Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ajomies / The Driver / [The Trackmaster] (2013)

FI 2013. PC: Aamu. D+SC: Jarkko T. Laine, Jani-Petteri Passi. Digital intermediate: Generator Post. 2K DCP with English subtitles by Aretta Vähälä viewed at Cinema Lapinsuu, Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 12 June 2013

The Festival Catalogue: "The leisurely environment of an almost lethargic horsetrack provides a superb setting to Jarkko T. Laine and J-P Passi's Ajomies, which premieres at this year's Midnight Sun Film Festival. The filmmakers have bravely left their story - centring on a trackmaster (Matti Laine) caught between two women - clean of any superfluous modern frills. At home plans are being made for a shared future, while at the track's maintenance pit passions flare, and in no time the fumbling trackmaster finds himself at the centre of a slowly developing chaos. On top of everything he is plagued by that most Finnish of maladies: indecision."
   "Laine and Passi have cast Ajomies with newcomers and the film achieves a charmingly languid atmosphere that can without a doubt be partly contributed to Auli Mantila, who also worked on the film. The loop of the racecourse almost seems to become a visual metaphor of those circular arguments that rattle our everyday lives, and which are also shaken by many signs of the insufficiency of time as the story progresses." (Lauri Timonen)

I liked: - The documentary account of the professionalism at the horsetrack and at its maintenance garage. - The authentic detail of the milieu and the lifestyle of the protagonists. - The authors have a good ear for dialogue.

The movie is anti-dramatic due to the male protagonist who is helpless, passive, and mostly reacting to circumstances. The two women are the active ones, yet this is the man's story. Also the other male characters seem lost, and their almost fatal crash seems symbolic.

There is a disregard to visual quality in this movie which is in low definition.

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