Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sokkotanssi / Blindfolded

Blindbock. FI 1999 © 1998 Dada-Filmi Oy. P: Kari Sara. D+SC: Matti Ijäs. DP: Kari Sohlberg. AD: Pertti Hilkamo. M: Eero Ojanen. "Sokkotanssi" piano theme tune by Eero Ojanen. Music selections include "El Cumbanchero", "Perfidia", "Sun suudelmas" and "Hopeapilvet" sung by Olavi Virta, "Tiger Shark", "Ranskalaiset korot" sung by Helena Siltala, "Coimbra" / "April in Portugal", "Sweetie Pie" sung by Eddie Cochran. ED: Jukka Nykänen. S: Jari Innanen, Heikki Innanen. Cost: Ulla-Maija Väisänen, Elina Kolehmainen. C: Walter Gröhn (Joonas Putkonen = Jontti), Mikko Vanhala (Länki Lehikoinen), Martti Suosalo (Ripa = Risto Putkonen, Jontti's father), Sulevi Peltola (teacher), Vesa-Matti Loiri (Himanen, a former sailor), Johanna Kerttula (Jontti's mother), Pirkka-Pekka Petelius (Ilmari Lätti, hairdresser), Henna Hakkarainen (Inkku = Inkeri), Anni Asikainen (Eija), Turo Rannema (Pikkis), Pirjo Luoma-aho (Eija's mother), Maria Aro (Länki's mother), Riitta Elstelä (shopkeeper), Bakary Barrow (Bothuhin), Liisa Kantokorpi (Vieno Carmen Putkonen), Veikko Tiitinen (old man on the street). Loc: Dragsfjärd, Hamina, Helsinki, Kotka, Järvenpää, Tallinn. Helsinki premiere: 12.3.1999 Kino-Palatsi, Tennispalatsi – VET 27979 – K10/8 – 2480 m / 91 min. KAVA print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (tribute to Matti Ijäs) 27 March, 2013

Revisited Sokkotanssi, a labour of love from Matti Ijäs. Sokkotanssi has grown with time, and deserves to be watched every now and then with full attention. Matti Ijäs developed and matured the screenplay during a decade. The screenplay was inspired by elements from the childhood of the director in the 1950s and experiences with children of his own.

It is a story of two boys of nine years, schoolmates called Jontti and Länki. The story takes place in a harbour town which might be Kotka, but the movie has been shot on various locations. The time frame is the early 1960s.

It is a story of childhoods in broken families. Jontti's father is an inveterate womanizer ("hyppykulli"). Länki is being raised by a single mother.

The structure is episodic, with vignettes such as: -  the summer holiday island - the school health inspection - the slide show - the first black man in the town - detention - the father's escapades with his mistress - shoplifting - the practical joke on the authoritarian teacher: the boys fill his shampoo bottle with hair remover - the teacher's revenge: the boys lose their tryst in an abandoned house - the retired sailor living in a stranded shipwreck - stealing dynamite at a construction site - the practical joke on the father: rigging his bicycle (dangerously) - the dynamite explodes at Länki - Länki's foot is amputated, "I can still feel the toes" - hunting pheasants for lunch - the itinerant hairdresser in his Citroën Camionnette, playing hit records, fascinating for women - stealing the blind workers' cash register - the beehive hairdo of little Eija, "the terrible Sputnik" - little Eija is more mature and curious - the boys' experiments with liquor - Länki even tries to rob the church - Jontti's father has escaped with Inkku, and Jontti tries to fetch his father back - Länki would like to go to the sea, but the sailor's letter of recommendation is no good, and the furious Länki threatens the sailor with a gun - the sailor throws the gun away, and it lands on logs on the shore - when Länki runs to retrieve it he falls under the logs and cannot get out - Jontti misses Länki's hoarse laughter while he walks blindfolded on the holiday island, the moon shining on the white summer night sky.

An original and personally felt account of childhood, of experiencing great and little things of life for the first time.

The cinematography is wonderful, covering mostly the seasons of summer, winter, and spring - the most memorable images being perhaps those of winter.

There is a juicy and vibrant photochemical quality in the print which looks like it has been struck from the negative.

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