Friday, March 15, 2019

Film and Psyche 12: The Look (a symposium)

City Lights. Charles Chaplin and Virginia Cherrill. "Yes, I can see now". The flower girl has never seen the tramp before, but she recognizes the touch of his hand.

Film and Psyche Symposium 12: The Look
15.–16.3.2019 at Kino Regina (Central Library Oodi, Töölönlahdenkatu 4, Helsinki)
Organized by: Suomen Psykoanalyyttinen Yhdistys, Helsingin Psykoterapiaseura ja Kansallinen audiovisuaalinen instituutti (KAVI)

Un chien andalou. Luis Buñuel and Simone Mareuil.

FRIDAY 15.3.2019
8.50  Introduction
9.00  Luis Buñuel & Salvador Dalí: Andalusialainen koira (Un chien andalou, 1928), 22 min
9.25  Mikael Enckell: "Reportages from the heritage of repressed temptations" read by Antti Alanen / mod. Harri Stenberg
10.00  Lecture: Timo Kaitaro

10.30  Charles Chaplin: Kaupungin valot (City Lights, US 1931), 87 min
12.00  Lunch break
13.30  Lecture: Stig Hägglund / mod. Vesa Manninen

Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography. The director Bonnie Sherr Klein, the performer Lindalee Tracey, the photographer Suze Randall.

14.30  Bonnie Sherr Klein: Tuote: nainen (Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography, CA 1981), 69 min
15.40  Coffee break
16.10  Lecture: Hannu Säävälä / mod. Ilpo Lahti – ends 17.10
17.30  Evening rendez-vous at Restaurant Vaakuna, Kaarre hall (Kaivokatu 3)

Vertigo. The opening credit sequence by Saul Bass. computer graphics of the Lissajous curves by John Whitney, Sr.

SATURDAY 16.3.2019
9.00  Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo (1958), 128 min
11.10  Coffee break
11.40  Lecture: Susanna Välimäki, musicologist / mod. Antti Alanen
12.10  Lecture: Anneli Larmo, psychoanalyst
12.40  Lecture: Juhani Pallasmaa, architect
13.15  Lunch break

Matka minuksi / Becoming Me. Elli.

14.45  Mina Laamo: Matka minuksi / Becoming Me (2014) 75 min
16.00  Lecture: Mina Laamo 40 min / mod. Anna Lilja

16.40  Alan Schneider: Film by Samuel Beckett (1965, starring Buster Keaton) 20 min
17.00  Lecture: Christel Airas / mod. Kristiina Kuula – ends at 17.45

The planning team: the psychoanalysts Johanna Eväsoja, Kristiina Kuula, Ilpo Lahti, Anna Lilja, Vesa Manninen and Harri Stenberg plus Antti Alanen (KAVI).

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Convict 13 (2005 Lobster Films restoration with a Robert Israel score)

Photo: Wikipedia. Please do click to enlarge it.

Vanki numero 13 / Hirtehinen / Straffånge 13.
    US 1920. PC: Joseph M. Schenck Productions / Buster Keaton Productions. Original distributor: Metro Pictures Corporation. P: Joseph M. Schenck. D+SC: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton. Cin: Elgin Lessley. Technical director: Fred Gabourie. ED: Buster Keaton.
    C: Buster Keaton (golfer turned prisoner turned guard), Sybil Seely (socialite, warden's daughter), Joe Roberts (the crazed prisoner), Edward F. Cline (hangman), Joe Keaton (prisoner), Louise Keaton.
    Release date: 27 October, 1920.
    Finnish premiere: 1923, distributed by Adams Filmi – film control 12148 – S – 477 m.
    Lobster Films restoration (2005) with a Robert Israel score at 22 min.
    Screened at Kino Regina, Helsinki (Buster Keaton), 10 March 2019.

Buster Keaton's second released independent short, again starring the spirited Sybil Seely who also appears in One Week, The Scarecrow, and The Boat.

Buster and Sybil are sharing a game of golf, "the game that brings out the beast in men". Sybil is superior. Buster bungles everything. He has to retrieve his ball from inside a fish and from a runaway dog who has an impressive collection of golf balls.

A fugitive from prison stumbles upon Buster who has been knocked unconscious by his own golf ball. The fugitive instantly switches clothes with Buster who blithely continues his game in a striped prisoner's suit.

In a wild chase sequence, a platoon of prison wardens act mechanically in unison like the Keystone Kops. There are affinities with Charles Chaplin's The Adventurer in this sequence. Later Keaton developed aspects of this concept in Cops. The approach has a touch of surrealism.

Like later in Cops, Keaton mistakenly lands behind bars. His prisoner number 13 spells imminent death by hanging. In the prison gym Sybil discovers a bungee cord and replaces the hanging rope with it. The hanging, eagerly anticipated by fellow prisoners, turns into a clownish circus number. The audience is disappointed and resentful. Gallows humours indeed.

