Friday, December 17, 2010

Paha perhe / Bad Family

[Den onda familjen]. FI © 2009 Sputnik. [Premiere 29 Jan 2010.]. P: Aki Kaurismäki. D+SC: Aleksi Salmenperä. DP: Tuomo Hutri. AD: Markku Pätilä. Cost: Ella Brigatti. Make-up: Marjut Samulin. M: Ville Anselmi Tanttu. S: Tero Malmberg. ED: Samu Heikkilä. P manager: Mark Lwoff.

Post-production: Kari Manns / colour grading (Finn-Lab Oy). Tuija Kotamäki / negative cutting (Finn-Lab Oy). Olli Pärnänen / sound mixing (Meguru Film Sound). Pentti Keskimäki / TV master colour definition (Digital Film Finland). Joonas Kiviharju / yksivalosiirto (Digital Film Finland).

Actors in the main roles: Ville Virtanen (Mikael), Lauri Tilkanen (Daniel), Pihla Viitala (Tilda), Vera Kiiskinen (Laura), Niki Seppälä (Milo), Ismo Kallio (Jaan), Tomi Salmela (Kari).

With: Minna Suuronen (Jaan's nurse), Reino Nordin (Samuli), Sara Paavolainen (Anna), Asko Sarkola (Erik), Pertti Sveholm (Jaakko), Henriikka Salo (Seija), Matti Onnismaa (man), Aaro Wichmann (Joni), Merja Larivaara (consul), Juhani Niemelä (Eino), Kaarina Hazard (nurse), Janne Reinikainen (nurse), Antto Melasniemi (cook).

95 min. A Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland print without subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (The Jussi Awards), Helsinki, 17 Dec 2010.

One of the most highly regarded Finnish films of this year, The Bad Family is made with a bite. The visual concept is strong. There is a consistent drive in the visual storytelling, and The Bad Family has this year's most memorable final image in a Finnish film (Mikael standing alone by the roadside his trouser legs fluttering in the wind). Both the vision and the sound of the film are exceptionally expressive. There are interesting inventions in the soundtrack, culminating in a ukulele interpretation of Bach and an impressive number for horns. The performances by Ville Virtanen, Pihla Viitala, Vera Kiiskinen, and the others are strong.

This is an inferno family. There is everything except love and happiness. The backstory is the impossible match of Mikael the father who is a judge and the mother who was a hippie who flew to Copenhagen. The film starts 20 years later with the funeral of the mother. The daughter Tilda is a young woman now. Mikael sends his current wife (Vera Kiiskinen) and their little son to a top hotel for the time being.

Tilda is received by Mikael together with his son Daniel, a high school student preparing for his matriculation examination. Tilda is not understood by Mikael at all but by Daniel all too well. The fundament of the story is Mikael's suspicion of sibling incest.

Mikael is evidently an excellent judge for whom it is paramount to be in absolute control. He exercises a lot with a rowing machine, and he has exquisite taste in everything from music to interior decoration.

But Mikael is emotionally handicapped. Has no "emotional intelligence". He really puts an effort to dedicate a lot of time to his son Daniel, and he even takes a leave of absence from his position at the court of appeal for that reason. But whether giving fencing lessons or driving instructions he only succeeds in paralyzing Daniel. The relaxed Tilda provides Daniel a much-needed valve from the constant controlling tension.

There is a fine sense of satire, irony, and farce in this movie. A delicious sequence is where Daniel helps a driver by the roadside to change summer tires although the driver does not need help. It seems to be about Daniel having to prove to himself that he is a nice guy.

I had the feeling that there is a profound secret personal agenda in the film, but what that agenda might be I have no clue of. The Bad Family is a movie of a family from which love is missing. At first viewing I failed to connect deeply.

A beautiful definition of colour in the print screened.
Song and music listing:

"INTERMEZZO OP.119 NO.1 IN B MINOR"
(Johannes Brahms)

"NOCTURNE OP.27, NO. 2 IN D FLAT MAJOR"
(Frédéric Chopin)

"NOCTURNE OP.9, NO. 2 IN E FLAT MAJOR"
(Frédéric Chopin)

"PRELUDE IN E MINOR, OP. 28 NO.4"
(Frédéric Chopin)

Cello suite #1 prelude
(J.S Bach)

"REBORN"
(säv/sov. Tanttu san. Salmenperä)

"MY TRUCK"
(säv/sov. Tanttu san. Salmenperä)

"IN THE PINES"
(säv/san. trad sov. Tanttu )

"UNHAPPILY PAIRED"
(säv/sov.Tanttu san. Tiina Mustonen)

"HAWK BLUES"
(säv/sov. Tanttu/Lahti)

"DE SEGUNDA A DOMINGO"
(säv. Tanttu/Mustonen sov. Tanttu san. Mustonen)
käännös: Leonardo Azevedo Mendes

Parisienne Chic & Ragtime
(licensed by Chris Worth Productions)

"KEVÄT TOI TULLESSAAN"
(säv/sov Harry Bergström, san Kullervo)
OLAVI VIRTA, 1952.

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