Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pyhä perhe / [Family] / [The Holy Family]

Perhe [title on screen] / Familjen. FI (c) 1976 Jörn Donner Productions. EX: Jörn Donner. D+SC: Anssi Mänttäri - based on the play Familjen (1974) by Claes Andersson. DP: Heikki Katajisto - Eastmancolour - 1,66:1 - 16 mm blown up to 35 mm. M: Asko Mänttäri. S: Jouko Lumme. ED: Juho Gartz. CAST: Lasse Pöysti (Paavo Mäkinen), Birgitta Ulfsson (Terttu Mäkinen), Rita Polster (Marja Mäkinen), Martti-Mikael Järvinen (Tapsa = Tapio Mäkinen), Sanna Fransman (Sanna = Susanna Mäkinen), Mikko Majanlahti (doctor), Marja-Sisko Aimonen (Miss Vuorio). 101 min. A KAVA print with Swedish subtitles by Anna-Lisa Holmqvist. Viewed at Cinema Orion, 20 May 2009.

The quality of the definition varies: soft in the beginning, it gets better at times. This seems to have been the trouble also originally. Colour ok. - Lauri Tykkyläinen writes to me on 25 May that the film was shot on 16 mm, and that the blow-up methods at the Suomi-Filmi laboratory were not at their best when this film was printed. - The story of a bourgeois nuclear family whose entire energy circles around the father's (Lasse Pöysti) alcoholism. The mother (Birgitta Ulfsson) refrains from divorce for economic reasons and to protect the children. The elder daughter (Rita Polster) sleeps around, the son (Martti-Mikael Järvinen) annoys his parents with Marxism, and the younger daughter (Sanna Fransman) plays hookey from school. - The first turning-point is when the father goes to a alcoholists' sanatorium and returns sober, an absolutist. His personality changes, he starts to study English and annoys his secretary with his erroneous advice. - Now the mother goes mad, is hospitalized, and when she returns home, the tables are turned. The mother and the children share a cognac, the father is shut out, needs fresh air, and the circle is closed when he is heard from the yard yelling, stone drunk again. - I have not seen the play. This is one of the few adaptations in Mänttäri's oeuvre. Also the casting of the masterful Pöysti and Ulfsson (a real-life couple) is from the stage production. - Although an adaptation, this is an essential block in Mänttäri's building, often related to King Alcohol. - The terrible psychodynamics of the family has an affinity with Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence). - This is a story of hell on earth. There is a ring of truth in every scene. - The debut film of Sanna Fransman and Rita Polster. Marja-Sisko Aimonen is excellent in her role.

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