The prisoner's sentence involves hard labour. Breaking stones with a sledgehammer Buster accidentally knocks a warden unconscious and switches clothes with him. Simultaneously there is a riot. The prisoners knock all the wardens, until Buster is the last man standing wearing a warden's uniform and facing the giant riot leader. The scene has affinities with Eric Campbell scenes in Chaplin's films such as Easy Street.

Alone against all, Buster ties a punchbag to the bungee cord and knocks out all prisoners. When the riot leader has pierced the punchbag with his bayonet Buster replaces it with an iron ball. The prison riot sequence with gunfire, mass beatings and deaths is the most violent I remember having seen in the Buster Keaton oeuvre.

The prison story is a dream sequence in which Sybil is the prison warden's daughter. Buster wakes up in her arms.

Another amazing and alarming Buster Keaton short with affinities with the world of Franz Kafka. In his early shorts Keaton wore long pointed shoes like Little Tich had done 20 years earlier and like Leningrad Cowboys would do in the 1980s. The ill fitting shoes hamper Keaton's game of golf and are also a Chaplinesque detail.

The visual world is exceptionally stark and reduced for a Keaton film, especially in contrast with his bucolic and historical stories. The prison milieu, the scaffold and the striped clothes are conveyed in startlingly graphic images. One can compare them with the 1930s prison movies of Warner Bros.

An integral and consistent restoration from challenging sources. A wonderful Robert Israel score.


Saturday, March 09, 2019

Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 10

Venetsia / Venice

Tampere Film Festival (TFF): National Competition 10
L96 | 9.3. SAT/LA 13:30 | PLEVNA 2
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin | Duration/kesto: 97 min

Valtakunnat  / Realms
Patrik Söderlund | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Fiction | 21 min
    TFF: "A short film about geological epochs, kingdoms of life and mass extinctions, Realms voyages through deep time from the primeval ocean to the post-human future."
    "Lyhytelokuva geologisista maailmankausista, biologisista pääryhmistä ja joukkosukupuutoista. Realms matkaa halki ajan alkumerestä ihmiskunnan jälkeiseen tulevaisuuteen." (TFF)
    AA: Sound and vision: sublime about our time on Earth, the existence before and after humanity. Another film based on the aesthetics of the ruin. Here the ruin is not a special instance but the imminent condition of existence. Grandeur of the scope frame. Powerful soundscape.

Taksvärkkipäivä / Career Day

Mika Tervonen | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 9 min
    TFF: "A hitman brings his daughter to work for a career day. Going through a conflict makes them see each other in a different light."
    "Palkkamurhaaja ottaa tyttärensä mukaan töihin suorittamaan taksvärkkiä. Konfliktitilanne saa heidät näkemään toisensa uudessa valossa." (TFF)
    AA: Black comedy about a hitman whose daughter follows him on an Operation Day's Work. Sharp and well made.


Elina Oikari | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Fiction | 9 min
    TFF: "Govadas explores the contradiction and harmony between humans and nature through Sámi poetry. The cyclical perception of time among the only indigenous people living in the European Union is presented in the work as unfolding forms and layers based on the archive material from the 1940’s and the super 8 mm film footage from 2010’s. Govadas creates a kinetic meditation on time, memory, landscape and the ruptures between them."
    "Govadas pohtii luonnon ja ihmisen välistä harmoniaa ja siihen liittyviä ristiriitoja. Euroopan Unionin ainoan alkuperäiskansan syklinen aikakäsitys esitetään uudelleen syntyvinä muotoina ja kerrostumina. Nils Aslak Valkeapään runot yhdistyvät arkistomateriaaliin 1940-luvulta ja 2010-luvulla kuvattuun super 8 mm -filmiin. Govadas muodostaa kineettisen meditaation ajasta, muistista, maisemasta ja niiden välisistä murtumista." (TFF)
    AA: Based on the poems by Nils Aslak Valkeapää, a subjective found footage film based in the Sami people's experience of time and space.

Jenni Tuli | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 15 min
    TFF: "A young girl Veera, 16 years old, has disappeared. Ara has been Veera´s closest friend. Ara has taken a grip on her life and is not anymore in drug-fuelled-vertigo. She has left her old life behind and Veera belongs to that old life. Ara still cares about Veera, but she is unable to help her. Ara´s new life is still too fragile and she is hanging by a thread. But what happened to Veera?"
    "Nuori, 16-vuotias Veera on kadonnut. Ara on ollut Veeran paras ystävä. Ara on kuitenkin ottanut elämänsä takaisin haltuunsa ja jättänyt huumehourut taakseen. Vanha elämä on saanut väistyä uuden tieltä ja Veera sen mukana. Ara välittää edelleen Veerasta, muttei pysty auttamaan tätä. Aran uusi elämä on vielä liian hauras ja sen ylläpitäminen vaatii paljon. Mutta mitä Veeralle on tapahtunut?" (TFF)
    AA: Based on a true story, Venice is a youth workshop production made with young women in the situation of "when you don't have a home to go to". Strong, authentic, full of life, full of despair. In the presence of the people who made it.

