Friday, February 15, 2013

Faaraoiden maa (1988) / The Land of the Pharaohs (1988)

FI 1988. PC: Yleisradio. D+SC: Peter von Bagh - excerpts from the novel The Egyptian (1945) by Mika Waltari - a compilation film made for television - based on Finnish fiction and non-fiction films from the years 1945-1946. ED: Pentti Kauranen, Risto Salo. 29 min – Orion 2013: digibeta / Yle Export. - Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (How My Films Were Made), 15 Feb 2013.

In the presence of Peter von Bagh. In the conclusion of his preceding lecture and in his introduction to the screening he commented: The Land of the Pharaohs is a film about the year 1945, about Finland which had lost the war. It is my nearly most unknown film. It has never been telecast again.

"Excerpts from Mika Waltari's classic of popular historical fiction, Sinuhe, egyptilainen (1945), considered as comments on postwar Finland. A lean work, clear in its conception, straight-forward in its execution, muscular in its movement, and deep in its thoughts. Splendid." (Olaf Möller, Rotterdam Film Festival, 2012)

A poetic, multi-perspective essay on the devastating year 1945 seen through two kinds of reflections. The first reflection is Mika Waltari's novel The Egyptian, one of the biggest bestsellers of all times in Finland, and a bestseller even abroad, including the United States, where it was the basis for one of the first CinemaScope films, unfortunately miscast. The second set of reflections is provided by the fictional and non-fictional films of the time. The images of the refugees (from Stalin's Eastern Karelia) and the devastation of Lapland (by Nazi German soldiers) are among the most poignant in Finnish history. Yet there is in the imagery a confidence of perseverance, survival, and a new start via reconstruction and a new political landscape.

Rough notes: - The presence of the voice of Mika Waltari. - Passages from Mika Waltari's novel The Egyptian fill the screen. - ♪ "Kesäpäivä Kangasalla" ["A Summer Day at Kangasala", a national romantic evergreen.] - When the first atom bomb hit Hiroshima. - Korpisoturin keittokirja = [The Cookbook of the Deep Forest Warrior]. - Evakot = the refugees from the lost Eastern Karelia. - "Leivättä ei matka luista" = you cannot keep going without food. - Essi Renvall, sculptor. - ♪ an Italian romantic song. - Finnish "war children" in the safety of Sweden. - Kalervo Kallio sculpts Risto Ryti. - The war is over, la guerre est finie. - At the station. - The hospital. - The soldier's homecoming. - Dancing. - Destiny follows you. - Mika Waltari: I did not have the slightest interest to visit Egypt. - The ruins of the devastated Rovaniemi. - Rehabilitation. - The Social Democrats. - The Marshal Mannerheim gives his vote. - Paasikivi speaks: we need new faces. - The First of May parades of the workers. - Paasikivi meets Zhdanov. - The Salvation Army. - The numerous attendance of women. - ♪ "Me vielä kerran kohdataan" ["We'll Meet Again", not the Vera Lynn song ]. - Paasikivi's diaries written in stenographic writing. - Love is but an episode in a man's life. - Postcards from Egypt. - ♪ "Kesäpäivä Kangasalla".

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