DCP with English subtitles by Aretta Vähälä from SF Film.
2K projection at Helsinki International Film Festival (HIFF) Finnish Film Gala at Bio Rex, Helsinki, 23 Sep 201
Introduced by Pekka Lanerva, Director of the Festival.
In the presence of J-P Valkeapää who introduced key members of the cast and crew.
Followed by a Q&A with J-P Valkeapää and Roosa Söderholm hosted by Kalle Kinnunen.
Before the screening there was a eulogy by Pekka Lanerva and a minute of silence in honour of Peter von Bagh, news of whose death we learned yesterday.
HIFF Catalogue: "A boy and a girl meet at a custody center for troubled youth. The boy has come to serve his obligatory civil service. The girl is one of the youths in custody, and she is constantly in trouble, inside her a fire, a lust for life that can’t be quashed, or controlled. The boy becomes infatuated with the girl. He is a quiet one—a stutterer. But there is a fire inside him as well."
"Rules, laws, punishment, the shackles of the hostile environment with no understanding around them can be broken. They steal a car and flee together. Thus begins a journey with endless escapes."
"They Have Escaped is a film about fragile love, childhood dreams and the violence of reality. It will premiere internationally at Venice Film Festival." (HIFF Catalogue)
AA: A nightmare film about two lost young people, a wild girl from the custody center, and a boy trying to rehabilitate himself as a driver there. They escape, they try to find a place where they can discover themselves, but instead they become targets of a horrible chase.
J-P Valkeapää, Teppo Manner and Roosa Söderholm create a powerful atmosphere of existential anxiety. The young people have no place they can call their home. The girl's belongings are packed to boxes from where she can find nothing. The grandmother is no longer spiritually present.
The refuge they find is an expensive hunting lodge on an island. Soon the young ones themselves become game for the hunter, a bit like in The Most Dangerous Game.
There is not really anyone they can depend on, except perhaps the bizarre salesman with racist attitudes.
The entire film is a nightmare, and there are also "a dream within a dream" sequences.
The visual approach is based on a denial of a general view. There are many extreme close-ups, fast edits, and faded colours. There is an overall sense of disorientation and unclear vision.
The vision is of a world that has lost the fullness of colour, a world in which colour is dying.
The visual quality: the limitations of digital have been turned into means of expression.
J-P Valkeapää in the Q+A: - The Snow Queen (1986) by Päivi Hartzell is a favourite. - Bresson is one of the most important, if not the most important one, always a purifying one. - The naivist world of Night of the Hunter impresses me. - Usually I do not like dream sequences.
After the gala we shared a toast to the memory of Peter von Bagh with Russian guests of the Festival, Boris Nelepo, Pavel Miloslavsky, and Xeniya Gapchenko. We talked about Peter's passion for Russian cinema and the fact that Kreivi / The Count (1971) had had its premiere in the very cinema where we had just seen They Have Escaped.