Friday, December 21, 2012

Rakkauden rasvaprosentti / Body Fat Index of Love

Kärlekens BMI. FI © 2012 Matila Röhr Productions. P: Ilkka Matila. D: Mikko Kuparinen. SC: Laura Immonen, Hannamaija Matila. DP: Jani Kumpulainen. DCP mastering: Tommi Gröhn. AD: Antti Nikkinen. Cost: Johanna Lehtinen. Makeup: Kata Launonen. Hair: Taina Mansner. VFX: Sami Haartemo, Eetu Niininen. M: Pessi Levanto. S: Pekka Karjalainen. ED: Jukka Nykänen. Casting: Tutsa Paananen (as Tutsa Virtanen), Pia Pesonen. C: Mikko Nousiainen (Stigu), Miina Maasola (Elisa), Kristo Salminen (Karri), Johanna Kokko (Saara), Hanna Vahtikari (Maisa), Jarkko Niemi (Nicke), Antti Virmavirta (Stigu's father), Kaija Pakarinen (Stigu's mother), Mari Perankoski (Susanna), Emilia Sinisalo (Anna), Sanna-Kaisa Palo (Raija). Loc: Helsinki, Sonkajärvi. 99 min. Released by Nordisk Film with Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 7, Helsinki, 21 Dec 2012.

The official synopsis from the production information: "Timo 'Stigu' Mertala is an award-winning and acclaimed designer at the advertising agency Ilmiö [Phenomenon]. Women have come and especially gone from his life since Stigu is always at work. Lately Stigu has been struck by the strange feeling that something is missing. One day Stigu meets Ella Sadeoja and has an instant crush. Since Ella, too, seems interested, Stigu believes everything will change at once. The hope lives but for a moment since Ella does not want commitment, openness or even Facebook friendship but merely sex. Stigu agrees because he believes that Ella is not being serious. Stigu is in the wrong. Ella's only passion and destination is to establish a vintage clothes boutique. Ella's dream has already been shipwrecked once because of relationship tangles, which is why she has decided to stay clear of them by all means. Ella and Stigu have a regular date on Wednesdays. Ella is satisfied, and Stigu lies to her that this is what he wants too, although he is pondering frantically how to tell about his feelings without scaring Ella away. Suddenly Stigu receives a boost through his job. Ella and Stigu land into a joint advertising project for Väestöliitto / The Family Federation on durable relationships. The task is challenging since Ella does not believe in the subject and Stigu does not know anything about it. To achiveve her goal Ella wants to get the project over and done with as soon as possible, while Stigu sees in it an opportunity to wake up Ella's dormant feelings. During a voyage everything is possible because the quest into the secrets of relationships leads Ella and Stigu to the most beautiful spot in the summer of Finland, to the place where the measure of the man and the woman is finally taken: to the Sonkajärvi wife carrying (eukonkanto) world championship contest. The time is running out, and Stigu goes too far in his attempt to win Ella on his side... " (My translation.)

The screenwriters are experienced professionals of Finnish daily soap operas. The concept is familiar from recent romantic comedies: a man and a woman commit themselves "to sex only" but this solemn commitment is soon doomed to fail because they fall in love. There is no harm in the familiarity. Many comedies are based on well-known concepts, and only the general framework in this movie is familiar.

Mikko Nousiainen and Miina Maasola are talented actors, but in this film they do not seem to have committed themselves to anything. They go through the motions but do not seem to believe in their characters. Neither do we in the audience.

The best performances are by Antti Virmavirta and Kaija Pakarinen as Stigu's father and mother. Their scenes convey a true sense of humour and love. Their contribution to the story is essential and believable.

The other best aspect of the movie is the satire - the satire on advertising - on instrumental sex - and on utter egoism as personified in Stigu.

Memorable features: - The advertising business: tulos tai ulos (results or out) - Recycling and stealing as the modus operandi in the advertising business - Sex as as a chore: 45 minutes a week seems to be enough to satisfy a woman - The sex scenes are sexless - Stigu's standing among his friends: his neglect of his girlfriends is legendary - The biggest laughter is when the friends hear about Stigu's current project to create an ad spot for The Family Federation on durable relationships - Stigu gets to face his utter egoism and lack of empathy. - "Mitteepä sitä ehjee korjoomaan" ("Don't fix it if it ain't broke" in the Savo dialect).

No problem with the digital presentation in close-ups and interiors, but the nature looks denatured, and long exterior shots in general do not look so good.

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