-known formula, but still a good and valid one, and the screenplay has a lot of wit and good dialogue. Costa-Gavras, then, is to be blamed for the fact that the film is not brilliant but only good enough in spite of the first-rate cast and crew

Money Talks

100494 / 16 / US / 1997 / Ratner, Brett / / action

Money Talks / Rahalla saa. PC: New Line Film Productions. D: Brett Ratner. SC: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow. CAST: Chris Tucker, Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear, Paul Sorvino. 95’. Scope. MPAA 34762. Rated R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed at VET, Helsinki, Wednesday 17 December 1997. *** Action comedy mostly in furioso. Motormouth Chris Tucker is a small-time crook who happens to land in the middle of big intrigue. Slick TV newsman Charlie Sheen gets involved and tries to milk every drop of ”his” exclusive story. They are forced to team up against fearsome adversity. Yarn is full of jaw-dropping action spectacle.

Wednesday, December 17, 1997

Revoljutsioner

/ / RU / 1917 / Bauer, Jevgeni / / drama

Revoljutsioner / (((((((((((( / The Revolutionary. PC: A. Hanzhonkov & Co. D: Jevgeni Bauer. SC: Ivan Perestiani. DP: Boris Zavelev. CAST: Ivan Perestiani (Grandfather - the Revolutionary), Vladimir Strizhevski (Son), Zoja Barantsevitsh (Daughter). Silent b&w, premiered 3 April 1917. Gosfilmofond 1989 restoration from an incomplete, defective original, with the first reel of four missing /18 fps/ 35’. Finnish translation spoken by Riitta Tyventö. Viewed at SEA, Helsinki, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 16 December 1997. ** A drama turned quickly after the March 1917 overthrow of the Romanov dynasty. Several of these liberal revolutionary films were shown in Finland, but this one was now seen for the first time in Helsinki, although similar Hanzhonkov and Drankov films were released at the time. It is a series of liberal-patriotic vignettes, transfigured by the masterful photography of Boris Zavelev (well-known from After Death, Zvenigora, etc.). There are traces of nitrate decomposition from the original. It is odd to face the slogan ”The proletariat has no fatherland” in a film like this. It is the son who utters this shameful sentence, only to reconcile with his father in the final scene, where they join the army train to the front.

Raskolnikow

012128 / (banned 1923) / DE / 1923 / Wiene, Robert / / drama

Raskolnikow. PC: Neumann Film-Produktion. P+D: Robert Wiene. Based on the novel Crime and Punishment by F.M. Dostojevski. DP: Willy Goldberger. AD: Andre Andrejew. CAST: Grigori Hmara (Raskolnikov), Maria Kryjanovskaja (Sonia), Mihail Tarhanov (Marmeladov). Silent b&w. Restored version by the Netherlands Film Museum with contributions from Gosfilmofond. Munich print 3031 m /18 fps/ 147’. Fine Finnish translation spoken by Laura Mehto. Presented by Kristin Thompson. Viewed at SEA, Helsinki, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 16 December 1997. *** The film, banned by the Finnish Film Chamber in 1923, was now seen for the first time in Finland. Part of the Russian fashion of the era, this one was actually filmed with actors from Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theatre. Full of soul but horribly overacted. One is struck by the difference with the subtle understatement of Jevgeni Bauer’s 1917 films. Still, this is faithful to Dostoyevsky: it has the passion for the suffering of humanity. The actual text of the novel is judiciously used in the titles, which take full advantage of the author’s grim sense of humour. The words sound good in German. ”Nach langem, schwerem Fieber…”. The Russian art director is totally under the influence of Caligari. This is one of the very few purely Caligarian films.

L’Inhumaine

088474 / 08 / FR / 1924 / L’Herbier, Marcel / drama

Inhumaine, L’. PC: Cinégraphic. D: Marcel L’Herbier. SC: Marcel L’Herbier, Pierre Mac Orlan. DP: Georges Specht. PD: Fernand Léger, Cavalcanti, Claude Autant-Lara, Robert Mallet-Stevens. CAST: Georgette Leblanc (Claire Lescot - ”The Inhuman”), Jaque Catelain (Einar Norsen), Philippe Hériat (Maharadja). Silent b&w designed to be screened tinted and with live music accompaniment composed by Darius Milhaud. CNC Bois d’Arcy untinted print reduced to Academy format. 3631 m /22-24 fps/ 135’. Finnish translation read by Leena Talvio. Viewed at SEA, Helsinki, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 16 December 1997. *** A classic of production design, the Frenchmen’s riposte to German expressionism, and an obvious influence to Metropolis and Marienbad. Excellent montage sequences. Too bad that all the characters are indifferent.

