Saturday, December 19, 2009


Lekplatsen / Playground. FI/DE (c) 2009 Helsinki-Filmi. With NDR, Nelonen, TAIK / ELO. P: Aleksi Bardy. D: Toni Laine. SC: Petja Peltomaa, Sanna Reinumägi. DP: Konsta Sohlberg. PD: Päivi Kettunen. COST: Anna Vilppunen. M: Karl Sinkkonen. S: Mika Niinimaa. ED: Aleksi Raij. CAST: Sibel Kekilli (Laura), Teemu Palosaari (Arto), Sanna-June Hyde (Riina), Mikko Leppilampi (Tero), Alisa Hakala (Nella), Venla Hakala (Nella), Mikael Hakarauta (Niklas), Matleena Kuusniemi (Sikke), Mari Perankoski (Leena), Pihla Viitala (Meri). In German and in Finnish. Released by Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Laura Ruuttunen & Tero Välimäki / Joanna Erkkilä. Colour, 1,85:1, 93 min. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 19 Dec 2009.

A diploma work from The Department of Motion Picture, Television, and Production Design of The University of Art and Design Helsinki (TAIK / ELO).

Interesting features from my personal viewpoint: 1) this is the story of a German-Finnish marriage, a subject dear to me, having lived three years in West Berlin and followed several such relationships since 1981 to this day, 2) the location is Tampere, Finland, where I have lived during two periods of my life, 3) Sibel Kekilli is an excellent and talented actress with a great sense of humour.

The story feels bizarre, though. Laura, a young German woman moves to Tampere, Finland, with her Finnish husband, who is always travelling. When they divorce, Laura decides to stay in Tampere. Almost invariably, it is the other way around. Finnish women move to Germany and stay there even after the divorce.

Germans love Finland, though, and there could be a story there. The area of Finland is as big as that of united Germany, but the population of Finland is only 5,3 million, whereas that of Germany is 82 million. There is a lot of space in Finland, and many Germans love the feeling of nature, the big forests and the countless lakes. The fresh air, the clear water, and the relatively untamed qualities of Finland are exotic to Germans. Yet Finland has also a high level of education, culture, technology and language skills. There could be other reasons for a German to stay, but none of them are explored. Generally and unfortunately, regarding the talent involved, Pihalla remains too much on the level of conveyor-belt entertainment without ambition.

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