Monday, January 31, 2011

Se permettete, parliamo di donne / Let's Talk About Women


Parlons femmes / [the film was not released in Finland]. FR/IT 1964. D: Ettore Scola. Cast: Vittorio Gassman, Sylva Koscina, Eleonora Rossi Drago, Antonella Lualdi, Jeanne Valerie, Giovanna Ralli. 93 min. Bonus: - Bande annonce VF. - Zoo (NL 1961), D: Bert Haanstra. - Image entièrement restaurée. - Dvd © 2002 Les Documents Cinématographiques, Italian and French versions, French and English subtitles, viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover: "Ettore Scola a réalisé ce premier film à sketches, un genre particulier de la comédie des années 60 dans lequel excelle le cinéma italien - 'avec six bouts de ficelle et huit lires, d'une vulgarité féroce mais très divertissante', selon les souvenirs de Vittorio Gassman - alors qu'il était encore scénariste pour le compte de tiers. Même si l'on 'parle' de femmes, le fil conducteur est le protéiforme Vittorio Gassman qui tient ici huit rôles. A sa sortie en Italie, Parlons femmes rencontra un véritable succès auprès du public."

AA: I had never seen Ettore Scola's first film as a director before. Among the first impressions are the stark black and white cinematography by Alessandro D'Eva and a Western style score by Armando Trovajoli. Split screen belongs to the transition devices of the film, giving a sense of simultaneity to the eight stories. Although a comedy, the film starts in a serious, contemplative tone. The first story belongs to the Decamerone tradition, with a sting at the end. A tour de force of Vittorio Gassman in eight completely different roles as Stranger / Practical Joker / Client / Lover / Impatient Lover / Waiter / Timid Brother / Ragman / Prisoner.

Deux films d'art de Lauro Venturi: Chagall / Pierre Bonnard

Chagall. FR 1963. D: Lauro Venturi. 25 min
Pierre Bonnard. FR 1965. D: Lauro Venturi. 19 min
Bonus: - Lauro Venturi et le Film d'Art (FR 2007), 54 min. - Adolfo Venturi, Arte Storia Passione (IT 2006), D: Giorgio Guido, 29 min. - Livret: Lauro's Movie Time, extraits des mémoirs inédites de Lauro Venturi. - Dvd © 2009 Les Documents Cinématographiques with English and Spanish (1) and Italian (2) subtitles viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover: "Lauro Venturi est l'héritier d'une dynastie italienne d'historiens d'art. Son grand-père, Adolfo, fut une figure de proue de l'histoire de l'art en Italie et son père, Lionello, devint également un célèbre historien d'art. Lauro continua la tradition familiale à sa façon dans l'édition de livres d'art chez Skira dans les années 50 et 60, au moment où le livre d'art de luxe devint très à la mode et dans le cinéma, comme assistant de Mario Soldati et de Luciano Emmer, puis comme réalisateur de courts et longs-métrages sur des peintres, dont Leonardo da Vinci, Chagall et Bonnard. Chagall lui valut un Oscar en 1964."

Excellent quality of image and colour in these priceless art films. Marc Chagall himself is seen in the first film, shot by Jean Bourgoin and composed by Joseph Kosma. Pierre Bonnard had already died so the second film is based on photographs of him, shots of his neighbourhoods, and of course the painter's work. Lauro Venturi possesses the same level of ambition as Luciano Emmer and Alain Resnais, but he does not constrain himself radically into the frame of the paintings. Clearly there is however the same insight of inner biography via the paintings themselves. A feast for the eyes. The bonus documentary tells about the great Italian Venturi family of art historians. We see Luciano Emmer's storyboards and learn about Lauro Venturi's rotation method for filming paintings.

Trilogie Rouletabille d'après Gaston Leroux (2-dvd)

DISQUE 1
Le Mystère de la chambre jaune / The Mystery of the Yellow Room / [not released in Finland]. FR 1930. D: Marcel L'Herbier. 100 min
Le Parfum de la dame en noir / Scent of the Lady in Black / [not released in Finland]. FR 1931. D: Marcel L'Herbier. 90 min
DISQUE 2
Rouletabille aviateur / [not released in Finland]. FR 1932. D: Étienne Székely (= Steve Sekely). 60 min
Bonus: - Gaston Leroux par son petit-fils Patrick Leroux. - Marcel L'Herbier, cinéaste du désir, par Mireille Beaulieu et Christophe Champclaux. - Étienne Székely, par Mireille Beaulieu et Christophe Champclaux. - Dvd © 2009 Les Documents Cinématographiques, no subtitles, viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover: "Le Mystère de la chambre jaune et Le Parfum de la dame en noir, réalisés par Marcel L'Herbier, comptent parmi les meilleures adaptations cinématographiques des romans policiers de Gaston Leroux. A l'aube du cinéma parlant, L'Herbier a créé deux œuvres pleinement audiovisuelles: génériques parlés et scénarisés, habile manipulation de la bande-son et des effets sonores... Pour incarner l'intrépide reporter Rouletabille, il impose à Adolphe Osso, son producteur un jeune acrobate et cascadeur aérien, Roland Toutain, dont la gouaille, l'agilité et le charisme vont crever l'écran. Le Mystère de la chambre jaune accentue le côté sombre, voire étouffant du roman avec des références au gothique hollywoodien et à l'expressionnisme allemand. Marcel L'Herbier privilégie les scènes de nuit captées en studio, propices aux éclairages contrastés et aux ambiances ténébreuses. Le succès remporté par le film permet au cinéaste d'obtenir un budget plus conséquent pour le second volet. Tourné principalement de jour, dans une palette chromatique où dominent les teintes claires, Le Parfum de la dame en noir est aéré par de nombreux extérieurs, souvent spectaculaires. Jacques Manuel signe par ailleurs de fascinants décors et costumes Art Déco, extrêmement stylisés. Les multiples angles de prise de vue, trompe l'œil, reflets font écho aux secrets et faux-semblants qui jalonnent le récit. Sa collaboration avec Marcel L'Herbier achevée, Adolphe Osso décide néanmoins de prolonger les aventures de Rouletabille. Il charge Piere-Gilles Veber d'élaborer un scénario original, qu'il fait réaliser en Hongrie par Istvan Székely (rebaptisé en France Étienne Székely). Rouletabille aviateur est une œuvre rarissime, dont les extérieurs (les rues de Budapest, la compagne hongroise, le lac Balaton... ) possèdent aujourd'hui une valeur quasi-documentaire. Ce film étonnant, au montage rapide inspiré des 'serials' américains, met à nouveau Roland Toutain en vedette. Figure importante du cinéma hongrois, István Székely poursuivra par la suite une fructueuse carrière internationale" (Mireille Beaulieu).

The novels of Gaston Leroux have been filmed several times, and in this dvd set three of his stories featuring the amateur detective Rouletabille have been put together. Top talent was employed: Léonce-Henri Burel and Nikolai Toporkoff as cinematographers, André Barsacq and Lazare Meerson as art directors. Marcel L'Herbier had collaborated with them already in his masterpieces of the 1920s. By now he had changed course and become a mainstream entertainment director. It is interesting also to see an early-sound French-Hungarian sample of the work of Étienne Székely (= Steve Sekely) whom I know mainly from the 1960s science fiction film The Day of the Triffids. Roland Toutain, now best remembered as André Jurieux in La Règle du jeu, had his first starring role as Rouletabille. Le Parfum de la dame en noir, with cinematography by Louis Page and Georges Périnal, is visually much more dynamic (trains, chases, seaside cliff thrills) than the first film. The first two films look fine but the third one has a lower visual quality as if the source might have been 16 mm.

Pas besoin d'argent

Don't Need Money / [not released in Finland]. FR 1933. D: Jean Paul Paulin. DP: Léonce-Henri Burel. M: Gabaroche. Cast: Gabaroche, Claude Dauphin, Lisette Lanvin, Jeanne Lion. 90 min. - Bonus: - La bande annonce. - Jean-Paul Paulin: Les débuts 1931-34, 16 min. - Jean-Paul Paulin: La suite 1937-1954, 20 min. - Dvd © 2007 Les Documents Cinématographiques with English subtitles viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover info: "A year after the German version, Carl Boese's Man braucht kein Geld (1932), Pas besoin d'argent mocks the middle classes of a small provincial town affected by the economic slump, and gives free rein to all kinds of trickery and swindling. In Saint-Berneville, nothing is as it seems. The rich uncle from America arrives without a penny to his name. But what does that matter? Everyone believes he is a millionaire. The black gold which eventualy gushes forth from the soil of the Lower Loiret is useless: confidence prevails and the town prospers. The important thing is to have faith in it. With his third feature film, Paulin (L'Esclave blanc, La Femme nue) has created a satirical comedy, focusing the cameras on the France of 1933 in a work carried along by Claude Dauphin with his ubiquitous cynicism and by his victim Gaston Gabaroche, who also composed the original soundtrack".

Fast-forwarded a film that looks like a solid, professional piece of entertainment, finely photographed by Burel, and expertly restored by the AFF / CNC.

Lourdes et ses miracles

Lourdes et ses miracles. Témoignages. Pélegrinages. Imprévu / [not released in Finland]. FR 1955. D: Georges Rouquier. 84 min. - Bonus: Le Sel de la terre (The Salt of the Earth, 1950), D: Georges Rouquier, 28 min. - Georges Rouquier, "il miglior fabbro", entretien avec Maria Rouquier de Grégory Métay (2004), 20 min. Dvd © 2004 Les Documents Cinématographiques, with English subtitles, viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover: "Under the banner of neutrality, Rouquier takes us on an investigative tour of Lourdes, a stage where the surreal and the sordid cohabit. Never ironic or naively devout, Rouquier lets us follow him on his quest for understanding the meaning and the origin of the phenomena commonly referred to as 'miracles'".

A remarkable documentary on miracles, actually a series of three short films. Lourdes has become a huge phenomenon, a mass movement, an occasion for merchandizing. Interviewed by Rouquier, people give accounts of their own miracle healings. The pilgrimage section has an epic quality. With a fine sense of tact, Rouquier lets us make our own judgement. - The bonus short Le Sel de la terre has a sense of grandeur of the landscape of la Camargue.

Biquefarre

[not released in Finland]. FR 1983. D: Georges Rouquier. 90 min. - Bonus: - La bande annonce. - Le Maréchal ferrant (The Farrier, 1976), D: Georges Rouquier, 23 min. - Dvd © 2001 Les Documents Cinématographiques, with English and Spanish subtitles, viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover presentation: "In Biquefarre Georges Rouquier returns to Goutrens (Aveyron) to continue the story of his Farrebique farming family. The setting has changed and the new generation is confronted by new challenges in a continuously evolving rural environment."

Revisited the colour sequel to the 1946 black and white documentary classic. It is a documentary about the shock of change. Watching these back to back it is amazing to reflect that everything has changed so completely in such a short time. After centuries of tradition, there is constant and rapid change. - I saw for the first time Le Maréchal ferrant, a fine documentary on the profession of the farrier, the blacksmith who provides the horse with its shoes.

Farrebique

Farrebique ou Les quatre saisons / Farrebique - talvesta syksyyn / Ilman johtolankaa / Och markerna sjunga. FR 1946. D: Georges Rouquier. 90 min. - Bonus: Le Tonnelier (The Cooper, 1942), D: Georges Rouquier, 23 min. - Dvd © 2001 Les Documents Cinématographiques. English and Spanish subtitles. Dvd viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover presentation: "Georges Rouquier has featured a French farming family - his own - at the Farrebique farm in Goutrens, in the Aveyron region, for one year, from 1944 till 1945. A universally acclaimed masterpiece". - Revisited the documentary masterpiece whose value keeps growing. The processes of agriculture on display here are somewhat familiar even to me from my childhood summer holiday observations at the countryside. But they have belonged to history for a long time already in this age of power farming. - I had never seen before Rouquier's Le Tonnelier, a fine documentary on wine barrel makers (coopers).

Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927

FR 1927. D: Jean Painlevé. 43 min. © 2009 Centre Pompidou / Les Documents Cinématographiques. Dvd viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011.

A miniature reconstruction of 28 attractions of Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927. This film is also included in the dvd set Jean Painlevé Compilation No 3.

Jean Painlevé Compilation No 3 (2-dvd)

DISQUE 1
Les Assassins d'eau douce (1947)
Les Danseuses de la mer (1956)
Diatomées (1968)
Les Pigeons du square (1982)
Le Monde étrange d'Axel Heinrichsen (1956) - portrait of an artist
Quelques danses pour Calenda! (1960)
Les Homards / Exuviation, copulation, hybridation chez les homards (Lobsters, 1975)
Notre planète la Terre (1947)
Voyage dans le ciel (1937)
La Lutte pour la vie (1937)
L'Écriture du mouvement (1947)

DISQUE 2
Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927 (1955), a reconstruction in miniature
La Table penchenat (1960), a table for flexions
Bonus: - Michelle Nadal se souvient (2007). - Trois saynètes du Théâtre de la Dérision de Jean Painlevé (2000): Libre Arbitre réalisé par Arnaud Despaillères; Mon clone et moi et Incertitude réalisé par Roberto Luciague. © 2007 Les Documents Cinématographiques. English subtitles. Viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Revisited on fast-forward classics by Jean Painlevé many of which we showed at the DocPoint festival last week. Films not screened included The Strange World of Axel Heinrichsen, about a sculptor in small scale. Quelques danses pour Calenda! is a dance documentary. L'Écriture du mouvement is about measuring movements, contemporary developments in the Marey tradition. Lobsters belongs to Painlevés major portraits of sea creatures.

Jean Painlevé Compilation No 2 (dvd)

Mathusalem (1927)
La Pieuvre (1928)
La Daphnie (1929)
Les Oursins (1929)
Le Bernard l'ermite, crustacé marin (1929)
Caprelles et pantopodes (Skeleton Shrimp and Spider Crabs, 1929)
Crabes et crevettes (Crabs and Shrimp, 1929)
Traitement d'une hémorragie (1930)
Barbe Bleue (1938)
La quatrième dimension (1937)
Le Vampire (1945)
Bonus: - La Croissance des végétaux, Dr. Jean Comandon. - Champignons prédateurs, Dr. Jean Comandon. - La Séparation des sœurs siamoises, Dr. Doyen. - Premières images II, Etienne Jules Marey. - Jean Painlevé: de L'Inconnue des six jours au Vampire, présenté par Roxane Hamery. - Musique alternative pour Crabes et crevettes et Caprelles et pantopodes de Piero Pepin accompagné par Pascal Portejoie, crée avec le soutient de l'Alhambra Cinémarseille Pole. - © 2005 Les Documents Cinématographiques. English subtitles. Viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Revisited on fast-forward masterpieces by Jean Painlevé, many of which we screened during the DocPoint festival last week. La quatriÈme dimension is a fascinating film that was not included in the Docpoint selection.

Jean Painlevé Compilation No 1 (dvd)

Les Amours de la pieuvre (The Love Life of the Octopus), 1965
Oursins (Sea Urchins), 1954
Comment naissent des méduses (How Some Jellyfish Are Born), 1960
Hyas et sténorinques (Hyas and Stenorhynchus), 1929
L'Hippocampe (The Sea Horse), 1934
Cristaux liquides (Liquid Crystals), 1978
Acéra ou le bal des sorcières (Acera, Or, The Witches' Dance), 1972
Histoires de crevettes (Shrimp Stories, 1963)
Bonus: - Yo La Tengo: The Sea Horse from The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. - Hommage à Loïe Fuller, de Michelle Nadal. - Jeux d'enfants (Children's Play), 1948, by Jean Painlevé. - Filmo- et Biographie de Jean Painlevé. © 2003 Les Documents Cinématographiques. English subtitles. Viewed at home, Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Revisited on fast-forward masterpieces by Jean Painlevé that we showed last week at the DocPoint festival.

Brazza ou l'épopée du Congo

FR 1939. D: Léon Poirier. CAST: Robert Darène (Brazza), Thomy Bourdelle (Stanley), Odette Barencey (La Colombe), Jean Galland (Léopold II), Jean Daurand (Le quartier-maître Hamon), Pierre Vernet (Le docteur Ballay), Jean Worms (L'amiral de Montaignac), Langlois (Gambetta), René Fleur (Clémenceau), René Navarre (Jules Ferry). 94 min. English subtitles / sottotitoli italiani
    Bonus: - Brazza décrypté, par Eric Deroo. - Paroles de Batéké, par Dhavy Gantsou et Alain Onkani. - Chez les Anthropophages, de Lortac et Maleva. © 2006 Les Documents Cinématographiques / Ekwata Productions. Dvd viewed at home in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011

Dvd cover presentation: "Brazza is the story of the exploration of what will become French Equatorial Africa, the story of a literally barefoot idealist, French by choice rather than by birth, set on spreading the Republican gospel of civilization, of abolishing slavery, confronting a world of ruffians, (then already rich Anglo-Saxons), a lay missionary perfectly played by Robert Darène. The storyteller is another idealist, Léon Poirier, proud of his sobriquet "The African". A story so full of candour may bring out disbelieving smiles, if not outright anger. It is therefore particularly interesting to listen to the powerful and scathing analysis presented by Eric Deroo, a specialist on colonial history. And, finally, comments by two Batékés who, in spite of their witty and sometimes angry analysis of the film, admit to feeling a measure of respect for the character of Brazza."

A colonial film, now offensive, can be fascinating seen with a critical eye. There is a good definition of light in this historically valuable publication. One can see even in Brazza Léon Poirier's mastery of documentary film-making, although this is not one of his best works. The interior scenes of this costume epic are less inspired.

L'Esclave blanc

Brigitte Berg, a special guest at the DocPoint festival last week, left a valuable gift of dvd's published by Les Documents Cinématographiques.

L'Esclave blanc / Jungla nera / [not released in Finland]. FR/IT 1934. D: Jean-Paul Paulin. 77 min. English subtitles. - Bonus: - Bande annonce du film. - Jean-Paul Paulin, par son fils Jean-Claude Paulin. - Henri de Monfreid, par son petit-fils Guillaume de Monfreid. - Leçons d'Oxford, par Michaël Abecassis et Berny Sèbe. - L'Homme ensablé / Stranded, la version de Carl Th. Dreyer mise en images par Denis Scoupe, 38 min. - Marco Dolcetta: La canzonetta à l'ère fasciste, et quatre chansons: Facetta nera, La morettina, Africanina, La piccinina. - Avec le soutien du CNC et de DFI. © 2005 Les Documents Cinématographiques. Dvd viewed at home, in Helsinki, 31 Jan 2011
A colonial film shot in the Italian Somalia. The daughter of the plantation owner falls in love with the young farm manager, but papa is against it. The young man escapes with a Somali woman, who works her magic spell to make him her "white slave". - Beautiful definition of light in this colonial story, certainly offensive, and now a document of the attitudes of the time. - Fascinatingly, Carl Th. Dreyer worked with an early version of the story, L'Homme ensablé, here reconstructed via animated and sonorized drawings. - The attraction of this film may have been the sense of earthly paradise in the escapade of the young lovers (the black woman and the white man).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ludwig van

Ludwig van. Ein Bericht von Mauricio Kagel. DE 1970 © 1969 Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne). Music: L. v. Beethoven. Screenplay and musical arrangement: Mauricio Kagel.
Collaborators: Joseph Beuys, Günther Boehnert, Carlos Feller, Werner Höfer, Mauricio Kagel, Rudolf Körösi, Linda Klaudius-Mann, Klaus Lindemann, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, José Montes-Bacquer, Diter Rot, Schuldt, Victor Staub, Otto Tomek, Ferry Waldoff, Stefan Wewerka.
Reconstruction of the Beethoven House, Kitchen: Joseph Beuys, Living room and garden: Ursula Burghardt, Lumber room: Robert Filliou, Music room: Mauricio Kagel, Bath room: Diter Rot in collaboration with Rudolf Rieser, Nursery: Stefan Wewerka.
Music recordings: Male choir of WDR (Herbert Schernus), Gesamtdeutsches Kammerorchester
Conductor: Mauricio Kagel
Sound: Heinz Garbowski, Ernst Thomas, Otto Ziegler
Masks: Horst Bonk, Lothar Noak
Costumes: Gisela Röcken
Props: Claus Velder
Still photograph: Brigitte Dannehl
Script: Marty Vlasak
Cutting: Rüdiger Laske
Assistant director: Wilhelm Bruck
Director of recording: Frank Nüssel
Producer: Victor Staub
Executive producer: José Montes-Bacquer
Associate producers: Günter Herbertz, Holger Lussmann
Camera: Rudolf Körösi
Editor: Manfred Gräter
Director: Mauricio Kagel
New digital version directed and remastered by Mauricio Kagel, June 29 and 30, July 3 and 4, 2006 at Gürtler Multimedia, Neuss, Germany. Digital engineering and editing: Nina Schmitz, Dvd authorizing: Press 9, Steffen Kachel, Berlin, Germany. Publisher: Universal Edition, Wien, Austria.
Production: September 23 - October 9, 1969 at WDR Studio, Cologne, and locations near Cologne / Bonn, Germany
Ifage-Filmproduktion, Wiesbaden, Germany, and WDR, Westdeutsches Fernsehen, Cologne, Germany
First television broadcasting: June 1, 1970, WDR, Westdeutsches Fernsehen
Subtitles: Regine Vetter (de), Richard Toop (en), Luis Gago (es), Mathieu Denis (fr), Mariko Takahashi (jp)
The realization of this project was possible with the kind support of: Kunststiftung NRW, Düsseldorf, Germany
Winter & Winter's special thanks to Eva Beuys, Litolff's / Peters (Stefan Conradi), Kulturstiftung NRW (Dr. Winrich Hopp), WDR (Verena Eberle, Anke Pressel, Harry Vogt, Markus Heugler, Florian Streit, Uwe Sydekum, and Werner Wittersheim), Wolfgang Ellers, and Richard Toop.
Coordination and production: Regine Vetter
Assistant: Chiemi Miura

91 min Dvd © 2007 Winter & Winter (München). Viewed at home, 27 Jan 2011

From Mauricio Kagel's script: "For the cameraman, the following are available throughout the shooting: black buckled shoes, dark grey breehes, light grey breeches, light grey gloves, two black full-length sleeves decorated with lace, a hat, various hearing trumpets, manuscript-like notepaper, a conversation book for occasional scribbles, writing materials".
Vienna Express Vienna -Bonn - Hoek van Holland
Beethoven's house, music room: "The note-heads form an almost regular carpet pattern, with inexplicable accumulations. Ceilings, walls, floor and all furniture and objects are covered with His music. In close-ups, ensure that the notation is always legible".
"His music will sound as if He could still hear it in 1826. Pretty badly."
"Beethoven's house, living room: The whole set-up should seem like mediocre frippery for visitors; here, the metal panelling of the living room is an act of multiple musealising."
"Beethoven's house, children's room: Everything in this room is changed so that there are no right angles within the entire set."
"Beethoven's house, bathroom: one hundred busts made of fat or marzipan covered in chocolate are piled up in a bathtub filled to the brim with water."
"Beethoven's house, garden: so many clotheslines that the washing and clothing hung on them seem like an accumulated laundry-fury from past centuries."
Sentimental journey along the Rhine of the steamship Cecilia.
Parody tv panel: "Is Beethoven being abused?" Mauricio Kagel (Argentine), Otto Tomek (Austria), Victor Staub (Switzerland), José Montes (Spain), Heinz-Klaus Metzger (Germany) - host: Werner Höfer. A main abuser: Karajan!
Pseudo-scientific examination of playing Beethoven: "Interpretative energetics. Some of the 112 concepts (curves): muscular tension, exertion of the will, pulse beat, inappropriate usage, climactic states of tension, recording of rump movements, professional ailments, pneumatic capsules, unmusicality, recognition, conservatory, regrettable facts, inner clarity, sound shadings, subjective surveyability, skeletal support, non-measurable reproducibility, blood circulation, coordinating occupation neuroses, real spasm, experimental real time, demonic acoustic impression."
A very old woman (Linda Klaudius-Mann) plays Beethoven.
"Zoo sequence: apes, camels, and elephants. For this: prisoners' chorus from Fidelio."
"This film is truly a report."

In the beginning there is a subjective camera. We follow Ludwig's footsteps in contemporary Bonn and make a tour of his house. The film then switches into a free essay mode, with a tv debate on the "abuse" of Beethoven, a meeting of Ludwig's farmer descendant on a field, and pseudo-scientific excursions.

Dada poetry and imagery in a spoof essay on Beethoven. A great sense of play, a wonderful sense of humour. Musically, it's a twisted compilation as it might have been heard by the deaf maestro, himself.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DocPoint Festival Programme 2010

10 FINNISH DOCUMENTARY CLASSICS
Orpojen joulu / Christmas in Distance (Anu Kuivalainen, FI 1994)
Pölynimurikauppiaat / Suckers (John Webster, FI 1993)
Kaupunkisinfonia / Symphony in the City (Heikki Ahola, FI 1995)
No Comments (Lasse Naukkarinen, FI 1984)
Atman (Pirjo Honkasalo, DE/FI 1996)
Elämän äidit / Mothers of Life (Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio, FI 2002)
Lenin-setä asuu Venäjällä / Uncle Lenin Lives in Russia (Kanerva Cederström, Riikka Tanner, FI 1987)
Sijainen / Proxy (Antti Peippo, FI 1989)
Karkotetut / The Banished (Visa Koiso-Kanttila, FI 1997)
Valkoinen taivas / The White SKy (Susanna Helke, Virpi Suutari, FI 1998)

NEW FINNISH DOCUMENTARY FILMS
Ikuisesti sinun / Forever Yours (Mia Halme, FI 2011)
Hiljaa toivotut / Silent Longing (Timo Haanpää, FI 2011)
Sielunpelastajat / Saving Souls (Saku Pollari, FI 2010)
Sinkkuelämän säännöt / Rules of Single Life (Tonislav Hristov, FI 2010)
Boheemi elää / Bohemian Eyes (Janne Kuusi, FI 2010)
People in White (Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, NL/FI 2010)
Salla - Selling the Silence (Markku Tuurna, FI 2010)
Play God (Teemu Nikki, FI 2010)
Leikkipuisto / Playground (Susanna Helke, FI 2010)
Kinbaku - sielun solmuja / Kinbaku - Art of Bondage (Jouni Hokkanen, FI 2009)
Lohikäärmeranta / The Dragon Beach (Aada Sigurlina Niilola, Waimar Nyunt, FI/DK 2010)

AHO & SOLDAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: PEKKA LEHTO
Jaettu kaupunki / Divided City (FI 2010)
V.O.I.T.K.A. - metsän veljet / V.O.I.T.K.A. - Forest Brothers (FI/DE/EE 2004)
Tango Kabaree / Tango Cabaret (FI 2001)
The Real McCoy (FI 1998)
Kaivo / The Well (FI 1992)
Temppeli / The Temple (FI 1991)
Yksinteoin. / Alone (FI 1990)

NORTH BY NORTHEAST - FILMS FROM THE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
Kihnu kosjad / Kihnu Wooing (Meelis Muhu, EE 2009)
Kihnu pulm / Kihnu Wedding (Meelis Muhu, EE 2009)
We Need Happiness (Alexei Jankwski, Aleksandr Sokurov, FR/RU 2010)
Gimenes lietat / Family Instinct (Andris Gauja, LV 2010)
Gud blessi Island / God Bless Iceland (Helgi Felixson, IS/SE/DE 2009)
Vodkafabriken / Vodka Factory (Jerzy Sladkowski, SE 2010)
Hleb dlia ptici / Bread for Bird (Aleksandra Strelyanaya, RU 2010)
Kawalek lata / A Piece of Summer (Marta Minorowicz, PL 2010)
Tussilago (Jonas Odell, SE 2010)
Inwentaryzacja / Inventory (Pawel Lozinski, PL 2010)
Kontroll / Control (Hanne Myren, NO 2009)

MEET THE MASTER: STEFAN JARL
Modstrilogin: Dom kallar oss mods / They Call Us Misfits (& Jan Lindqvist, SE 1968)
Modstrilogin: Ett anständigt liv / A Decent Life (SE 1979)
Modstrilogin: Det sociala arvet / From Misfits to Yuppies (SE 1993)
Själen är större än världen / The Soul Is Greater Than the World (SE 1985)
Hotel Uhkkádus / Threat (SE 1987)
Terrorister: en film om dom dömda / Terrorists: The Kids They Sentenced (& Lukas Moodysson, SE 2003)
Underkastelsen / Submission (SE 2010)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The King's Speech

Kuninkaan puhe / The King's Speech. GB/AU/US © 2010 UK Film Council / Speaking Film Foundation. PC: See Saw Films / Bedlam Productions. EX: Paul Brett, Mark Foligno, Geoffrey Rush, Tim Smith, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein. P: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin. D: Tom Hooper. SC: DAvid Seidler. DP: Danny Cohen - shot on 35 mm: Super 35 - digital intermediate 2k: Molinare - 1,85:1. PD: Eve Stewart. Cost: Jenny Beavan. Makeup and hair: Karen Cohen, Nana Fischer. M: Alexandre Desplat. The major music motifs are from Mozart and Beethoven. Mozart: The Overture to La Nozze di Figaro (the king's rehearsal spoken on the test record). Beethoven: Symphony no. 7 in A Major: Allegretto (the king's speech). Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5: Second Movement. S: Lee Walpole. ED: Tariq Anwar. Studio: Elstree. Loc: London. CAST: Colin Firth (King George VI), Helena Bonham Carter (Queen Elizabeth), Geoffrey Rush (Lionel Logue), Guy Pearce (King Edward VIII / Edward, Duke of Windsor), Michael Gambon (King George V), Timothy Spall (Winston Churchill), Jennifer Ehle (Myrtle Logue), Derek Jacobi (Archbishop of Canterbury), Anthony Andrews (Stanley Baldwin), Eve Best (Wallis Simpson), Freya Wilson (Princess Elizabeth), Ramona Marquez (Princess Margaret), Claire Bloom (Queen Mary). 118 min. A FS Film release with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Katja Paananen / Saliven Gustavsson (Shakespeare quotes from Paavo Cajander / Carl Hagberg) viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, Helsinki, 22 Jan 2011 (weekend of Finnish premiere).

A strong drama based on a true story. The King's Speech belongs to the tradition of stories about handicapped people (such as The Miracle Worker), only this time the handicapped man is a prince who becomes the king against his will.

I had seen the preview several times, and it was a rare preview that I was always looking forward to. The film itself is of an equally high quality.

The dramatization is excellent, and there is a constant sense of drama and tragic depth in the story, treated with wit and a sense of humour. The fear of the microphone is at the center of the movie, and one can see The King's Speech as a horror story with the microphone as the monster. There is nothing trivial in this, and the overwhelming reason for the cowardly king (who is "afraid of his own shadow") to overcome his fear is that there is a real monster ascending in Europe, Hitler, a wizard of the microphone.

Colin Firth gives a career-best performance as the coward who is determined to transcend his own limitations. Constantly humiliated, he never gives up. The film is also a showcase for Geoffrey Rush as the speech instructor. Helena Bonham Carter excels as the source of love for George. The glimpses of Claire Bloom as Queen Mary and Michael Gambon as King George V let us divine a loveless childhood for the prince.

The King's Speech is a personal, intimate story, yet always with a sense of history. The British Empire was at its apogee, facing a crisis in the line of succession.

Lionel Logue is forbidden to discuss private matters, yet we sense that the source of George's stammer is in deep humiliation and lack of love (even malnutrition and a subsequent constant stomach trouble) since early childhood.

Lionel Logue has no credentials but he has learned his craft in the First World War when he got to treat shell-shocked soldiers who had lost the trust in their own voice.

The film may be conventional but it works. The climax, the King's first wartime speech, is visualized as a montage of the British Empire, the 63 countries (do I remember this accurately) attuned to listen. The sound brings separate spaces together in time.

Without the Battle of Britain Hitler might have won. Some aspects of history the film bypasses such as the naivety of Neville Chamberlain with Hitler in Munich in 1938. Apparently King Edward had similar tendencies or worse.

The print viewed was on the ugly side, with a speed-printed look.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Suomalaisen elokuvan tavoiteohjelma 2011-2015 / [The Master Development Plan of Finnish Cinema 2011-2015]

The Finnish Film Foundation celebrated the opening of the new film year at its premises on Kanavakatu 12, with speeches by Irina Krohn the CEO, Mari Kiviniemi the Prime Minister, and Pekka Karjalainen the film-maker. There was a show of the trailers of the year, and a short animation, Isän poika [The Father's Son]. Celebrated was also 2010, the most successful year audience-wise for Finnish films in cinema distribution in decades. Published was the master development plan of Finnish cinema 2011-2015, the third such plan in succession. The main points:
1. The public financing of Finnish films has substantially risen to 22 million Euro, and the goal is to reach the Nordic level of 33 million Euro.
2. A competitive production incentive model to be developed for foreign films shot in Finland.
3. A comprehensive digital cinema network.
4. Film to be included in the law about public broadcasting.
5. The reimbursement model of copying audiovisual works for private use is to be updated to match current technology.
6. Safeguarding national copyright.
7. Strengthening Finnish film export.
8. The status of Finnish cinema to be defended in the cultural agenda of the EU.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Madame de...

Salaperäiset korvarenkaat / De hemlighetsfulla örhängarna / Bröllopsgåvan [The Swedish title on print] / The Earrings of Madame de... FR/IT 1953. PC: Franco-London Films / Indusfilms / Rizzoli Film. P: Henri Deutschmeister. D: Max Ophuls. SC: Marcel Achard, Max Ophuls, Annette Wademant – based on the novel (1951) by Louise de Vilmorin. DP: Christian Matras. AD: Jean d’Eaubonne. Cost: Georges Annenkov, Rosine Delamare. M: Oscar Straus - themes by Giacomo Meyerbeer, W.A. Mozart - arranged by Georges van Parys. S: Antoine Petitjean. ED: Borys Lewin. Cast: Danielle Darrieux (Countess Louise de...), Charles Boyer (General André de...), Vittorio de Sica (Baron Fabrizio Donati), Mireille Perrey (nurse), Jean Debucourt (Rémy, the jeweler), Jean Galland (de Bernac), Hubert Noel (Henri de Malleville), Madeleine Barbulée (the friend of the Countess), Georges Vitray (journalist), Guy Favières (Julien), Lia di Léo (Lola). (99 min, 100 min, 102 min). A 99 min Svenska Filminstitutet - Filmarkivet print with Swedish subtitles and electronic subtitles in Finnnish by Lena Talvio viewed at Cinema Orion (History of the Cinema), Helsinki, 20 Jan 2011

Revisited the immortal masterpiece by Max Ophuls, also inspired by our Stanley Kubrick tribute. Ophuls was one of the great models for Kubrick who learned a lot from Ophuls about cinematography (the art of the moving camera, the joy of the cinema). Perhaps part of the Ophuls inspiration is also the fact that there is a waltz in every Kubrick film. Common to both is also a sense of sophisticated irony. But in Ophuls there is also always a sense of profound tenderness.

Madame de... gets better at each viewing. Its source is in lightweight entertainment, and it could be another variation of La Ronde, or one of those portmanteau films which follow cynically the course of an object with the aim of an entertaining cross-section story. Madame de... goes through these motions entertainingly enough but halfway through the movie we start to reach new levels of feeling. The main characters wake up to a deeper sense of life. We observe them trapped to the conventions of their social roles. Even the general confesses that he does not feel comfortable in the role he is being forced to play. All the characters are worldly yet unable to transcend their circumstances.

Peter von Bagh has analyzed Madame de... as a study in the fetishism of the commodity. And it indeed is a superior film from this viewpoint. The sublimation reaches its apogee towards the end when Madame de... just before her death endows her diamond earrings (originally the gift of her husband after their wedding night) to Virgin Mary.

Danielle Darrieux (born 1917 and still filming) is at her best in this film. She carries unforgettably the main role as the frivolous lady who discovers the gravity of life and faces tragedy with noble grandeur.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

250 grammaa / 250 Grams - a Radioactive Testament

250 gram. FI 1983. PC: P-Kino Oy. P+D: Pirjo Honkasalo & Pekka Lehto - based on the poem Efter flera tusen rad (1974, translated by Pentti Saaritsa) by Reidar Ekner. ED: Pirjo Honkasalo assisted by Eva Janíková. DP: Kari Sohlberg. M: Matti Bergström. S: Johan Hake, Paul Jyrälä. Make-up: Mila Niemi. AD: Pentti Valkeasuo. Interpreter: Kirsi Tykkyläinen. Production manager: Jaakko Talaskivi. Photographs: Lauri Tykkyläinen, Pirjo Honkasalo. Loc: Lastenlinna (Children's Castle Hospital, Helsinki) Cast: Nikita Mikhalkov (Max Sjöman) - voice: Heikki Määttänen, Vilma Melasniemi (Venla Sjöman), Tibor (the gladiator), Miss Nicole (the acrobat), Kari Sorvali (the doctor), Verna Melasniemi, Juho Milonoff ja Tuomas Milonoff (Venla's playmates), Niilo Ihamäki (tv commentator). 56 min. A print without subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (A Tribute to Pirjo Honkasalo), 19 Jan 2011

A fiction film inspired by a poem by the Swedish poet Reidar Ekner, whose daughter died of cancer. The core of the film is the story of architect Max Sjöman and her 9-year old daughter Venla who is diagnozed with brain cancer. They do everything they can to rescue Venla in realistic sequences shot in an actual children's cancer ward, and she wins one and a half years of a life in health. Max is played strongly by the great Russian star Nikita Mikhalkov with the voice of Heikki Määttänen (a strange solution but it works). Vilma Melasniemi (years later a well-known actress and singer) has an intensive presence already in this demanding and unforgettable child role.

There is a framing story about the building of a nuclear power plant, in which Max works as an architect. Max lets lay in the foundation a cylinder with a photograph of his deceased daughter.

Max is reminded that there was huge radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests in the Northern hemisphere in the early 1960s. The radioactivity is still alarming after over 20 years.

250 grams was released three years before Chernobyl. When the Chernobyl disaster took place I was in Berlin cycling around Wannsee and reading the papers I realized that I had already been exposed to many times more radioactive fallout in the early 1960s during those Northern nuclear tests. The first Russian expression I learned at school was "Novaya Zemlya" (the site of the detonation of the biggest nuclear bomb).

According to the Finnish National Filmography 250 grams only received 185 spectors on its cinema run. Its real audience it received on television. It was a rare privilege to see this strong movie on the big screen.

Vaaran merkki / The Sign of Danger

Varningssignalen / Die Organisation [the German title on print]. FI 1976. PC: 2P Production. P+D+SC+ED: Pirjo Honkasalo & Pekka Lehto. DP: Pertti Mutanen. M: Heikki Valpola. With: Pekka Siitoin. 516 m (16 mm) / 20 min. A 35 mm blow-up print (Deutsche Fassung) with commentary in German only and Finnish dialogue with German subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (A Tribute to Pirjo Honkasalo), 19 Jan 2011

A documentary film on Finnish Neo-Fascists of the 1970s and their Führer, Pekka Siitoin. The film comes incredibly close to the target. The Neo-Nazis, whose emblem is an inverted swastika, even let the filmmakers shoot them in the sauna! The Orion audience roared with laughter in disbelief. Pirjo Honkasalo and Pekka Lehto refrain to comment the revived slogans from the 1930s ("the best Russkie is a dead Russkie", "Commies and Jews ain't even human", "Hooray for Greater Finland") or the new ones ("Kekkonen to the concentration camp!"). There was a moment of silence at some of the forecasts: "the age of the Soviet Union lasts 73 years, and it will end in 1990"! "The wall will fall, and the Greater Germany will rise". The film ends with the trial against the Neo-Nazis who had committed arson on the Communist Kursiivi printing house. (I would have omitted the final image, a quote from Kekkonen stating that he refuses to be a president of Fascists.) - By accident the print screened was a German version, which, however, lent a special emphasis on the subject. The German commentary and the German speaker are quite good.

Ikäluokka / Their Age

Åldersklassen / Their Age [the English title on print]. FI 1976. PC: 2P Production. P+D+SC+ED: Pirjo Honkasalo & Pekka Lehto. DP: Pirjo Honkasalo. FX: Oskari Viskari. M: Heikki Valpola. S editor: Tuomo Kattilakoski. S: Pekka Lehto, Oskari Viskari, Paul Jyrälä. Graphic design: Sami Wirkkala. 460 m (16 mm) / 43 min. A print with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (A Tribute to Pirjo Honkasalo), 19 Jan 2011

Documentary. Revisited Pirjo Honkasalo and Pekka Lehto's fine debut film which I had not seen since its original release and which now felt much stronger. I could now appreciate more its Flahertyan value as the portrait of two craftsmen, the bootmaker Onni Nousiainen (then 70) and the blacksmith Toivo Niskanen (then 75), both born in the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire, remembering the 1918 tragedy, with a full five year war service in 1939-1944. Although the film was produced during a period of radical political idealism, there is no bias in this timeless quality production. The cinematography is gorgeous (original in 16 mm), and there is a fine sense of humour in the narrative.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mannerheim Jörn Donnerin kertomana Osa 3

Mannerheim, berättad av Jörn Donner Del 3 / [Mannerheim As Told by Jörn Donner Part 3]. Part 3 of a five-part non-fiction essay tv series FI 2011. PC: Jörn Donner Productions / Franck Media. D+SC: Jörn Donner. ED: Klaus Grabber. M: Pedro Hietanen. 57 min. YLE TV1 transmission watched from the YLE Areena internet site, 18 Jan 2011

Official presentation: "The chairman of the defense council Mannerheim anticipates the imminent great war. Finland is surprised by the attack of the USSR. A unanimous people defends itself under the leadership of Mannerheim and is forced to accept the compulsory peace of 1940."

The Parliament House is built. Svinhufvud is elected President. Mannerheim visits the ceremony on the occasion of the battle of Lützen. During Depression, Finland projects outwards a vigorous image of economic growth. Planning the Helsinki Olympics. The rise of Hitler (Triumph des Willens footage). The Berlin Olympics of 1936, the victories of Finns. Images on anti-semitistic terror. Mannerheim never spoke out about the terror, but "we have to be prepared for the end of the world". Hunting with Hermannn Göring. Tiger hunting in India. Mannerheim stamp issued 1937. 70th anniversary celebrated. His only official post was as chairman of the defense council. "The anniversary would become a strong anti-Bolshevist demonstration". On his anniversary, he is created War Marshal. The warm summer 1939. Few realized that Stalin and Hitler would become the worst mass murderers in history. The Molotov Ribbentrop pact. Hitler rapes Poland. Stalin wants his share. Poland disappears for a long while. Military excercises: Finland prepares for war. Defense lines are built on the Karelian Peninsula. The Aleksis Kivi statue is unveiled. Mannerheim had kept fighting for the defense budget. Negotiations with the USSR: demarcation lines in Karelia, a fort suggested in Hanko. Paasikivi returns from Moscow. Protecting the Zoological Museum. Reservists are called to service. Navy exercises. Winter images from Helsinki. Soviet troops concentrated on the border zone. Who helped Finland? Finland had a death-defying army, the public opinion of the world on its side, and Mannerheim. The 72 year old commander in chief let himself be photographed only once during the Winter War. Extended footage of the Road of Raate. The Suomussalmi village in ruins. A Soviet plane and tank as loot. The Winter War may not be unique, but a heroic tale it is. The world press comes to Finland: a David vs. Goliath story. An extended chunk from Friends of Finland present: Finland Fights! (Saarinen, Sibelius, payment of debts, Nurmi). Devastating Soviet casualties. Molotov cocktails. The individual counted: Simo Häyhä. Would Finland survive? Sweden refused to help British troops enter Finland. Moscow Peace Treaty 1940. Väinö Tanner speaks. Finns leave Vyborg. Solemn funeral ceremonies. Finland was the only warfaring country which sent all the bodies of the deceased back home. "I have never seen warriors like you". Mannerheim became the symbol of the country's survival as an independent nation.

Van Gogh (Alain Resnais 1948)

FR 1948. PC: Panthéon. P: Pierre Braunberger. Arr: Claude Hauser. D: Alain Resnais. SC and idea: Gaston Diehl, Robert Hessens. DP: Henry Ferrand. Commentary read by: Claude Dauphin. M: Jacques Besse. ED: Serge Lachin. FX: Henry Ferrand. B&w. 19 min. A 16 mm print with electronic subtitles in Finnish by Eeva Puttonen and Lena Talvio screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (A Tribute to Alain Resnais), 18 Jan 2011

Revisited the first film directed by Alain Resnais, already a masterpiece, a homage to a great artist by another great artist. Resnais did not invent this concept, credited to Luciano Emmer, of making a film about art by keeping totally within the frame of the painting, never trespassing its boundary. The camera is, naturally, free to move within the painting. By this method Resnais creates a portait of Van Gogh of exemplary power. There have been many good movies on Van Gogh but never a more powerful than this. I don't know whether Emmer and Resnais have had successors, but this would still seem to be an inspiring model. I would like to see a film on Schjerfbeck made like this. Amazingly, Van Gogh was shot in black and white, and seeing this again I tried to imagine a colour remake. But the black and white nature brings an original angle to the story with more emphasis on the rhythm of the strokes and the graphic quality of the images. Even more surprisingly, it did not essentially hurt that the print was 16 mm.

Taulukauppiaat / The Painting Sellers

FI 2010. PC: Elokuvayhtiö Oy Aamu Ab. P: Jussi Rantamäki, Auli Mantila. D: Juho Kuosmanen. SC+DP: J-P Passi - shot on Super 16 mm - 35 mm print processed as a Cinevator print from a HD master - 16:9. S: Pietu Korhonen. ED: Jussi Rautaniemi. DD. Cast: Teppo Manner (Toni), Tuomas Airola (Emppu), Auli Mantila (Luukkonen, a painter). 58 min. Distributed by Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus. A SES screener dvd with English subtitles by Anne Aho viewed at home, 18 Jan 2011

Taulukauppiaat has been nominated for five Jussi Awards (best picture, director, female lead, screenplay, and art direction), but I had not yet seen the film that only received a limited release.

Taulukauppiaat has already won the Cinéfondations prize in the Cannes Film Festival.

The official presentation:
"It's almost Christmas, but sales are no good.
There are cracks in the collaboration, and it's freezing all the time, but never mind.
The biggest problem, you know, is how to cope with an emerging friendship"

A wintry road movie about three losers, a painter (Auli Mantila), a young driver (Teppo Manner) and a salesman (Tuomas Airola) who try to make ends meet in the countryside of Northern Finland. There are affinities with the films by Matti Ijäs, and the Kaurismäki Brothers. The vision of the cold and windy periphery is captured via a handheld camera in cinéma vérité style. We really get to see a lot of the vapour of the people breathing in the cold. The painter fears cancer. The film deals with big issues of mortality, marginalization, and loneliness. The memorable final encounter of Luukkonen and Toni at the restaurant testifies about the power of friendship.

Juho Kuosmanen reports in an e-mail today that the low contrast look of the movie is intentional.

Vähän kunnioitusta / Gimme Some Respect

FI © 2010 Meguru Production. P: Riikka Poulsen. D+S: Pekka Karjalainen. SC: Leena Virtanen - based on an idea by Sami Helle, Sirkka Leikola, Pekka Karjalainen, Leena Virtanen. DP: Heikki Färm - 2,35. AD: Tytti Tiri. Cost: Riitta Röpelinen. Make-up: Riikka Virtanen. M: Heikki Silvennoinen, Pekka Karjalainen. ED: Kauko Lindfors. Cast: Outi Kero (Siiri), Elena Leeve (Suski), Asko Vaarala (Santeri), Kari-Pekka Toivonen (Pate), Svante Martin (Henri), Aapo Ahtola (Pätkä), Sami Helle (Sauli), Heikki Hela (Siiri's father), Lauri Nurkse (social security officer). 91 min. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Finland). A SES screener dvd with English subtitles viewed at home, 18 Jan 2011

The film was developed during four years in a workshop of The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Kehitysvammaliitto).

Vähän kunnioitusta has been nominated for a Jussi Award for the best male supporting role (Asko Vaarala), and I had missed this film that was released in the summer.

Good drama is about encounter, dramatizing an encounter, and this film is about disabled people facing  the world of so-called "normal people". Long in gestation, the film has an educational agenda, each character and episode with a meaning. The film is not patronizing. What I like about the film is that it helps understand life better, more richly, in its variations. The screenplay, the direction and the performances are sensitive. The film does not avoid embarrassing truths about how the disabled can be vulnerable to sexual abuse, and there is a traumatic rape scene early on. In the home for the disabled Pate (Kari-Pekka Toivonen) represents a modern, permissive stance. Henri (Svante Martin) is a representative of the old guard. Henri's insensitive intervention into the relationship of Siiri (Outi Kero) with the guard Santeri (Asko Vaarala) results in their separation. The film is remarkable in letting real disabled people perform. Besides, Elena Leeve creates another bold and gripping performance, here as the sexually wild Suski, born normal, having become disabled in a swimming accident. Kari-Pekka Toivonen is in fine form as the boss of the home for the disabled.

The most poignant image in a Finnish film of 2010: a Sex and the City poster on Suski's wall. For some Sex and the City is a satire, for others, a model.

The most powerful scene in a Finnish film of 2010: Henri's address to Santeri, crushing the delicate relationship between the young beyond repair.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Arthur Schnitzler: Traumnovelle (a novella)

Dream Story. Originally published as a serial in seven issues of the ladies' journal Die Dame (Berlin) in 1925-1926. As a book by S. Fischer, 1926. Read in the 9. Edition, Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, 1999

Inspired by revisiting Eyes Wide Shut I read again also Arthur Schnitzler's novella to which the film is remarkably faithful. Especially the final exchange between the doctor and his wife is taken directly from Schnitzler: "So gewiss, als ihn ahne, dass die Wirklichkeit einer Nacht, ja dass nicht einmal die eines ganzen Menschenlebens zugleich auch seine innerste Wahrheit bedeutet." "Und kein Traum", seufzte er leise, "ist völlig Traum".

Important changes include: in the film, the wife is a professional with an independent career. In the book, she is a housewife who has had to marry early.

The book takes place in contemporary Vienna, the film in contemporary New York.

The book takes place during Fasching, the carnival time in late February, also a time of early signs of spring, with masked balls, devil masks, and playing with paganity. The film takes place during the week before Christmas.

In the book the masked sex ball has a Christian religious theme, the participants dressed as monks and nuns (Vienna of course is a Catholic city), and old Italian spiritual music is played (mixed gradually with secular music). In the film the masquerade is conducted as devil worship. Jocelyn Pook's "Masked Ball" "incorporates a fragment of an Orthodox Liturgy played backwards and lyrics sung (or chanted) in Romanian" (English Wikipedia).

The names have been changed, but the name of the pianist Nachtigall has been translated directly into Nightingale.

In the book the doctor and the pianist Nachtigall are Jews who have to endure anti-semitism. In the film they aren't: that was Kubrick's express wish to screenwriter Frederic Raphael. Kubrick wanted the doctor to become a Harrison Ford type, and indeed, the doctor was named Harford! The doctor now has to endure a homophobic insult instead of an anti-semitic one.

There is a hint in the book that also the women in the sex party belong to high society. The woman who warns the doctor and dies the day afterwards is called Baroness Dubieski, although it's a pseudonym. (It is not absolutely certain that she is the woman the doctor meets at the masked ball.) In the film the women are de luxe callgirls.

In the book, Dubiesky commits suicide by overdosing on morphine. In the film, the drug addict Mandy dies from an overdose. About both we can deduce that they finance their expensive addiction by highly paid services.

There is no counterpart in the book to the figure of Ziegler (Sydney Pollack). In the book we don't know Marianne's family name. In the film she is Marion Nathanson.

Arthur Schnitzler, himself, was a doctor who kept a dream diary all his life. Ten volumes of his diaries have been published. The scene chez Marianne / Marion is an account of classical transference: her father has died, and she declares her love to the doctor, who substitutes the father in her psyche. These secrets of the soul may seem incredible to those who have not experienced them personally.

In the movie the streetwalker Domino is diagnosed HIV positive. In the book Mizzi has been taken to a hospital for a long time treatment when the doctor would like to present her wine and flowers. (In both the book and the movie the encounters have been platonic).

Screen sirens singing

One of my favourite radio programmes is "Lauantain toivotut levyt" [The Saturday Wish Records], which started in 1935 and is the oldest continuous Finnish radio programme and one of the oldest radio programmes globally. The first half is dedicated to classical music and the second half to popular music. There are certain tracks that have in our country a special identity as a record likely to be heard in this particular programme from time to time. One such legendary record is "Warum?" sung by Miliza Korjus to the poem of Goethe, composed by Theo Mackeben originally for the motion picture Der Student von Prag (1935 version). It resonates in a special way as a record much listened to during the war years in our country. As a film scholar fond of Siegfried Kracauer's book From Caligari to Hitler I hear in this song aspects of a dignified German tradition that was almost crushed during the Nazi era. One of the earliest films discussed by Kracauer in his book is Der Student von Prag (the 1913 version), a horror film warning about our dark side. A pact with the devil can make a murderer out of an ordinary, decent man. "Warum?" is a song against brutalization.

Among the delights of the programme is the discovery of how many favourite music tracks are film-related. Well-known film theme songs resonate in a new way in this context. But there are also fine songs that have lasting value although the film itself may now be less known (at least I've never seen Boy on a Dolphin directed by Jean Negulesco in Greece)

In the first category in my inner soundtrack is now playing:
Marilyn Monroe: River Of No Return (Lionel Newman, Ken Darby) (1952)

And in the second category:
Sophia Loren & Tonis Maroudas - Ti 'ne afto pou to lene agapi (sung in Greek) (Takis Panagiotis Morakis, Gianis Ioanis Fermanoglou) (from the motion picture Boy on a Dolphin, 1957)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Morning Glory

Morning Glory / Morning Glory. US © 2010 Paramount Pictures. P: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk. D: Roger Michell. SC: Aline Brosh McKenna. DP: Alwin H. Kuchler - shot on 35 mm, anamorphic Panavision - digital intermediate: Company 3 - 2,35:1. PD: Mark Friedberg. Cost: Frank L. Fleming. Makeup: Mindy Hall. Hair: Tarsha Marshall. M: David Arnold. ED: Daniel Farrell, Nick Moore, Steven Weisberg. Cast: Rachel McAdams (Becky Fuller), Harrison Ford (Mike Pomeroy), Diane Keaton (Colleen Peck), Jeff Goldblum (Jerry Barnes), Ty Burrell (Paul McVee), Patrick Wilson (Adam Bennett), Patti D'Arbanville (Becky's mother). 109 min. Released in Finland by Finnkino with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik / Marko Hietikko. 2k DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 3, Helsinki, 15 Jan 2011

“The world has been debating news vs. entertainment for years, and guess what? You lost!” This is the background idea of this entertainment film. The world has changed since The Network and The Broadcast News, and Morning Glory is a comedy about the desperate fight to keep the morning television news programme Daybreak afloat as entertainment. Daybreak is under threat to be cancelled and replaced with soap opera and game shows, but would that make a big difference?

The story is served as audience-pleasing entertainment. We have the legendary veteran investigative journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) who has been fired and who can't help being cast as co-host of the morning news programme, which he does his best to sabotage. The female host (Diane Keaton) seems to have resigned into the infotainment mode. Mike Pomeroy has been the model of integrity and professionalism for Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams), now his boss, who has to cajole him to play along with the banal new world of the media. "Gravity leavens the silliness of morning tv", mutters Pomeroy.

The film-makers are expert audience-pleasers (Roger Michell directed Notting Hill, Aline Brosh McKenna wrote The Devil Wears Prada). In Morning Glory the focus of the satire is blurred because of their audience-pleasing motivations. It is remarkable that in a film about television news we never hear any substantial news theme being discussed, although we live in a time of devastating global news issues. There is a lot of talent involved, and they could have achieved a great movie.

I have no complaints with the DCP.

PS 17 Jan 2011. Upon reflection the feature of Morning Glory I like best is its account of leadership.  Becky seems very uncertain on her first day at the office but she immediately takes charge and fires the worst troublemaker, the current male anchor, to save the workplace atmosphere. I find in this much that is authentic and relevant.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vares - pahan suudelma / The Kiss of Evil

Vares - ondskans kyss. FI © 2011 Solar Films. P: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. D: Anders Engström. SC: Katariina Souri, Mika Karttunen, Anders Engström - based on the novel Pahan suudelma (1998) by Reijo Mäki. DP: Jari Mutikainen - HD Post - Generator Post. AD: Betsy Ångerman-Engström. Cost: Marjatta Nissinen. Make-up: Hannele Herttua. M: DJ Slow, Samuli Laiho. Selections from Wigwam (1975). S: Panu Riikonen. ED: Mikko Sippola. LOC: Turku. Cast: Antti Reini (Jussi Vares, private eye), Anu Sinisalo (Laila), Mikko Nousiainen (Lahtipoika, hitman), Outi Mäenpää (Asta Malmstén), Jasper Pääkkönen (Kyypakkaus, drug addict), Ilkka Heiskanen (Inspector Hautavainio), Mikko Leppilampi (Ruuhio, tabloid journalist), Maria Järvenhelmi (Anna, taxi driver and exotic dancer), Eppu Salminen (Luusalmi, writer of detective novels), Matti Onnismaa (reverend Alanen), Ville Virtanen (Arto, professor at the university), Iina Kuustonen (Tuikku, student), Svante Martin (Paavo Keinonen), Johanna Kerttula (Riitta Vuorela), Rea Mauranen (Riihimäki), Misa Lommi (Kerttu), Camilla Adolfsson (Pirkko). 90 min. A Nordisk Film (Finland) release with Swedish subtitles by Markus Karjalainen viewed at Kinopalatsi 7, Helsinki, 14 Jan 2011

Since 1986 Reijo Mäki has published 21 best-selling books on the private detective Jussi Vares, and Solar Films has produced two popular films (2004, 2007) based on them, directed by Aleksi Mäkelä and starring Juha Veijonen.

Now Solar Films relaunches the Vares series. Six films have been shot, and The Kiss of Evil is released first.

The early Vares movies were comedy action films. The Kiss of Evil is more like the current Swedish, German and British thrillers, and the new Vares films are also meant for an international audience. In Finland, The Kiss of Evil brings also to mind memories of the Inspector Palmu series (four films in the 1960s), the most popular and highly regarded Finnish crime film series.

The Kiss of Evil is more character-driven than the early Vares films, and Anders Engström creates good moments of ensemble playing among his talented cast. There are moments of relaxed humoristic observation in the movie. Although Vares is a single man, he is not a lonely wolf, and friendship is important in the stories. Six people get killed, but there is no gratuitous emphasis on violence.

Antti Reini as the private detective Vares is a bohemian and a barfly, like a fish out of water among the high society, but never losing his self-confidence.

Often in crime entertainment the police are depicted as clowns, but in The Kiss of Evil Inspector Hautavainio (Ilkka Heiskanen) and his colleagues get a reasonably fair treatment, although of course they need Vares to solve the crime.

Also often in crime entertainment criminals are glamorized, but this time they are portrayed realistically. Mikko Nousiainen creates a fearsome and pathetic hitman. Jasper Pääkkönen the heartthrob actor excels again in portraying a loser figure from the underworld. A third heartthrob, Mikko Leppilampi, plays a sleazy tabloid journalist.

The weak area of the film is the high society, the shipowner family among which the crime takes place. It would not be accurate to call this a caricature, rather we are served cliché imagery about the bourgeoisie recycled from countless other crime stories. Despite the fatally underwritten roles Anu Sinisalo excels in the female lead, commanding every scene she's in. Outi Mäenpää is irrepressible as always. Svante Martin suffers in the background. The talented Ville Virtanen risks being typecast in neurotic and twisted authority figure roles. It would be nice to see him play a relaxed and easygoing fellow for a change. But maybe he himself likes to play these weird characters. Iina Kuustonen is attractive as the young student, the latest in line of young beauties seduced by the professor.

Visually The Kiss of Evil is a typical transition film. The drawbacks of the digital cinematography or the digital intermediate are obvious in aerial shots, long shots, action scenes and night scenes. The close-ups are fine.

The Vares stories take place in the city of Turku. The bars frequented by Vares (Uusi Apteekki, Wanha Rahtilaiva) are real. But nobody speaks in the Turku dialect. Turku / Åbo is bilingual, but although Anders Engström is a Finnish Swedish director (born in Finland, living in Stockholm), no Swedish is spoken.

Soundtrack selections beyond the jump break:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut / Eyes Wide Shut. US / GB © 1999 Warner Bros. EX: Jan Harlan. P+D: Stanley Kubrick. SC: Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael - based on the novella Traumnovelle (1926) by Arthur Schnitzler. DP: Larry Smith. AD: John Fenner. FX: Garth Inns. Cost: Marit Allen. Make-up: Robert McCann. M: György Ligeti, Musica Ricercata II: Mesto, rigido e cerimoneale; Franz Liszt, Nuages gris; W.A. Mozart, Rex Tremendae from Requiem, Dmitri Shostakovich, Waltz from Jazz Suite 2. "Naval Officer", "Masked Ball", "The Dream", "Migrations" (Jocelyn Pook, perf. Jocelyn Pook and Electra Strings),  ED: Nigel Galt. S: Paul Conway. Cast: Tom Cruise (William 'Bill' Harford), Nicole Kidman (Alice Harford), Madison Eginton (Helena Harford), Jackie Sawiris (Roz), Sydney Pollack (Victor Ziegler), Leslie Lowe (Illona Ziegler), Peter Benson (band leader), Todd Field (Nick Nightingale), Michael Doven (Ziegleri's secretary), Sky Dumont (Sandor Szavost), Louise J. Taylor (Gayle), Stewart Thorndike (Nuala Windsor), Randall Paul (Harris), Julienne Davis (Amanda 'Mandy' Curran), Lisa Leone (Lisa), Kevin Connealy (Lou Nathanson), Marie Richardson (Marion Nathanson), Thomas Gibson (Carl Thomas), Mariana Hewett (Rosa) Abigail Good (mystery woman). 158 min. A Warner Bros. Finland vintage release print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Eirik Udd screened at Cinema Orion (A Tribute to Stanley Kubrick), Helsinki, 12 Jan 2011

In the presence of Jan Harlan, with a Q & A afterwards. 1. "Executive producer" means nothing. Eyes Wide Shut was 30 years in the making. Originally it was meant to be a black and white arthouse film starring Woody Allen. Everybody is an expert on the subjects of the film: jealousy and sexual fantasy. Kubrick had been planning a Holocaust film, but then Spielberg made Schindler's List. He was planning A.I. but then decided it, too, would be better for Spielberg. Eyes Wide Shut was a torment to make, and the final result split the audience. All works of art are difficult, because they present something new, thought through by the artist. Eyes Wide Shut was slightly ahead of its time. 2. Why does the film have lasting value? Because it is real, it does not age. It is not irrelevant. Many have been offended by K. films at first: Paths of Glory was banned in France, Dr. Strangelove was seen as "anti-American", 2001 A Space Odyssey was a disaster with older generations. There is no such thing as certainty. Hardly anybody trusted in Titanic. 3. Details are important. Eyes Wide Shut is partly a dream, and the names of streets had to be invented for legal reasons. Names can be minefields. Mostly Eyes Wide Shut was shot in the Pinewood Studios. The paintings are by Christiane Kubrick and Katharine Hobbs. Sometimes compromises are necessary: K. used the Schubert trio in Barry Lyndon although it was composed 30 years later than the events portrayed. 4. With Eyes Wide Shut the actual production took three years of our life. I cannot be objective, but I am very fond of the Napoleon project, which we launched in 1969. I had known K. via my sister, already in New York, but during the Napoleon project I really got to know Stanley. - Jan told also that the Shostakovich waltz was discovered by K. for the film. It was not well-known previously.

Eyes Wide Shut keeps growing with the years.

1. During the first run Tom Cruise's performance struck me as slightly wooden and absent-minded. Now I accept it as a portrait of a man who is a stranger in his own life. A sleepwalker, but not a zombie.

2. I was confused as I expected Eyes Wide Shut to be an erotic film. I was not impressed with the women that looked like nude models from men's magazines, including even Nicole Kidman, whose performance I otherwise appreciated. Now I find Eyes Wide Shut an erotic odyssey in the meaning of Irrweg, taking a misleading path, following a mirage.

3. Jan Harlan said yesterday that the "orgy" was actually a vision of modern hell. And yes, quite explicitly, it is an erotic mass as a spectacle of devil worship.

4. Eyes Wide Shut the title refers in my opinion to dreaming. The dreamer closes ones eyes and "sees" more.

5. I think the final explanation of Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) is honest. Mandy did not sacrifice herself, and she died from an overdose. Yet one can pay attention to Ziegler's callous attitude. He has been using this drug-addicted prostitute for the purposes of his pleasures and does not seem to particularly regret her fate. I was thinking about the Marilyn Monroe story, the final evening, with Peter Lawford conducting a sex party at his villa while Marilyn died from an overdose. She was finally a piece of dead meat unclaimed by anyone.

6. Bill Harford is a doctor and not easily shocked, but the revelation of Ziegler's callousness "opens his eyes". Even in the finale I don't find he is really awake yet, but he is on his way to wake up. I don't think the Harfords will accept another invitation to one of Ziegler's parties.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures

Stanley Kubrick: ohjaajan muotokuva / Maailma Kubrickin silmin. GB © 2000 Warner Bros. P+D: Jan Harlan. DP: Manuel Harlan. ED: Melanie Viner-Cuneo. S: Manuel Harlan, Nigel Gait. Research: Marianne Bower, Camille DeBiase, Tom Gambale. Add phot: Vivian Kubrick. Narrator: Tom Cruise. With: Martin Short, Sybil Taylor, Alan Yentob, Brian Aldis, Woody Allen, Steven Berkoff, Wendy Carlos, Arthur C. Clarke, Alex Cox, Keir Dullea, Shelley Duvall, Jan Harlan, James B. Harris, Nicole Kidman, Anya Kubrick, Christiane Kubrick, Gert Kubrick, Katharina Kubrick, György Ligeti, Paul Mazursky, Malcolm McDowell, Jack Nicholson, Tony Palmer, Alan Parker, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Douglas Trumbull, Peter Ustinov. 144 min. A Jan Harlan digibeta screened at Cinema Orion (A Tribute to Stanley Kubrick), Helsinki, 11 Jan 2011

The opening of our Stanley Kubrick retrospective in the presence of Jan Harlan. Issues discussed in the Q & A after the documentary included: 1. K. was movie crazy, constantly watching films and telephoning young directors to give his feedback. 2. It was difficult for K. to be satisfied with his own films, yet he finally was, but it took a long time. Eyes Wide Shut was his favourite film, with the longest incubation, 30 years, for him the most difficult. 3. Screenwriting was not K's forte. He did write Napoleon, but he preferred to hire professional writers. K. used very little from Frederic Raphael. 4. How did K. select subjects? Slowly. For Napoléon he made extensive research, and it was very disappointing when MGM pulled the plug. The subject deep down was always the same - often about one person - the interest is human folly, how we are governed by our emotions. Even Napoleon was not able to overcome his folly. In K's view we are shovelling our own grave. We are self-destructive. Yet in his everyday life K was optimistic. He shot 8 mm films, usually about cats, and dogs, and children. During a film production he always stopped shooting when there was tennis in Wimbledon. 5. Dr. Strangelove was planned as a serious film about the nuclear arms race, but K. turned it into a comedy to underline the seriousness. There is no other film like it. Nor like 2001 - the only film about the unknowable. "There must be more" was K's idea. Most satisfied he was with Eyes Wide Shut. 6. Using existing classical music: there was a score for 2001, but he searched a theme that was big and that comes to an end, and that's how he selected Also sprach Zarathustra. He even liked its title. The Blue Danube he selected against everybody's advice, guided totally by instinct. 7. György Ligeti: Christiane Kubrick heard Ligeti on the radio, and they selected that music, and cleared the rights, but the legal department did not file it in the proper category (it was filed as "background music"). After Ligeti's remark the matter was immediately settled to everybody's satisfaction. The Shostakovich waltz for Eyes Wide Shut was selected months in advance. K. always had a waltz in his films, and for the last film he sought a waltz in a minor key, and thus the Shostakovich version of a French musette waltz was found. 8. K usually destroyed the outtakes. He did not want anyone to fiddle around with them. There are some 17 minutes of 2001 outtakes. They were deleted because the film was already very long anyway. 2001 A Space Odyssey was not understood by grown-ups. It was rescued by teenagers and young people. Eyes Wide Shut: there are outtakes in the lab, but there is no need to release them. There can be no different director's cut. For the U.S. ratings it was necessary to superimpose some images of voyeurs to the so-called "orgy" that is actually K's vision of a modern hell. 9. The shooting ratio was enormous, and so what, film is cheap. From 800.000 ft of negative a 12.000 ft film was cut. K. liked to conduct rehearsals with cameras running. The red light inspired discipline. Saving negative is not important for the budget. Most films disappear but K's don't. They have staying power. Eyes Wide Shut was initially a success only in the Mediterranean countries. 10. Fear and Desire was for K. not a film that counted. Even Spartacus was not really his kind of film.

Les Herbes folles

Wild Grass. Ranska / Italia © 2008 F Comme Film / StudioCanal / France 2 Cinéma / BIM Distribuzione. P: Jean-Louis Livi. D: Alain Resnais. SC: Alex Réval, Laurent Herbiet – based on the novel L'Incident (1996) by Christian Gailly. DP: Éric Gautier - digital post-production: Dig Cinéma. AD: Jacques Saulnier. Visual effects: Def2shoot. Special effects: Frédéric Moreau. Cost: Jackie Breton. Makeup: Delphine Jaffart. Hair: José Luis Casas. M: Marc Snow. S: Jean-Marie Blondel, Gérard Hardy, Gérard Lamps. ED: Hervé de Luze. Cast: Sabine Azéma (Marguerite Muir), André Dussollier (Georges Palet), Anne Consigny (Suzanne), Emmanuelle Devos (Josépha Bellotch), Mathieu Amalric (Bernard de Bordeaux), Michel Vuillermoz (Lucien d'Orange), Nicolas Duvauchelle (Jean-Mi), Sara Forestier (Elodie). 104 min. An Orly Films print with English subtitles by Ian [Barley?] viewed at Cinema Orion (Tribute to Alain Resnais), Helsinki, 11 Jan 2011

The most engaging Alain Resnais film in 30 years, since Providence. There is a sense of play all through this film, from the beginning to the end. Éric Gautier's dancing camera conducts us through the film that plays with the concepts of "character" and "narrative".  There is a fundamental feeling of imbalance in the main personae. It is difficult or impossible to relate to them in any conventional way. The colour gamut is bright and unrealistic but not garish. The digital intermediate look is obvious but not irritating. Alain Resnais' early films were all about gravity (Hiroshima, Holocaust). Les Herbes folles defies gravity.

Nominees for Jussi Awards 2010

Press release 11 Jan 2011: Jussi-ehdokkaat on valittu

Vuosi 2010 oli monella tapaa menestyksekäs ja historiallinen kotimaiselle elokuvalle. Modernin katsojatilastoinnin aikakaudella (vuodesta 1969) ylittyi ensimmäistä kertaa 2 miljoonan katsojan raja, kun kokonaiskatsojamäärä oli lähes 2,1 mijoonaa. Kotimaiset elokuvat veivät myös katsotuimpien elokuvien kaksi kärkisijaa. Ykkösenä Napapiirin sankarit yli 335 000 katsojalla ja toiseksi katsotuimpana Risto Räppääjä ja polkupyörävaras, liki 329 000 katsojaa saaneena.

Tätä hienoa elokuvavuotta juhlistetaan Jussi-palkinnoilla ja ehdokkuuksia saivat seuraavat elokuvat: Kohtaamisia (7 ehdokkuutta) ja Rare Exports (7), Napapiirin sankarit (6), Sisko tahtoisin jäädä (5), Taulukauppiaat (5), Paha perhe (3), Ito - kilvoittelijan päiväkirja (2), Reindeerspotting (2), Harjunpää ja pahan pappi (1), Miesten vuoro (1), Prinsessa (1), Täällä Pohjantähden alla II (1) ja Vähän kunnioitusta (1).

Alla ehdokkaat kategorioittain elokuvan nimen mukaisessa aakkosjärjestyksessä.

PARAS ELOKUVA / BEST PICTURE
Napapiirin sankarit - tuottaja Aleksi Bardy
Rare Exports - tuottaja Petri Jokiranta
Taulukauppiaat - tuottajat Auli Mantila ja Jussi Rantamäki

OHJAUS / DIRECTION
Kohtaamisia - Saara Cantell
Napapiirin sankarit - Dome Karukoski
Taulukauppiaat - Juho Kuosmanen

MIESPÄÄOSA / MALE STARRING
Harjunpää ja pahan pappi - Peter Franzén
Napapiirin sankarit - Jussi Vatanen
Paha perhe - Ville Virtanen

NAISPÄÄOSA / FEMALE STARRING
Kohtaamisia - Anneli Sauli
Prinsessa - Katja Küttner
Taulukauppiaat - Auli Mantila

MIESSIVUOSA / MALE SUPPORTING
Kohtaamisia - Sampo Sarkola
Napapiirin sankarit - Kari Ketonen
Vähän kunnioitusta - Asko Vaarala

NAISSIVUOSA / FEMALE SUPPORTING
Kohtaamisia - Meri Nenonen
Kohtaamisia - Johanna af Schultén
Sisko tahtoisin jäädä - Sara Melleri

KÄSIKIRJOITUS / SCREENPLAY
Napapiirin sankarit - Pekko Pesonen
Sisko tahtoisin jäädä - Marja Pyykkö ja Laura Suhonen
Taulukauppiaat - JP Passi

KUVAUS / CINEMATOGRAPHY
Kohtaamisia - Marita Hällfors
Paha perhe - Tuomo Hutri
Rare Exports - Mika Orasmaa

MUSIIKKI / MUSIC
Kohtaamisia - Sid Hille
Rare Exports - Juri Seppä ja Miska Seppä
Täällä Pohjantähden alla II - Jaakko Kuusisto

ÄÄNISUUNNITTELU / SOUND DESIGN
Ito - Kilvoittelijan päiväkirja - Joonas Jyrälä, Miia Nevalainen ja Panu
Riikonen
Rare Exports - Tuomas Seppänen, Timo Anttila ja Jussi Honka
Sisko tahtoisin jäädä - Panu Riikonen

LEIKKAUS / EDITING
Rare Exports - Kimmo Taavila
Reindeerspotting - Sadri Cetinkaya
Sisko tahtoisin jäädä - Mikko Sippola

LAVASTUS / ART DIRECTION
Paha perhe - Markku Pätilä
Rare Exports - Jalmari Helander
Taulukauppiaat - Juho Kuosmanen ja JP Passi

PUKUSUUNNITTELU / COSTUME DESIGN
Napapiirin sankarit - Anna Vilppunen
Rare Exports - Saija Siekkinen
Sisko tahtoisin jäädä - Tiina Kaukanen

DOKUMENTTIELOKUVA / DOCUMENTARY
Ito - Kilvoittelijan päiväkirja - Pirjo Honkasalo
Miesten vuoro - Joonas Berghäll ja Mika Hotakainen
Reindeerspotting - Joonas Neuvonen

Lopulliset voittajat valitsee Filmiaura ry:n jäsenistö suljetulla lippuäänestyksellä. Jussi-voittajat julkistetaan Jussi-juhlassa, joka järjestetään tänä vuonna sunnuntaina 6. helmikuuta. Nelonen televisioi tilaisuuden suorassa lähetyksessä klo 21 alkaen.

Jussi-patsaat vuoden parhaille pitkille kotimaisille elokuville jakaa elokuva-alan ammattilaisten yhdistys Filmiaura ry. Ensimmäiset Jussit jaettiin 16.11.1944. Vuonna 1944 perustettu Jussi-palkinto on tiettävästi Euroopan vanhin elokuvapalkinto.

Jussi-ehdokkaat nimeää asiantuntijaraati, jossa olivat tällä kertaa mukana tuottaja Hannu Tuomainen, ohjaaja JP Valkeapää, käsikirjoittaja Jan Forsström, näyttelijät Minna Haapkylä ja Jani Volanen, musiikintekijä Panu Aaltio, pukusuunnittelija Auli Turtiainen, lavastaja Anne Karttunen, kuvaaja Raimo Paananen, leikkaaja Joona Louhivuori, äänisuunnittelija Micke Nyström, elokuvakriitikko Matti Rämö sekä Filmiauran hallituksesta Mika Siltala (pj.), Manna Katajisto (vpj), Mikko Aromaa, Kalle Kinnunen, Toni Lähteinen ja Antti Selkokari. Filmiauran hallituksen jäsen Lasse Saarinen oli jäävi eikä osallistunut kokoukseen.

Lisätiedot Jussi-palkinnoista ja Filmiaurasta: www.jussit.fi

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jussi-palkinto/143420969042199?ref=ts
Lehdistötiedote 11.1.2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mannerheim Jörn Donnerin kertomana Osa 2

Mannerheim, berättad av Jörn Donner Del 2 / [Mannerheim As Told by Jörn Donner Part 2]. Part 2 of a five-part non-fiction essay tv series FI 2011. PC: Jörn Donner Productions / Franck Media. D+SC: Jörn Donner. ED: Klaus Grabber. M: Pedro Hietanen. 58 min. YLE TV1 transmission watched on 9 Jan 2011

Official presentation: "Having returned to Finland in 1918 Mannerheim has to create the army for 'white' Finland. The war of liberation turns into civil war. Mannerheim loses the presidential election and continues as a gray eminence. The 1930 peasant march brings him prominently back into sight".

Helsinki, January 1918: Mannerheim is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the White Army. He travels to Vasa, receives the Jägers (the Finns of the Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion). Under his command Red Tampere is defeated. The German forces under Rüdiger von der Goltz embark in Hanko. Mannerheim's stance towards the Germans is critical. The Whites establish 18 prison camps, red prisoners face executions, famine, and epidemics. This little brook, now in St. Petersburg, was the border between Finland and the Soviet Russia. Mannerheim has been promoted General of Cavalry in March. There is a plan to create Finland a monarchy, with a King from Germany. In the interregnum period Mannerheim is temporary Regent. Mannerheim tries to incite Finland to attack the Soviet Union. Yudenich expects support from Mannerheim and Finland, in vain. There are plans of a coup in circles around Mannerheim. At the Helsinki home of Mannerheim: Mannerheim never had a permanent home during his life. Mannerheim's stay in Hanko, divorce, affairs, keeping a café in the French style. Here Donner digresses to the Hanko occupation by the USSR 1940-1941. The travels in the 1920s, for instance in Karlsbad, meeting exile White Russians. Officially he was a private person who entertained in the best circles. The Peasant March in 1930, organized by the extreme right and financed by the big capital. Mannerheim was their star but he distanced himself from them. There is no evidence that Mannerheim supported military dictatorship. Mannerhim's only profession was that of the soldier. - The silent footage running at overspeed looks ridiculous.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Rautaa rajan taa

[Metal Across the Border]. FI © 2010 Films, Inc. PC: Excelsa Film. P+D+SC: Kalle Kujala. DP: Sakke Kantasalo. S: Roni Kantis. ED: Jenni Kantis. Featuring: Amorphis, Hanoi Rocks (Mike Monroe, Andy McCoy), Korpiklaani, Sonata Arctica, Diablo, Dauntless. Stand-up comedian: Joni Koivuniemi. Interviewees: Jone Nikula, Tuomas Holopainen, Eicca Toppinen, Mauri Pekkarinen, Päivi Räsänen, Stefan Wallin. 90 min. A 35 mm Finnkino print without subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (The Jussi Awards), Helsinki, 7 Jan 2011

A spoof documentary film about exporting Finnish heavy metal.

Heavy metal has been popular in Finland from the beginning, ca 1968, since the early days of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. In Finland the harbingers were acts like Charlies and Apollo. Bands like Jig-Saw, Alwari Tuohitorvi, Kalevala, and Kummitus were influenced by heavy metal. Sleepy Sleepers (the future The Leningrad Cowboys) played some heavy metal numbers. Hanoi Rocks had a serious international following. Ego Trip and Sarcofagus were keepers of the flame. Stone, Waltari, Sentenced, and Amorphis started the serious new rise. Stratovarius, Children of Bodom, Impaled Nazarene, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Lordi, HIM, Timo Rautiainen & Niskalaukaus, Ajattara, Mokoma, Kotiteollisuus, Sapattivuosi were important acts. Finnish heavy metal has had a consistent international following since decades now.

Finnish heavy metal is a juicy topic for a film, but Rautaa rajan taa stays on the surface. Kalle Kujala acts like a clown, making a spoof Michael Moore act of himself, harassing people and events. Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister for Culture Stefan Wallin, and Chairwoman of the Christian Democrats Päivi Räsänen are ridiculed. I hope Kalle Kujala would have rather chosen an all-out This Is Spinal Tap approach.

Myself, I'm not an expert, but I have listened to heavy metal on a man-of-the-street basis since 1968, and when I was seriously following the music video (1980-2004) I saw a lot of heavy metal videos and compilations. Taken literally, the lyrics are often ridiculous, and I think it is a good idea every now and then to ask how much sense does it make to promote devil worship. And what should one make of the Hitler salute in the end of the film, also prominent in the trailer. Without a sense of humour, however, the critics are likely to make themselves ridiculous, as happens to Päivi Räsänen here.

There is a digital video look in this picture, and mostly I had no quarrel with it.

I'm looking forward to better heavy metal documentaries.

PS 17 Jan 2011. Although an outsider in both, I am fond of both heavy metal and rap music. A year ago I was very interested to hear Mario Van Peebles deplore the current superficial stage of rap culture. (Instead of society the rappers get all worked up about shoes.) In The New York Review of Books (Jan 13-Feb 9, 2011), Dan Chiasson reviews a new tome called The Anthology of Rap (edited by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois, 867 pp.) and quotes Tricia Rose in her book The Hip Hop Wars: "Hip hop is not dead but it is gravely ill. The beauty and force of hip hop have been squeezed out, wrung nearly dry by the compounding factors of commercialism, distorted racial and sexual fantasy, oppression, and alienation".

The watchword in my opinion in the current development of both rap and heavy metal would be trivialization. In the great continuity of heavy metal the Gothic imagery is serious (though it may be simultaneously playful). Like horror movies, it deals with the great topics of death, madness, war, and destruction. It may be ludicrous and over the top but like in the Mexican day of the dead there is gravity underneath.

I would have expected Rautaa rajan taa to deal with trends of trivialization in heavy metal, the loss of gravity.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Episode Bico for Visions of Europe

FI/PT © 2004 Sputnik. P+D+SC+ED: Aki Kaurismäki. DP: Timo Salminen. M: Abel Alves. S: Jouko Lumme. 5 min. A PEK print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (A Tribute to Aki Kaurismäki), 5 Jan 2011

Aki Kaurismäki's visually most magnificent film with breathtaking views from the snowy mountains of Northern Portugal. The road was built to the village of Bico in the 1970s, and it took the young people away. There is a parallel to Las Hurdes, but there is no parody in Aki's film. It is a dignified account of the traditional way of life (cow rearing, sheep raising) facing modernity. Fine accordeon music by Abel Alves. The closest parallel to this picture is Ingmar Bergman's second documentary of his home island, Fårödokument 1979. A richly beautiful, finely nuanced, gorgeously photochemical print.

Revisited the beginning of the feature, Laitakaupungin valot / Harbor Lights. Laconic wit in Aki's delta blues version of the city of Helsinki.

Episode Dogs Have No Hell for Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet

FI 2002 © 2001 Sputnik. P+D+SC+ED: Aki Kaurismäki. DP: Timo Salminen, Olli Varja. AD: Markku Pätilä. S: Tero Malmberg. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 1. LOC: Helsinki. Cast: Markku Peltola (Man), Kati Outinen (Woman), Sulevi Peltola (The Man at the Tyre Dealer's), Kirsi Tykkyläinen (Ticket Seller), Aarre Karén (Goldsmith), Janne Hyytiäinen (Waiter), Pirkko Hämäläinen (Woman at the Restaurant), Ilkka Mertsola (Chef), Nadja Delcos (Cook), Pentti Haaparanta (Policeman), Tomi Taskila (Policeman), Kalevi Heinämaa (Drunk at the Police Station), Lauri Tomminen (Garageman), Olli Varja (Garageman), Marko Haavisto & Poutahankat (the band). 10 min. A PEK print in Finnish without subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (A Tribute to Aki Kaurismäki), 5 Jan 2011

Ten minutes to change one's life: the man (Markku Peltola) is released from prison, cashes his share from the tyre dealer company ("leaving everything for love"), proposes to the woman (Kati Outinen): "leave with me to Siberia", buys the wedding rings, buys the ticket to the Transsiberian Express, and remembers Fatherland as the train crosses the border. Quite an Aki Kaurismäki distillation, deadpan, compressed. There is a high contrast in the print viewed, probably intentional.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Veijarit / The Hustlers

Skojarna. FI © 2010 Bronson Club. EX: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. P: Jesse Fryckman. D: Lauri Nurkse. SC: Katri Manninen. DP: Henri Blomberg - shot on Super 16 mm - digital intermediate 2k: Post Control Helsinki Oy - colour - 2,35:1. AD: Christer Andersson. Cost: Ella Brigatti. Make-up: Mari Vaalasranta. M: Pessi Levanto. S: Vesa Meriläinen. Song list beyond the jump break. ED: Aleksi Raij. Loc: Helsinki. CAST: Mikko Leppilampi (Saku), Antti Luusuaniemi (Ässä), Pihla Viitala (Anna), Hennariikka Laaksola (Vilma), Malla Malmivaara (Rita), Ville Tiihonen (Alex), Leo Honkonen (Stefu), Eero Ritala (Panu), Sonya Lindfors (Eerika). 95 min. Released by Nordisk, this screening without intertitles, at Tennispalatsi 8, Helsinki, 4 Jan 2011
The credits roll in reverse in the end of the film. There is a reversal motif also in the graphic design of the film and its advertising.

The director Lauri Nurkse tells that Veijarit is a film about "arjensietokyvyttömyys" (= inability to tolerate everyday life) and about the Peter Pan complex. The main actor Mikko Leppilampi says it's about "kolkyttoistavuotiaat" (= thirtyeenagers = people of thirty behaving like teenagers).

An immediate reference point is the commedia all'italiana of the 1950s and the 1960s, the black comedy often exposing the infantile stage of development of the Italian male, as incarnated by Alberto Sordi, Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, and their colleagues. Sometimes there was a background of a deep mamma fixation, but there is no such explanation for Saku (Mikko Leppilampi) and Ässä (Antti Luusuaniemi). Saku is a successful AD and Ässä a weatherman. They share a large apartment and spend their evenings partying. They are well-known in the nightclubs, with a good score record, but scoring is not a big deal for them, which may be a factor in their success.

I am 55, so I am not qualified to judge the film's accuracy as a portrait of the thirtysomethings of today. But clearly this is a labour of love of the core team of Jesse Fryckman, Lauri Nurkse, Katri Manninen, Mikko Leppilampi, and Antti Luusuaniemi. Maybe there is even an ethnographic impulse to make a record of the trends and customs and fashions and figures of speech that keep changing so fast.

Saku and Ässä are anti-heroes, but we never fail to sense the humanity behind their shallow and crazy ways. Veijarit is a satire and a parody of a superficial way of life, but there is a vitality in the protagonists that we feel can lead them to a more meaningful stage of existence after the prolonged youth full of sound and fury. There is a motif of transcendence in the imagery of flying: will the balloons carry me or will they burst.

The digital intermediate look is obvious, most regrettably in the important aerial shots that convey the transcendent dimension.

There is an interesting dance and rhythm music score in the film.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Mannerheim Jörn Donnerin kertomana Osa 1

[Mannerheim As Told by Jörn Donner Part 1]. Part 1 of a five-part non-fiction essay tv series FI 2011. PC: Jörn Donner Productions / Franck Media. D+SC: Jörn Donner. ED: Klaus Grabber. M: Pedro Hietanen. 57 min. YLE TV1 transmission watched on 2 Jan 2011

Official presentation:  "A Lieutenant General is in Odessa in the year 1917, in the middle or at the end of his career. A man without a future?"

The film starts with a long shot of the equestrian statue of Mannerheim on the Mannerheim Street in Helsinki. "Why Mannerheim?" Jörn Donner's own commentary steers us through the story. We also hear excerpts from Mannerheim's memoirs. We visit Odessa, the Hotel London, the Odessa steps. In 1917 Mannerheim embarks a railway car of his own. "If I would make a fiction film about Mannerheim, I would select this episode". Lenin footage (authentic silent footage is shown with overspeed). Mannerheim and St. Petersburg: Mannerheim never authorized a Finnish attack against it during the siege of Leningrad. Mannerheim in Helsinki: few know him in Finland. On what grounds does he become the commander in chief of the White Army? His birth into nobility and wealth, big estate ownership. The years of Mannerheim's birth (1867) and early childhood were the years of the last devastating famine in Finland. "Noblesse oblige?" Mannerheim learns the Finnish language first in his adulthood, and then only in rudiments. Military academy at the age of 17: Finnish military career would lead to nowhere. Entering the Imperial Page School in Saint Petersburg, the most important city for Finland at the time. Today: celebrating the Victory Day in Saint Petersburg. Marrying Anastasie Arapova at the age of 25. Mannerheim's decision to fight in the Russo-Japanese war. 1906-1909 Mannerheim as an intelligence officer makes an extended journey through Turkestan to Peking. Kashgar is his base, the city of the Uyghurs. After his return in 1909, he is appointed to command the 13th Vladimir Uhlan Regiment at Mińsk Mazowiecki in Poland. At the beginning of World War I, Mannerheim serves as commander of the Guards Cavalry Brigade, and fights on the Austro-Hungarian and Romanian fronts. - Here we jump to Mannerheim's death in Switzerland in 1951. There is extended documentary footage on the making of his equestrian statue. - Mannerheim's goal was freedom. Immediately after his death - already during the funeral ceremonies - Mannerheim became a symbol for Finnish patriotism and the fight for freedom.

Io sono l'amore / I Am Love

Rakkautta italialaisittain / Kärlek på italienska. IT © 2009 First Sun etc. EX: Christopher Granier-Deferre. P: Luca Guadagnino, Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Marco Morabito, Tilda Swinton, Alessandro Usai, Massimiliano Violante. D: Luca Guadagnino. SC: Luca Guadagnino, Barbara Alberti, Ivan Cotroneo, Walter Fasano - from a story by Luca Guadagnino. DP: Yorick Le Saux - color - 1,85:1 - shot on 35 mm - lab: Technicolor S.p.a. PD: Francesca Balestra Di Mottola. Cost: Antonella Cannarozzi. Makeup: Paola Crostofaroni. Hair: Manolo García. M: John Adams. S: Francesco Liotard. ED: Walter Fasano. CAST: Tilda Swinton (Emma Recchi), Flavio Parenti (Edoardo Recchi, Jr.), Edoardo Gabbriellini (Antonio Biscaglia), Alba Rohrwacher (Elisabetta "Betta" Recchi), Pippo Delbono (Tancredi Recchi), Diane Fleri (Eva Ugolini), Maria Paiato (Ida Roselli), Marisa Berenson (Allegra Recchi), Waris Ahluwalia (Shai Kubelkian), Gabriele Ferzetti (Edoardo Recchi, Sr.). Original in Italian, Russian, and English. 120 min. Released in Finland by Scanbox with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Tarja Sahlsten / Nina Ekholm. Viewed at Kino Engel 1, Helsinki, 2 Jan 2011

Luca Guadagnino's strong contemporary film is boldly Viscontian in its inspiration thematically and visually. A study of modern Italian bourgeoisie, it tells about a family business facing a turning-point. When the 80-year old patriarch (Gabriele Ferzetti, remembered from L'avventura, having also played Puccini and Casanova) dies, the family enterprise will become a part of multinational business, facing globalization, and that might be the end of the family, as well. The patriarch's son Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) will guide the business to the global waters.

Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton) is Tancredi's Russian-born wife and the mother of their three grown-up children. After all these years she is still a stranger in the family, and there is no passion in the life of the red-blooded Emma. The maid Ida (Maria Paiato) is her only confidante, the warmest and the most compassionate person in the story. When Emma meets her son's associate, the young cook Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), nothing can stop them. In the story of the passion Guadagnino is inspired by D.H. Lawrence. His love scenes are a dithyramb to the nobility of sexual abandon. The nature imagery is inspired and original.

Watching the film I could imagine that the cinematography by Yorick Le Saux is beautiful, but the visual quality of the cinema experience was not perfect, and I don't know whether the fault was with the quality of the digital intermediate, the duplication process, this particular print, or the projection.

John Adams, the prominent contemporary composer, has created a strong score for the film.

I look forward to future films by Luca Guadagnino.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs / Love and Other Drugs [direct translation in Finnish would be Rakkautta ja muita lääkkeitä]. USA © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox / Regency Enterprises / U.S.: Dune Entertainment. P: Pieter Jan Brugge, Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Scott Stuber, Edward Zwick. D: Edward Zwick. SC: Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz - based on the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman (2005) by Jamie Reidy. DP: Steven Fierberg - source: Super 35 - digital intermediate 2k. PD: Patti Podesta. COST: Deborah Lynn Scott. Makeup: Vivian Baker. Hair: Cheryl Daniels. M: James Newton Howard. S: Jake Eberle. ED: Steven Rosenblum. LOC: Pittsburgh (Philadelphia). CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal (Jamie Randall), Anne Hathaway (Maggie Murdock), Josh Gad (Josh Randall), Judy Greer (Cindy), Gabriel Macht (Trey Hannigan), Oliver Platt (Bruce Jackson), Hank Azaria (Dr. Knight), George Segal (Dr. James Randall), Jill Clayburgh (Nancy Randall), Katheryn Winnick (Lisa), Jaimie Alexander (Carol), Nikki DeLoach (Christy). 112 min. Released in Finland by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anna-Leea Kaila / Saliven Gustavsson. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 11, Helsinki, 1 Jan 2011

The 1990s: the young salesman Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a shallow and cynical womanizer. Fired from an electronics store he lands a job with Pfizer in Pittsburgh. Jamie is a serial pick-up artist for casual sex, and he uses his charm to advance his sales. He even picks up a young patient suffering from Parkinson's disease, Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway). Disillusioned about her chances of a long term relationship Maggie enjoys casual affairs only. Jamie succeeds in his work with his ruthlessness, and the big breakthrough is the launching of Viagra in 1998. Witnessing rampant corruption, hedonism, and shallow relationships Jamie, who is the top salesman now, starts to distance himself from the lifestyle he has helped create. He rejects promotion and transfer to Chicago. In full awareness of the incurable and desperate forecast for Parkinson's disease he marries Maggie.

What I liked: 1. Satiric elements in the Pfizer sales convention and in the doctors' Chicago convention scenes. 2. Anne Hathaway's rich and complex performance as the young woman facing an overwhelming reality. 3. The healthy abandon in the sex scenes, the pride and joy of the beautiful nudity of the lovers.

What I found wanting: 1. The Prozac and Viagra lifestyles are juicy targets, but the satire is superficial and overdone. 2. The overwhelming corruption is portrayed in such an exaggerated way that the caricature loses impact. 3. The movie is a Bildungsroman of Jamie Randall's development to a deeper sense of life. He marries Maggie and starts again his medical studies. I like the final words of the film. But I don't find his change completely convincing. 4. The secondary characters remain largely one-note caricatures.

The visual quality via a 2k digital intermediate is mostly fine, but in long shots the loss of quality is evident.