Saturday, November 26, 2011


FI © 2011 Yellow Film & TV. P: Olli Haikka, Samuli Norhomaa. D: Tuomas Summanen. SC: Mikko Reitala. DP: Arno Launos. Definition of colour and digital intermediate: Post Control. AD: Kaisa Mäkinen. Cost: Minni Härkönen. Makeup: Laura-Melanie Hecht. M: DJ Slow. S: Erno Kumpulainen. ED: Jyrki Levä. MAIN ROLES: Risto Kaskilahti (Risto "Ripa" Kaskilahti), Aku Hirviniemi (Pasi Happonen), Krista Kosonen (Anna), Elena Leeve (Inka), Jarkko Niemi (Akseli), Jaakko Saariluoma (Erik). SUPPORTING ROLES: Stan Saanila (editor), Mika Nuojua (Tuukka), Mika Räinä (policeman), Elina Knihtilä, Jussi Vatanen (manager), Petteri Summanen (lawyer), Riku Nieminen, Joanna Haartti (teacher), Ville Myllyrinne (producer), Kari Ketonen (assistant director). 98 min. Released by Scanbox with Swedish subtitles by Markus Karjalainen. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, Helsinki, 26 Nov 2011 (premiere weekend).

From the official synopsis: "The beloved actor Risto (Risto Kaskilahti) gets paralyzed - quadriplegiac - in a studio accident. The accident brings him massive financial compensation and a flood of sympathy. Suddenly there is money for everything that Risto's young and beautiful wife (Krista Kosonen) has always wanted. She gives up her boring job and becomes an artist."

"The brew is mixed by Risto's obsessed little cousin (Aku Hirviniemi) who wants to become an actor and tries to take advantage of Risto by all means. Confusion get even worse by Risto's twenty-something son (Jarkko Niemi) who falls in love with his mother-in-law. And this is just the beginning. There is a surprise twist."

"What happens when Risto experiences a surprising recovery? The beloved star gets well but cannot tell it to the world. Must the popular actor pretend to be paralyzed for the rest of his life? Has Risto found the role of his life which he'll never get rid of?" (my translation).

Black comedy is a difficult genre. The risk is to get so cynical that there is nothing left to relate to.

Risto has been made by television entertainment professionals, and I realize I miss most points because I don't watch tv. My notes written during the screening include words like: "mean-spirited, love is missing, fraud, demoralization, erosion of trust". There is little complexity in the characters.

There are good performers, though, such as Krista Kosonen and Elena Leeve, both among my favourite actors in contemporary Finnish cinema. Elena Leeve plays a religious fanatic, and Krista Kosonen is the young wife of the veteran actor Risto. The most recurrent female figure in contemporary Finnish cinema is the harridan, and now it's Krista Kosonen's turn to play it. Yawn. Why don't their men just say "get out!"

The atmosphere of sleaze is pervasive, most memorably incarnated by Jaakko Saariluoma as the scandal reporter Erik in a performance that can be compared with [Kirk Douglas - Siru, thanks] in The Big Carnival and Burt Lancaster in The Sweet Smell of Success. The absence of conscience is terrifying. The malaise of the yellow press, such as in the contemporary Rupert Murdoch case but also in the Finnish tabloids and the even worse weekly gossip trash, is crystallized in Erik. This kind of comedy is not even funny anymore, and the approach can be compared with the commedia all'italiana of the 1950s and the 1960s, sometimes more grim and severe than so-called serious drama. Speaking of The Big Carnival, Risto brings to mind also another black Billy Wilder satire, The Fortune Cookie, because of its theme (Risto Kaskilahti gets to play the Jack Lemmon role).

There is a flat digital video look in the movie, appropriate to the theme of the degradation of spirit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

William Holden in Big Carnival? You mean Kirk Douglas, I presume.