Saturday, October 25, 2008


Sauna / Sauna. FI © 2008 Bronson Club. P: Tero Kaukomaa, Jesse Fryckman. D: AJ Annila. SC: Iiro Küttner. DP: Henri Blomberg – shot on 35 mm Fuji – digital intermediate DFF – released both in digital and in 35 mm. AD: Vladimir Bedrich Dvorak, Antti Nikkinen, Ville Vauras. COST: Anna Vilppunen. M: Panu Aaltio. Sound design: Panu Riikonen, Vesa Meriläinen. ED: Joona Louhivuori.
    Cast: Ville Virtanen (Eerik), Tommi Eronen (Knut), Viktor Klimenko (Semenski), Sonja Petäjäjärvi (boy), Kari Ketonen (Musko), Kati Outinen (old woman), Rain Tolk (Rogosin), Vilhelmiina Virkkunen (good girl) / Maija Nurmio (bad girl), Ismo Kallio (village elder), Taisto Reimaluoto (father), Ivo Kubecka (monk), Dick Idman (Roukkula).
    In Finnish and Russian with Finnish subtitles, written information in Finnish only (no Swedish), 85 min. Distributed in Finland by Sandrew.
    A 35 mm film projection viewed at Tennispalatsi 14, Helsinki, 24 Oct 2008.

A film of original visionary power. The music and the soundscape are interesting. The performances are powerful.

A Gothic fantasy set in real history, in the horrific 16th century. Sweden and Finland have entered into the Treaty of Tyavzino (Teusina / Täyssinä) after 25 years of war. This has been the century of Ivan the Terrible in Russia, and the Reformation in Sweden. After the death of Gustaf Wasa his sons have succumbed to an era of violent chaos, depicted in the cinema in Mauritz Stiller's Herr Arnes pengar.

The story takes place in 1595 in Kiertämäjoki. As Sweden (to which Finland belongs) and Russia draw the new Teusina border they cross a horrible swamp and find a gruesome dark building which is called a sauna but which may be the doorway to hell.

There are affinities with Tarkovsky and Hideo Nakata in this story.

Among the interesting visual items: the faces of the old people, the old compass and other old objects. The fascination with the water, the river, the snow, and the blood. – The script is the weakness of the film. – Homepage:

The digital projection is reportedly better. The film is visually ambitious and consistent, and it has been tuned into a gray-cold colour scale. The digital intermediate look is obvious but not annoying.

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