Monday, December 15, 1997

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 6

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

Oi kallis Suomenmaa 6 - Lumi teki enkelin eteiseen. 1964 - 197-. PC: Nosferatu; Yleisradio TV1. Concept and direction by Peter von Bagh, Elina Katainen, Iikka Vehkalahti. 60’. PAL TV transmission, viewed in Helsinki, Sunday 14 December 1997.

Sunday, December 14, 1997

Pardners

045501 / 12 / US / 1956 / Lewis, Jerry / / comedy

Pardners / Peloton sheriffi. PC: York Pictures. A Paramount release. D: Norman Taurog. Based on the film Rhythm on the Range (1936). Songs by Sammy Cahn, James Van Heusen. CAST: Jerry Lewis (Wade Kingsley), Dean Martin (Slim Mosely). 88’. Technicolor, VistaVision. PAL transmission cropped to Academy. Below average colour definition. Yleisradio TV2 on Saturday, 13 December 1997. *** Absurd comedy Western wears well today. It’s a Jerry Lewis showcase as a mama’s boy who has to transform into a rodeo star, a cowboy, and a sheriff. His pantomimes are masterful. On the small box it is hard to appreciate them properly, since they are often in medium or general shot.

Sunday, December 07, 1997

Charley Varrick

081990 / 16 cut / US / 1973 / Siegel, Don / / thriller

Charley Varrick / Tappakaa Charley Varrick! PC: Universal. EX: Jennings Lang. P+D: Don Siegel. SC: Howard Rodman, Dean Riesner - based on the novel by John Reese. DP: Michael Butler. M: Lalo Schifrin. CAST: Walter Matthau (Charley Varrick), Jacqueline Scott (Nadine Varrick), Andrew Robinson (Harman Sullivan), Felicia Farr (Sybil Fort), Sheree North (Jewell Everett), John Vernon (Maynard Boyle), Joe Don Baker (Molly). PAL TV transmission 5 December 1997 MTV3: 106’13” /25 fps/ = 110’39” /24 fps/. Cut: the scene where Molly tortures and slaughters Harman Sullivan (same scene was cut in the Finnish cinema release version). Cropped from 2,35 Panavision to 1,35 Academy. Finnish subtitles by Sirpa Glantz. Viewed on video Saturday, 6 December 1997. ***½ The screenplay is excellent. The dynamics between the bucolic scenes and the crisp bursts of action is perfect. They don’t make action films like this anymore. Almost everything in the 1990s is nervous and hysterical with the exception of Clint Eastwood who has not changed since his apprenticeship with… Don Siegel. Here the total sense of control is to be relished. Small things stand out. ”Nadine was a hell of a driver”. ”I never thought I’d be willing to trade places with a cow”. The complaint: Siegel’s customary nihilism. All betray. Trust nobody. So then: why care?

Friday, December 05, 1997

G.I. Jane

100481 / 16 / US / 1997 / Scott, Ridley / / action

G.I. Jane / Sotilas Jane. PC: Trap-Two-Zero Productions; Hollywood Pictures. D: Ridley Scott. CAST: Demi Moore (Lt. Jordan O’Neil), Viggo Mortensen (Master Chief John Urgayle), Anne Bancroft (Senator Lillian DeHaven). Scope. 126’. MPAA 35019. Rated R = 17. BBFC: 15. Finnish/Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri. DIST: Finnkino. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday 4 December 1997. *** A woman’s fight for equal opportunities carried to psychopathic lengths as Demi Moore insists against all odds on getting an elite Navy SEAL training. The story may be crucial in the bizarre context of the war of the sexes in the US, but from a Nordic perspective it does not carry at all. Fascinating stuff for a psychiatrist, though. The motto is from D.H. Lawrence’s ”Self-pity”: ”I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself / A bird will fall frozen down without ever having felt sorry for itself”.

