Friday, August 05, 2011

Roskisprinssi / Garbage Prince

Sopåkarprinsen. FI / NO © 2011 Periferia Productions / Flimmer Film. EX: Outi Rousu. P: Markku Flink. D: Raimo O. Niemi. SC: Juuli Niemi - based on the novel (1991) by Tuija Lehtinen. DP: Kari Sohlberg. AD: Pirjo Rossi. Makeup: Kristiina Kinnunen. Cost: Ritva Muikku. M: Stein Berge Svendsen. Theme song: "Yhtenä iltana" ["One Night"] by Hector (1990). S: Thomas Angell Endresen. ED: Jukka Nykänen. Loc: Joensuu. CAST: Jon Jon Geitel (Jed), Pihla Maalismaa (Lulu), Kristiina Elstelä (Veera), Heikki Silvennoinen (Saastamoinen), Milla Kaitalahti (Salla), Taisto Reimaluoto (Immonen), Kari Heiskanen (Juhani Pohjakallio), Katariina Kaitue (Eeva Pohjakallio), Milla Kaitalahti (Salla), Antti Virmavirta (Lulu's father, a minister), Marjaana Maijala (Lulu's mother), Oiva Lohtander (Little Antti), Risto Salmi (Big Antti), Jon Eikemo (Børje), Mari Perankoski (Salla's mother). 100 min. Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Finland. DCP 2K viewed at Tennispalatsi 11, Helsinki, 5 Aug 2011.

Tuija Lehtinen (born 1954) is a popular Finnish author who has published ca 73 novels since 1984. A large part of her work is targeted to young readers. Roskisprinssi the movie is based on her popular novel. The director is the veteran Raimo O. Niemi who has also often targeted his films to young audiences. The screenwriter was his daughter Juuli Niemi.

An entertaining coming of age story about teenagers. Having just finished school Jed refuses to follow his father's stern advice, drops out, boards a Northbound train and leaves the train in Joensuu on a whim following the smile of a beautiful blonde girl (Salla). He buys a tent and settles down on a camping area. Soon he has used up his pocket money and gets jobs as a newspaper delivery man and by the winter as a garbage truck assistant. In the Joensuu parks Jed meets the elderly Bohemian Veera, who collects bottles etc. on her own and meets her three drinking companions at her Bohemian but cosy wooden house by the forest. Jed persuades Veera to rent him a room in the attic.

Roskisprinssi is a story about teenage confusion, about not yet knowing who one is and what one wants from life.

Initially attracted by Salla, Jed can't help being more interested in Lulu, a confused and talented soulmate. But Lulu has also her reservations about Jed. "Don't you use us as a freak circus footnote in your finely polished CV".

I looked through my fingers at some of the film's easy wish-fulfillment aspects, clumsy features, and a certain lack of edge. But there are things to like such as Pihla Maalismaa's performance in the female lead and the use of the city of Joensuu as the location. As the film went on I liked it more because of the sense of gravity beyond some stereotypical elements. The theme song "Yhtenä iltana" keeps playing in my mind for days.

Critics have compared this movie to Elokuu / August which had its premiere earlier this year. In both a scion of a wealthy family drops out after school and has an adventure which starts in summertime Finland. Both are entertainment films but both also face the serious theme of the necessity of leaving the childhood home and finding out about one's identity alone. Elokuu seems to end more conventionally. Roskisprinssi has an open ending. Both films share a curiously bland performance in the male leading role. Wondering about that I also considered the possibility that that may be intentional.

Reportedly Roskisprinssi is the last film of the master cinematographer Kari Sohlberg. Like his films of the previous years, it's digital. Like often in Raimo O. Niemi and Kari Sohlberg's work, nature is important. Digital is getting better. I appreciated the fine soft detail now evident in scenes in the beginning. Colour is difficult, especially the colour of nature.

No comments: