Thursday, October 30, 2008

Apinan vuosi

Apans år / In the Year of the Ape. FI 1983. PC: Elokuvatuottajat Oy. P: Claes Olsson, Matti Penttilä. D: Janne Kuusi. SC: Harri Sirola, Janne Kuusi – based on the novel Abiturientti (1980) by Sirola. DP: Tahvo Hirvonen - colour - 1:1,66. AD: Erkki Saarainen. COST: Irmeli Toivanen. M: Pekka Rechardt. ED: Anne Lakanen. S: Mikael Sievers. CAST: Heikki Salomaa (Ile), Tiina Bergström (Suvi), Laura Heimo (Tanja), Rea Mauranen (Maria, the Finnish teacher), Elina Hurme (Sara, the girl in a leather jacket), Ilpo Kotanen (Klasu), Kari Väänänen (Rene), Heidi Krohn (Ile's mother), Aarre Karén (Ile's father), Marja-Leena Kouki (Suvi's mother), Esko Salminen (Suvi's father), Hanna Marttila (Suvi's friend), Ritva Sorvali (laughing woman), Markku Halme, Konsta Mäkelä, Ritva Rantasila (classmates), Kari Paukkunen (psychology teacher), Eero Tuomikoski (janitor), Jussi Parviainen, Tomi Salmela, Tapio Liinoja, Pekka Uotila, Seppo Luukkanen (Rene's henchmen), Timo Eränkö (De Sade), Paul Pentti (Marat), Aki Kaurismäki (Charlotte Corday), the Jack Helen Brut group. 94 min. A vintage print screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 Oct 2008. In the presence of Janne Kuusi hosted by Markku Varjola. - MV: the first Finnish surrealistic feature film. - JK: We were on terms with surrealism but tried to avoid aping. Initially planned as a tv movie it became a cinema film. We aimed at cinematic expression. There was in Finland a theatrical tradition and a literary tradition; we wanted to do cinema. The visual outlook is very distinctive. Heikki Salomaa got the lead role, soon to become well-known in the Lapinlahden Linnut team. The soundscape was also very ambitious. The film was the diploma work for Kuusi, Hirvonen, Lakanen, Sievers. - This is the story of the "abiturientti" (candidate for the matriculation examination, graduating senior, preparatory student, upper-secondary school leaver) who is at the threshold of becoming an "ylioppilas" (student, undergraduate, upper secondary school-leaver), qualified to apply for admission to a university. These are the months of transition to adulthood. - Janne Kuusi and Harri Sirola turned Sirola's novel around and created a surrealistic vision. Ile, the young man, wants to apply for admission to the medical faculty. The "ylioppilaskirjoitukset" (the student exam, the written examination for higher certificate) are under way, but there is also partying and meeting girls. Ile is aimless in his relationships. There is the lovely and playful Suvi (Tiina Bergström), there is the dark, hard-to-get Tanja (Laura Heimo), there is the strongly personal Sara, the girl in the leather jacket (Elina Hurme), and even the striking Maria, the Finnish teacher (Rea Mauranen). Maria's boyfriend is the violent Rene (Kari Väänänen), and through him there is a criminal gang element in the story. There is no clear line between dream and reality in the film, though. The "lakkiaisjuhla" (the private party of passing the student exam and getting the white student cap) is a big baroque banquet with scantily clad nymphs on horseback and a living Havis Amanda (the famous nude statue at Helsinki's Market Square, the Venus of Finland) (from the long shot it is difficult to see whether the live Havis Amanda is Tiina Bergström). The mounted nymphs take Ile with them and throw him to the basin at the statue Havis Amanda's fountain (the traditional place where students celebrate the First of May).

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