Friday, May 20, 2011

Elma ja Liisa / [Elma and Liisa]

[Elma och Liisa]. FI 2011. PC: Mutanen Enterprises Oy / Sherpa Agency. P: Artturi Mutanen, Pauli Waroma. D+SC+Casting +Costumes+Makeup+Props: Pamela Tola, Pihla Viitala. DP: Jean-Noël Mustonen. AD: Tommi Kortesniemi. S: Pietu Korhonen. ED: Antti Reikko. Starring: Pamela Tola, Pihla Viitala. With: Kasimir Baltzar, Aleksi Bardy, Elina Knihtilä, Tommi Korpela, Mikko Leppilampi, Rauha Puntti, Anneli Sauli, Juha Veijonen. 40 min. Distributed by Finnkino. No subtitles in the screening. DCP 2K viewed at Tennispalatsi 9, Helsinki, 20 May 2011.

The title is an homage to Thelma and Louise. The film also brings to mind Sedmikrásky / Daisies, Boys on the Side, and other "women on the road" movies. The basic premise of Y tu mamá también / And Your Mother Too is also parodied (the women claim occasionally that they are on their final journey with only months to live). Finnish points of reference might be Neitoperho / The Collector and Taulukauppiaat / The Painting Sellers. Elma ja Liisa is completely original, though.

Pamela Tola and Pihla Viitala, two top young actresses of Finland, decided to make a movie and not to wait the three years it usually takes to convey things through the system. They just did it.

Elma ja Liisa might be a riposte to the "young man's odyssey" cycle of films that has been a staple of Finnish film production since the 1980s in the contemporary era, and since forever if we count the lumberjack sagas. The current example is Elokuu / August. Although the young woman is the active party and the young man is a sleepwalker, it is basically a traditional, patriarchal summer love story, where the summer romance is a part of the young gentleman's education.

Pamela Tola and Pihla Viitala's protagonists are wild and nihilistic women. A blonde and a brunette. They steal and rob and kill and speak about further killings. They harass hitch-hikers. They sell fake art at 2 E apiece for an "art happening for the depressed". One of them is a teacher taking a walk on the wild side. The other has had a baby in France, but now it's dead. There is no romance, no love, no sex, no nudity.  It's about the road to nowhere.

There is a low definition video look in the movie.

It is dedicated to the memory of Rauha Puntti (1926-2010). I met Rauha Puntti a few years ago at Cinema Orion, when we screened Kultainen kynttilänjalka / The Golden Chandelier (1946). She told she was then the only survivor of that film's cast and crew.

P.S. 22 May 2011. The final impact of this movie two days after is that it is about profound depression.

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