Monday, January 25, 2016

Sota ja mielenrauha / War and Peace of Mind

Sota ja mielenrauha. Please click to enlarge.
FI © 2016 Kinocompany. P: Liisa Juntunen. D: Ari Matikainen. DP: Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen. M: Janne Haavisto. S: Janne Laine. ED: Matti Näränen. 2K DCP with English subtitles by Marko Pyhähuhta. 75 min
    Scholars: Ville Kivimäki, Juha Mälkki, Jenni Kirves, Markku Jokisipilä, Tuomas Tepora.
    The sources of the quotes used in the film are detailed in the final credits.
    In the presence of Liisa Juntunen and Ari Matikainen who introduced the film and the production team and the experts taking the bow afterwards.
    Viewed at Savoy Theatre (DocPoint Opening Gala), Helsinki, 25 Jan 2016

 Festival catalogue and website: "The opening film of DocPoint 2016 is the beautiful and topical War and Peace of Mind by Ari Matikainen. The film explores the effect wars in Finland have had on the national mind-set. How many generations does it take for the traumas and mental wounds to heal?"

"The soundtrack consists of recited letters and journal entries written between the front line and home. Intimate recollections of people shot in present time intersperse with never-before-seen archive footage of the 1940s. Together all these vistas reveal a people traumatised by a civil war; souls only to be broken further by yet another war. Private experiences are adeptly juxtaposed with the entire nation’s history in interviews with scholars who reflect on both war and the depths of the human mind."

"After the wars, Finns kept shtum about their fears and traumas, and the issue has not been properly taken on since. This has been partly due to the guilt of co-belligerence with Germany which has for decades since been spoken mainly in euphemisms. War and Peace of Mind works through history and connects the real dots in our nations broken and distorted memory. It gives a voice to those who have been made to remain silent.
" - Ulla Simonen / Translation: Tapio Reinekoski

AA: A novel approach to the wars of Finland in WWII in 1939-1945. It makes us think that such extremely violent experiences need to be seriously processed "by the third and the fourth generation".

In Sota ja mielenrauha Ari Matikainen has first of all discovered a lot of little known original documents: films, photographs, correspondence, et cetera that make us see the wars anew. Besides documents on the the battles on the front the film covers trench warfare, the nurses' viewpoint, the rehabilitation of veterans with prosthetic hands, arms, etc. There are scenes of sport exercises before and after the war. There is footage of refugees from Eastern Karelia. Also footage of war prisoners and viewpoints from refugees with an Orthodox background.

The veterans could not convey what they had experienced because it was impossible for outsiders to understand. But younger generations need to deal with those wars, too.

We confront first-hand documentation of the war in images and written testimonies (read here by actors). And there are top experts interpreting the experience from a contemporary viewpoint.

There is a strong mental soundscape in the film (music by Janne Haavisto, sound by Janne Laine). Sometimes it evokes sounds from another reality.

The imagery has been processed via cinematic means such as slow motion. Sometimes there is a heavily duped visual quality in the original footage.

No comments: