Saturday, February 23, 2013

8-pallo / [8-Ball]

8-ball. FI © 2013 Blind Spot Pictures Oy / Mjölk Oy. P: Marko Antila, Tero Kaukomaa. D: Aku Louhimies. SC: Jari Olavi Rantala - based on the novel Elävien kirjoihin (2011) by Marko Kilpi. DP: Mika Orasmaa - camera equipment: P. Mutasen Elokuvakonepaja Oy - Post-production: James Post Oy, producer: Petteri Linnus - colour def: Adam Vandor - DCP mastering: Tommi Gröhn. AD: Petri Neuvonen. Cost: Anne-Maria Ylitapio. Makeup: Mari Vaalasranta. VFX: Troll VFX. "Paradiset" (Rauli Somerjoki, Arja Tiainen, Swedish lyrics by Bo Sundström) sung by Jessica Grabowsky. "Ihanaa Leijonat, ihanaa" perf. A-Tyyppi. "Vapaus käteen jää" (Jere Marttila / Rauli Eskolin, lyr. Elli Haloo) perf. Haloo Helsinki! S: Kirka Sainio. ED: Samu Heikkilä. Thanks: Pohjois-Savon poliisilaitos [The Police Dept. of Northern Savo]. C: Jessica Grabowsky (Pike), Eero Aho (Lalli), Pirkka-Pekka Petelius (Elias Kaski), Mikko Leppilampi (Olli Repo). With: Jakob Öhrman (Limppu), Cecilia McMillan (Aleksandra), Rosa Salomaa (Tiina), Manna Jäntti (Krisu), Max Ovaska (Tärpätti), Mikko Kouki (Halonen), Lenna Kuurmaa (Anna), Johanna Af Schulten (Riitta), Kristo Salminen (Ilkka), Angelina Ilkkanen (Emma), Kaija Pakarinen (prison guard), Pekka Valkeejärvi (police chief), Kari Ketonen (Ivakka), Antero Vartia (Savela), Elina Pekkanen (model), Zaida Hämäläinen (Halonen's girlfriend), Jenny Rostain (the redhead), Jenni Utriainen (the blonde), Sue Willberg (doctor), Marko Kilpi (the policeman at the monitor), Tea Khalifa (Päivi), Sami Kämäräinen, Janne Tikka, Tommi Lukkari (policemen). Loc: Kuopio. Co-Production in Lissabon: SouthWest Productions. In Finnish with some Swedish (Pike's first language). 107 min. Released by Nordisk with Swedish subtitles by Saliven Gustavsson. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, Helsinki, 23 Feb 2013 (premiere weekend).

"It's never too late" (the motto of the film).

Official synopsis: "Pike, the mother of a little baby girl, is released from prison. Her past is tattered, her future uncertain. Pike has firmly decided to get a grip on a new life. She cannot afford to commit mistakes anymore."

"Lalli, her ex-boyfriend, returning from abroad, messes up Pike's plans. Passion returns with Lalli, but he also opens up a window into a past into which Pike no longer wishes to return."

"Interested in Pike's future is also the police detective Elias who is committed to ensure that his former customer can survive in her new life. Or might it be a case of love? His colleague Olli, assigned to be his partner in the crime investigation department, is recuperating from a serious violent assault on duty, and he is also burdened by a recent divorce."

"Where Pike would want to realize her opportunity to start a new life, Olli would want to have his previous life back. There is no returning to the past, and no way of forgetting it. One has to face the future." (Official synopsis, my translation)

I have not read Marko Kilpi's acclaimed novel on which this movie is based. Marko Kilpi is a senior police officer in the city of Kuopio, and much of his crime fiction is inspired by reality.

This novel was inspired by a single image, a young mother with her baby behind prison bars. This is also a powerful vision in the movie. It is easy to understand that having a baby can change a young woman into a tigress who is capable of anything to break out of a vicious circle of crime.

The lack of a social network, the dearth of choices of jobs, having to live in a modern world without a mobile phone, a bank account or a computer, visiting the supermarket with a special document from the social security office: in such circumstances it would almost seem that there is no way out.

Lalli introduces a dimension of insane violence in the movie. The violence is relentless, the drug fiends are seen as a negation of humanity, as human refuse. They are figures of absolute evil. 8-pallo belongs to the most violent crime films in the history of Finnish cinema. In this movie there are more violent deaths than in a year in the district of Pohjois-Savo.

The sense of even more profound frustration, depression and despair is evident also in the account of the two policemen, Elias Kaski and Olli Repo. Their figures are pale, they seem devoid of vitality, they are like sleepwalkers in a world of nightmare. The question whether Elias Kaski has stolen drug money remains unanswered in the conclusion where Pike meets Elias on the beach. They have managed to escape from the world of crime, but is it a happy ending?

8-pallo is not a movie of psychological realism. It is an expressionistic, starkly stylized movie. Jessica Grabowsky, excellent and full of vitality in Där vi en gång gått / Missä kuljimme kerran / Where Once We Walked, is totally different here, a ghostly figure who is fighting to return to life again.

As a view of the city of Kuopio 8-pallo is as intentionally reduced as Vuosaari was as an account of the real place.

Like Vuosaari, 8-pallo is about the death drive.

Visually, 8-pallo is a drab, dreary, bleak, and pallid vision of a world of squalor, refuse, insanity, violence and humiliation. This sense seeps also into the life of the policemen. The digital view is adequate to the vision intended.
Even rougher notes: - A recurrent image: an extreme close-up of Pike's eye. - The starting point of Marko Kilpi's novel: mother and baby behind prison bars. - Finding a new home. - News items about climate change and debt crisis. - Broken families. - A job in three shifts the only alternative. - Reality tv. - A sense of depression. - The circle of drug addicts. - The ball hidden in a sock. - Insane violence. - The immense accumulation of commodities in the supermarket. - The stigmatizing ticket from the social security office. - The gray lighting. - The fundamental feeling of depression in the figure Elias Kaski played by Petelius. - The murdered man (1). - The absence of social skills. - Petelius meets Pike. - Mikko Kouki as Halonen, the pimp and the dealer. - Hard drugs without instructions for use. - The victim's fingers are amputated, the legs are amputated. - The prostitute found dead in the hotel room (2). - Surveillance cameras. - The violent husband / father in the next apartment. - Lalli at Pike's door. - A human negation. Negativity, human refuse, utter ugliness. - Touching the neck is a recurrent motif. - Ample tattoos. - The razzia at Kouki's place. - The bleak lighting. - Pike has no telephone, no bank account. I want to take care of you. You are not my dad. - I have been smoking pot since I was 13, I have whored for a couple of grams of amphetamine. I am not going back to that life. I am not going to blow this. - Lalli and Elias Kaski. - Drug fiends surround Halonen. - The recurrent penis imagery, intercourse scenes bordering on hard core. - Halonen's corpse is cut to pieces while Ihanaa, Leijonat is playing (3). - Olli Repo (Mikko Leppilampi) wants to have Anna back. - Bleak, pallid, dreary, drab imagery. Sleaze, squalor. - The violent encounter in the cellar. Olli Repo is seriously battered. - The noisy party at Pike's place. "Vie noi pois" = "Take them out". - Lalli beats up Pike, forces her to take hard drugs, and rapes her from behind. A prolonged scene of squalor and humiliation. - In the morning Elias comes and warns: he will crush you and oppress you. "I know nothing about ordinary life". - Pike shows him the mobile phone which Lalli has stolen from Halonen: with this we will become rich. - I want to get out of here - It's never too late to start anew. - Limppu fetches a drug package hidden under a truck. Elias and Olli are after him. - Lalli threatens Pike with a gun, threatens her baby. - The violent neighbour happens at the door and is beaten madly by Lalli. - Pike kills Lalli by hitting him on the head with the billiard ball in the sock (4). - Pike is back behind bars. - Elias Kaski is resigning from the police force. - In the conclusion Elias and Pike are on a beach. - This is not a movie of psychological realism. The characters are stylized and expressionistic. - The colours are unrealistic.

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