Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nyrki Tapiovaara - elokuvaohjaaja / [Nyrki Tapiovaara - Film Director]

FI 1973. PC: Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu / Yleisradio TV1 Filmipalvelu, Kulttuuritoimitus. Suunnittelu ja käsikirjoitus / planning and screenplay: Lauri Tykkyläinen, Pirkko Junttu, Erkki Salmela. Featuring Tapio Tapiovaara, Matti Kurjensaari, Raoul Palmgren, Arvo Turtiainen, Jenny Pajunen, Hans Kutter, Irma Seikkula, Walle Saikko, Erik Blomberg. 57 min. A digibeta from YLE projected at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Nyrki Tapiovaara), 11 Sep 2011.

Introduced by Lauri Tykkyläinen, who told that in his two documentaries on Nyrki Tapiovaara he was still able to interview many of Nyrki's colleagues who are all now dead.

I was impressed with the good spirits in which the veterans of 1930s culture were reminiscing on those exciting and dangerous times. Matti Kurjensaari (the Finnish Boswell of his generation) told how the world opened to the young Nyrki. The first person he wanted to meet in Helsinki was Hannes Kolehmainen, the Olympic champion. Erkki Vala was leading the new, politicized Tulenkantajat: "he is already very advanced". Nyrki studies law, practised in courts. Raoul Palmgren (professor of literature) had as his first impression was that Nyrki was very assertive and irritating, a Pan-European who carried a red cross on gold, "an aesthetician lost in law studies", a radical liberal, strict against Fascism. On the Helsinki Työväen Näyttämö (Workers' Stage) at Kirjan Talo Tapiovaara directed Elmer Rice's Judgment Day (on the fire of the Reichstagshaus in Berlin). Arvo Turtiainen (poet) reminisced on Nyrki's relationship with Toini Aaltonen (playwright, critic), the influence of the 1930s U.S. New Left, the attack of the extreme right on the Kirjan Talo. Jenny Pajunen (writer, political activist) remembered that Nyrki wanted to learn about the thoughts of workers, was concerned about the Spanish civil war, followed the Kirjallisuuslehti. Hans Kutter (cineaste, film critic) had noticed there were three film societies in Paris, and together with Tapiovaara, Alvar Aalto, Ainio Aalto, Salli Ahde, professor Lassila, Eero Erkko, Nils Gustav Hahl they founded the Projektio film society. Film prints had to be fetched from the customs office. They came via Sweden, where they had circulated in Stockholm, Uppsala, Lund, and Malmö. They were learning about the many uses of the cinema. In the Projektio evenings Tapiovaara got acquainted with Heikki Aho. The sons of Juhani Aho let Nyrki work independently. Soon they noticed that Aho's prose was impossible as dialogue. Everything was done on the cheap, simply. As a director of actors Nyrki Tapiovaara was different. Irma Seikkula (actress) remembered how Nyrki discovered her via photographs. Professor Walle Saikko (amateur actor in Juha) remembered that he was asked whether he could dance, play the balalaika. Nyrki never raised his voice, always requested natural speech. The milieu was authentic, the place was wonderful. The local inhabitants called Irma "Marja". (The rapid-shooting from Juha, and the exchange after the love-making. Marja: - I have never known that there is something like this. Shemeikka: - Neither have I.) A real savusauna (smoke sauna) was used in Juha. Part of the material burned, and so much was lost that the conclusion of the film suffered. Erik Blomberg (producer, director, cinematographer) is interviewed in the former Adams studio, later Eloseppo studio. Teuvo Tulio's Silja and Kiusaus were shot there. I stayed as a cinematographer with Adams. Carpelan suggested Schildt's story Köttkvarnen to be filmed. Eino Mäkinen got acquainted with Tapiovaara. The interiors of Varastettu kuolema were shot here. Kurjensaari wrote the dialogue for Varastettu kuolema. There is hardly anything left from Schildt in the movie. (Excerpt from Miehen tie: Sillanpää as the interviewer in the barn dance.) Irma Seikkula remembers that Nyrki was very calm in 1939 when the war was approaching. Nyrki had always time for other people. In Miehen tie Nyrki was a mature artist. Through mistakes one can learn a great deal.

A top document on Finnish film history. The personalities of the interviewed are memorable. Technically it is fine, but most impressive is the humanity of this project.

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