Saturday, May 16, 2009

Palkkasoturi / Soldier of Fortune

Legosoldaten. FI (c) 1997 Reppufilmi. P: Olli Vesala. D+SC: Anssi Mänttäri. DP: Heikki Katajisto - b&w - 1,66:1. M: Asko Mänttäri. "Valkean vallan aaveet" sung by Pentti Auer. ED: Mira Ranta. LOC: Restaurant KuuKuu (Museokatu 17, Helsinki). CAST: Ilkka Heiskanen (The Modest One), Martti Suosalo (The Ingenious One), Kari Heiskanen (Ylikoski, The Blonde), Turo Pajala (The Unemployed One), Jukka Voutilainen (The One With The Cravat), Monna Kamu (The Harsh-Voiced One), Tommi Rinne (The Dignified One), Jouni Takamäki (The One With The Crewcut), Ulla-Riikka Koskela (The Little Sister of The Modest One), Anssi Mänttäri (The Artist), Olli Vesala (Paatelainen, The Cosy One), Hanna Manu (The Student), Sara Paavolainen (The 1. Peacekeeper), Raija Vuorio (The 2. Peacekeeper), Tarja Markus (The Doctor), Vesa Vierikko (The Gun Merchant), Tero Laitinen (The Janitor), Pentti Auer (The Singer). 78 min. A KAVA print viewed at Cinema Orion, 16 May 2009. In the presence of Martti Suosalo, Anssi Mänttäri, and Olli Vesala, interviewed by Eero Tammi.

The print had partially a good definition of light, partially it had high contrast.

AM: "This film was based on two newspaper stories. Also one had to document one's favourite bars." - Martti Suosalo: "The fee was beer and nuts. No, as soon as the film was sold to YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company), there was money, too. The text I received two weeks in advance. It had been written for Matti Pellonpää, who died." AM: "I wrote roles to actors who owed me. As Matti Pellonpää entered a bar, he used to say: 'Anssi, give me a line of dialogue' (= buy me a drink). Little by little he had collected a big role. Two days after he died I was puzzled what to do." - MS: "It would be desirable even now to do films like this. Actors are ready to take chances. I could even work for free." - Olli Vesala: "This was a student work for several students, a very successful project, in a harmonious atmosphere. We shot it in eight days. There was good karma."

Revisited a "small" film that mainly takes place in the bar Kuu-Kuu. The young father (Kari Heiskanen) paints the birth hour of his baby daughter on the asphalt yard of the tenement building; he will be ordered to cover it. The Modest One (Ilkka Heiskanen) resigns from his job and plans to go to former Yugoslavia as a soldier of fortune. The film is a cross-section of the bar customers, regulars and occasional visitors. - Tragedy: the unemployed one (Turo Pajala) is beaten and robbed at night in a strong vignette. - Comedy: the parents advise their son, the modest one. - "But high is the cloud raised by the bomb." - The women peacekeepers are the sharpest characters of the film. - The Ingenious One (Martti Suosalo) is irresistible to women. But he is retired on grounds of health, and he is under dialysis. "How do you get women buzzing?" "A bee does not know that theoretically he cannot fly." - "Advertising is the rich one's way to beg". The tie-wearing advertising man has been fired weeks ago. - "Crying is the soap for the soul, said the Jew". - The mosaic, the cross-section grows into a picture of life in the 1990s: the presence of the Balkan War, the threat of unemployment after the big depression. - The film that seemed slight then now appears as having more substance. And no, there is nothing trivial in it.

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