Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toinen jalka haudasta

Med ena foten ur graven / One Foot Under. Suomi 2009. PC: Dionysos Films Oy. P: Riina Hyytiä. D: Johanna Vuoksenmaa. Ass. D: Hannu Salonen. SC: Mika Ripatti, Seppo Vesiluoma. DP: Peter Flinckenberg - colour - scope 2,35:1 - digital intermediate: Generator Post. ED: Kimmo Kohtamäki. S: Tuomas Klaavo, Mikko Mäkelä. M: Kerkko Koskinen. AD: Christer Andersson. COST: Niina Pasanen. Make-up: Hannele Herttua. CAST: Tobias Zilliacus (Visa), Susanna Mikkonen (Riia), Helena Vierikko (Hanna), Tuomas Rinta-Panttila (Ile), Jarkko Pajunen (Harri), Pertti Sveholm (Matti), Kari Väänänen (Salmela), Pihla Viitala (Wilma), Vesa Vierikko (Pesonen), Antti Virmavirta (the doctor). 101 min. Distributed by Sandrew. Print without subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 Dec 2009.

The print was beautiful, and the quality of the image was the most pleasant of a Finnish film this year. Although printed from a digital intermediate, the look was pleasingly photochemical. The overall visual look of the film is assured and sophisticated. There are purely visual passages in the film: montages on nature, subjective tracking shots among the reeds, and visualizations of Visa's changes of consciousness.

Toinen jalka haudasta is another comedy on a serious subject by Johanna Vuoksenmaa after Nousukausi (Upswing). This film is about Visa (Tobias Zilliacus) who knows he'll die in six months of a rare disease. He takes it rather calmly, and his girlfriend Riia (Susanna Mikkonen) is much more disturbed. A journalist, Hanna (Helena Vierikko) starts a series of articles on a dying person's last wishes, and selects Visa as her subject. Visa's best "friend" Harri (Jarkko Pajunen) has designs for Riia. The slick editor and responsible single father Ile (Tuomas Rinta-Panttila) pines for Hanna.

Before death, Visa realizes he has found his true love in Hanna.

Things I liked:
1. The gravity of the protagonists.
2. The approach to the fantasies, nighmares, hallucinations, fabulations and memory fabrications related with the illness.
3. The theme of "I hope there was life before death", "carpe diem". "Isn't life always too short".
4. The satirical angle on the therapy for the dying.
5. The satire of lying in relationships.
6. The overall visual impact, the cinematography by Peter Flinckenberg.
7. The music by Kerkko Koskinen played by a full real orchestra.

The media satire was maybe slightly too obvious, and the caricature of the editor Ile too coarse.

This is also one of the films with an interrupted wedding. Ile and Hanna are getting married, and with his last breath Visa interrupts the ceremony but dies before the altar.

No comments: