Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nightmare - painajainen merellä / [Nightmare at Sea]

Nightmare - en mardröm på havet. FI 2012. PC: FremantleMedia Finland Oy. P+D: Marko Äijö. SC: Tiina Tanskanen - story: Teemu Salonen, Tiina Tanskanen. DP: Antti Takkunen. PD+cost: Kristiina Saha. Make-up: Jenni Aejmelaeus, Karoliina Viinikari. M: Karl Sinkkonen. Theme tune: "Kyynel kuuluu mereen" ["The tear belongs to the sea"] by Vague Musik, singer: Karoliina Kallio. S: Sami Kiiski. ED: Marika Sahlman. C: Sara Säkkinen (Peppi Kuula), Venla Savikuja (Heidi Aaltonen), Tero Tiittanen (Sergei Kuula), Mikko Parikka (Jiri Viitamäki), Markku Pulli (Joonatan Sievinen), Karoliina Blackburn (cruise hostess Tessa Nylund), Sara Lohiniva (Oona Kiviranta), Sampsa Tuomala (Sampo Kaukovaara), Patrik Borodavkin (Miro Holm), Kasimir Baltzar (Max Grigorieff). Loc: MS Princess Maria cruise ferry (St. Peter Line). 74 min. Released by FS Film with Swedish subtitles by Markus Karjalainen. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, Helsinki, 15 Dec 2012.

Excerpts from the production information: Marko Äijö: "We set off to break immemorial petrifications of movie-making". "Whom can we trust when we cannot trust anyone". "There is only one studio-shot scene in the movie, and it has been divided into two". "It was beyond the means available to stop two happily smiling Japanese tourists who walked in the middle of a perfect set-up as the camera was rolling and the actors were giving their all. Fortunately digital post-production has been invented." "The schedule from the story idea to the premiere was eleven months. During the same period of time we also realized 180 episodes, each of 21 minutes duration, of the Salatut elämät [Secret Lives] series. Thus we can state that the schedule for the feature film of 75 minutes was downright sumptuous."

Excerpts from the remarks of Tero Kartastenpää on his Lily site: "A person can experience many feelings simultaneously, derision and sympathy." "When the leading babe Peppi Kuula panics in a jacuzzi about her missing travelling companion Oona one can't help but laugh at Peppi and simultaneously worry with her." "Salatut elämät could not have been successful in the 1970s. Such social trash pumped on overdrive would have been discarded as unconvincing and depraving. The old generation would not have understood an ambiguous way of seeing." (The excerpts have been copied from Kalle Kinnunen's article "Peppi Kuula merihädässä" in his blog "Kuvien takana", 7 December, 2012).

The Finnish Wikipedia's plot synopsis: "The newlywed 21-year-old Peppi Puolakka embarks on a cruise with her fresh husband and friends. During the sea cruise she meets old friends who bring to mind unhappy things from Peppi's past. Then strange things start to take place and members of the entourage start to disappear. Peppi realizes that the disappearances are a revenge for the drug-related death of Tobias Nylund in which Peppi had a share. The situation gets sticky when even the best friends seem to have a motive to hurt Peppi."

The Finnish Wikipedia's summary of the critical feedback: "The critics have mostly endowed it with one star. It has been characterized as 'insanely bad' and 'unconvincing', and its screenplay has been called 'indifferent'." (All translations are mine.)

Salatut elämät (known as "Salkkarit" among the fans) is the first original Finnish daily tv soap opera drama. Its first episode was transmitted on 25 January, 1999, on the MTV3 channel. On 28 December, 2012, the 2385th episode was transmitted. There have been 15 seasons so far. The production house since 2002 is FremantleMedia Finland Oy. (Information from Finnish Wikipedia).

There was anticipatory laughter in the audience even before the film started. Although the ambiguous way of seeing may be new, this movie also belongs to an old tradition in Finnish cinema, starting with the Pohjanheimo films in the 1910s, continuing with the Kivimäki productions in the 1940s, the Aarne Tarkas conveyor belt in the 1950s and the 1960s, and the Visa Mäkinen productions in 1979-1991. Ponterosa I have yet to see. The production is based on the quickie approach, and the handling is lacking in depth and psychological realism. The spiritual hollowness is pervasive, but there is an energic, dynamic drive in the storytelling.

Memorable features: - The satire of the rampant alcoholism on board. - The wooden, somnambulistic performance style, going through the motions. - The satire of the PowerPoint presentation of the Jardin marketing event. - The scene with the do-it-yourself zombie film viewed on a laptop. - The centrality of drugs: the past drug tragedy gives the motive for the horrible events on the ship. "Without drugs we might not exist". - The love story: "You are the best thing that has ever happened to me". Peppi and Sergei bring out the best from each other, but the other couple, "we bring out the worst in each other". - "You are stark raving mad". "Determined, I would say". - "It is hard to believe that all this has really happened". - "I will always save you". - The plot is like from a teenage splatter movie minus the splatter: nobody dies. "You can't trust the waves" are words in the concluding song. The last image: we see the hand of the killer emerging from the water and grabbing the lifeboat.

Digital video look.

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