Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Etäällä ja läsnä. Kärsimyskertomus. / Presencia lejana / [Present Far Away]

FI 1982. PC: Epidem Oy / Yleisradio TV-1. P: Mikael Wahlforss. D+SC: Angelina Vásquèz. Ass: Anita Mikkonen. DP: Jouko Lehmuskallio - 16 mm. ED: Irma Taina. M: Joe Davidow. Toivo Kärki: ”Karjalan kukka”. Nelson Villagra: ”Ne gustantodas las cosas” ja ”La muchacha del obrero”. "Volver" presented by Carlos Gardel in moving image footage. Cast: Shenda Roman, Yrjö Tähtelä. Sound editing: Pekka Vanhanen. Trick photography: Erkki Salmela. Colour definition: Seppo Virtanen. 790 m (16 mm) / 72 min. In Spanish and Finnish, with Spanish and Finnish subtitles [by Anita Mikkonen?]. Cinema Orion, Helsinki (In the Core of the Documentary), 26 Oct 2011.

From Ilkka Kippola's programme notes: "Angelina Vásquèz, having lived in exile in Finland for over six years, discussed in her movie a topic sensitive for the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The theme of the exile was brought to home viewers in dramatic close-up, and the destiny of the Finn Hanna Hietala was connected with the political passion play experienced in Argentine."

"Hanna Hietala and her son Vilho, who had moved to Argentine in 1936, were among the persecuted who perished in the concentration camps established by the junta for trade union activists in 1976. After the military had taken the power from Maria Péron over 15.000 people had been executed in the country. The tortured and assassinated Hanna Hietala was a defender of equality and justice in the local church; the son Vilho was a trade union activist. Only the brother Reino survived in the underground resistance movement. Among the tortured and the executed there were priests, artists, scientists, workers, students, and mothers whose sons were connected with civil activity stigmatized as communistic."

"Reino Hietala related the revolting facts already in 1976 in a secret interview in front of the cameras of the Epidem company. Out of camera curiosity grew a bigger picture about the 40 years of the leftist Hietala family in Zarate in Argentine and in Juuka in Finnish Karelia. The connection between Finland and Argentine was upheld by the correspondence between Hanna and her Finnish sister Helmi Väyrynen and Hanna's authentic audio tape recordings. They are the most empathy-evoking material of the movie as well as the vivid memories of the Argentinian seamen's priest and the Argentinian tangos tinged with poignant longing. Certain potent numbers are interpreted by the Cuban actress Shenda Roman. As therapeutic listeners together with Yrjö Tähtelä they carry their roles to an endpoint and open up the story of Hanna Hietala built into the accounts of the relatives." (From Ilkka Kippola's programme notes, translated by AA).

A memorial to courageous people, fighters for justice, persecuted and executed, but living in the warm memories of those who knew them. Angelina Vásquèz is sensitive to the documents and the testimonies available and develops her movie in a personal essay form. An exile herself, she can identify with her subjects. The asides are as interesting as the main story. "Generals want to become presidents." "A country is governed by the capital invested in it" (Woodrow Wilson). "Political fanaticism is alien to the basic Finnish character". "The longing will remain forever, but we won't cry". There is a warm photochemical feeling in the vintage 16 mm print the colour of which is still ok.

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