Pippi Långstrump (1997)

100480 / G / SE / 1997 / Lindgren, Astrid / animated

Pippi Långstrump / Pippi Longstocking / Peppi Pitkätossu. PC: Svensk Filmindustri; Iduna; TFC; Nelvana. P: Waldemar Bergendahl. D: Clive Smith. SC: Catharina Stackelberg - based on the novels by Astrid Lindgren. 78’. 1,35/1,66. Finnish spoken version by Esa Kauppila. DIST: Forum Film. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday 4 December 1997. *** Having seen the preview I was fearing a poor man’s Disney but was gladly surprised. The visuals are competitive. Best of all, the spirit is right. This is true Astrid Lindgren. Many excellent films have been made from her novels: the live action Longstocking series, the Children of the Isles, the Bullerby series. There is something unique and distinctive about Pippi which the filmmakers have captured. It is her special winning spirit against adversity and her stunning friendliness against her very worst enemies. It completely differs from the Americans. The feeling of amazement is there. I hope they’ll continue this series. What I missed was the great theme music from the 1960s series. The Finnish dialogue was as affected and awful as in all other contemporary animated films. Why do they keep imitating second rate acting styles of two generations ago?

Thursday, December 04, 1997

U Turn

100478 / 16 / US / 1997 / Stone, Oliver / / thriller

U Turn / U-käännös helvettiin. PC: Phoenix Pictures. A TriStar Pictures release. D: Oliver Stone. SC: John Ridley - based on his novel. DP: Robert Richardson. M: Ennio Morricone. CAST: Sean Penn (Bobby Cooper), Jennifer Lopez (Grace McKenna), Nick Nolte (Jake McKenna). 125’. 1,85. MPAA 35464. Rated R = 17. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 3 December 1997. *** Hyperrealistic. High contrast. Offbeat. Hallucinated. Indulging in misleading cuts. Feverish. Uncontrolled. All characters are overblown. There is no normality in it. It impresses at first but gets slowly boring. Oliver Stone has been in fine form, never boring, and Nixon was a masterpiece. This one is an unwitting film noir parody. Might be best on video in 15’ doses.

Tuesday, December 02, 1997

My Beautiful Laundrette

094889 / 16 / GB / 1985 / Frears, Stephen / / drama

My Beautiful Laundrette / Poikien pesula / Rakas pesulani (TV). PC: Channel Four. P: Sarah Radclyffe, Tim Bevan. D: Stephen Frears. SC: Hanif Kureishi. CAST: Gordon Warnecke (Omar), Daniel Day-Lewis (Johnny), Saaed Jaffrey (Nasser). 97’. 1,66. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anna-Lisa Holmqvist. A somewhat soft Finnkino/SEA print. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 2 December 1997. *** (In a bizarre accident the film’s Finnish cinema premiere was delayed to September 1987. Two weeks later TV already transmitted it, killing it in theatres!) Forceful stuff from Frears’ strongest period. British realism at its best - examining the cultural clash between the Pakistani and the skinheads, facing the challenges of the Thatcher era. Visually unappetizing - is it because the print is unfocused or is it because it was made on 16mm for TV and not even supposed to look good on a big screen? This film has my favorite credits effect of all time: the lines stay on the screen and then whirl like in a laundromat drum. It is a simple and fascinating rhythm.

Tomorrow Never Dies

100476 / 14 hard cut / GB / 1997 / Spottiswoode, Roger / action

Tomorrow Never Dies / Huominen ei koskaan kuole. PC: Danjaq LLC; United Artists Corporation. P: Michael Wilson, Barbara Broccoli. D: Roger Spottiswoode. Based on the characters created by Ian Fleming. Title song performed by Sheryl Crow. CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Pryce. Scope. 121’. Soft cut BBFC 12. MPAA 35272. Rated PG-13. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Janne Staffans. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 2 December 1997. *** This screening introduced me to the world of the many different versions of the James Bond films. Of GoldenEye, there were at least three main versions. In Finnish cinemas, the hard cuts of the Bond films have been generally released. We rated this new one 16, too, although in its country of origin it was rated 12 - and the Brits generally are stricter with ratings. But they apparently toned down the violence quite a bit in their cut. / NB: A week later, The Finnish Film Appeal Board surrendered to the distributor’s appeal of 14. / This is escapism in the best professional style. They ought to beef up the villains and the women more. The new Bonds feed off the glory of the old ones but don’t create new aficionados.