Neljäs seinä / Fourth Wall

Laura Rantanen | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Documentary | 3 min
    TFF: "Three young members of the honour guard stare at the wall and get carried away."
    "Kolme nuorta kunniavartion jäsentä tuijottaa seinää ja innostuu liikaa." (TFF)
    AA: A straight record of the guards of honour at the Finnish Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

Iholle / Close to Me

Joonas Rutanen | Finland 2019 | Fiction | 19 min
    TFF: "Aila is a lonely young woman living in eastern suburbs of Helsinki. Aila has lost her cat. She ends up looking for the cat to a park behind a block of flats. There she meets Simo, a gangling young man of few words. Simo tells Aila that he has seen the cat and they continue the search together. It’s obvious that Simo doesn’t know how to be around women, but Aila and Simo are both lonely and looking for love. Eventually the day turns into a night and even before their relationship has properly started, Aila discovers unexpected and possessive side of Simo."
    "Aila on omalla tavallaan yksinäinen, betonielementtitalon nainen. Ailan kissa on kadonnut. Aila päätyy etsimään kissaa kerrostalolähiön puistoon, jossa kohtaa vähäsanaisen Simon. Simo kertoo nähneensä kissan ja lyöttäytyy Ailan matkaan. Simokin on omalla tavallaan yksinäinen, hontelomainen poika, joka ei tiedä mistä naisille puhua. Ailalla ja Simolla on kuitenkin yhteinen piirre, huutava tarve rakkaudelle. Kissan etsintä vaihtuu rakkaudenkaipuiseksi yöksi, jonka kuluessa Simosta paljastuu arvaamaton ja omistushaluinen puoli, jo ennen kuin yhteinen suhde on aivan ehtinyt alkaa." (TFF)
    AA: The story of two young outsiders in winter. Aila has lost her cat. Simo has found it dead, tells her nothing, but helps her anyway, until a jealous and violent side emerges. Yet they continue meeting each other.

Untitled (Burned Rubber on Asphalt)

Tinja Ruusuvuori | Finland 2019 | Documentary | 21 min
    TFF: "In a remote Norwegian village the weaving roads have become the subject of controversy. Assuming the role of detective, the documentary investigates the bewildering phenomena of car skid marks and their mysterious appearance. Winding, looping, curving, the hypnotising patterns reveal unexpected frictions in the village. Some brand the skid marks as an irresponsible and dangerous act, while others view the mesmerizing marks as a form of art."
    "Syrjäisessä norjalaisessa kylässä mutkittelevat tiet ovat aiheuttaneet kiistaa. Dokumentti tarkastelee salapoliisin lailla outoja sutimisjälkiä, hypnoottisella tavalla polveilevia, kiertyviä ja kaartuvia viivoja, jotka paljastavat kyläläisten välillä kytevän yllättävän eripuran ja saavat kylän asukkaat pohtimaan käsitystään kauneudesta." (TFF)
    AA: The mystery of spinning tracks and burnout tracks in faraway village in Norway. The art of making observations. Epic views, magnificent soundscapes.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 9

Helsinki Mansplaining Massacre.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF): National Competition 9
8.3. FRI/PE 18:30 | PLEVNA 2
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin | Duration/kesto: 91min

Ilja Rautsi | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 15 min
    TFF: "An intensely hysterical horror comedy about one woman’s desperate struggle to survive a horde of men with frail egos, who just want to explain everything to her. But the biggest horror may be closer to her than she thinks."
    "Intensiivisen hysteerisessä kauhukomediassa Essi yrittää selviytyä hauraiden egojen ajamasta mieslaumasta, joka haluaa selittää hänelle kaiken. Mutta todellinen kauhu saattaa vaania lähempänä kuin Essi luuleekaan."
    AA: Ilja Rautsi's horror film taps into a genuine oneiric current. In dream mode he lambasts conventional gender roles. The nightmare touch is assured and startling.

Keuliminen / Ride of Passage.

Katri Myllyniemi, Vilja Autiokyrö | Finland 2019 | Documentary | 7 min
    TFF: "In secret, on the outskirts of the city, hundreds of teenage boys gather and show off on their mopeds and motocross bikes. The summer night is filled with the noise and smoke of straining motors, all against a dark, silent backdrop of looming pines. All you need to belong is a two-wheeler of your own. The riders are just a step away from adulthood. They are living their last moments of freedom, the future already in sight. These secret moped meeting gatherings are popular and widespread throughout Finland, organised and spread through social media."
    "Sadat teini-ikäiset pojat mopoineen ja motocross-pyörineen kokoontuvat salaiseen paikkaan kaupungin laidalle. Kesäyön täyttää pyöristä lähtevä melu. Rataa kiertävien, savuttavien ajopelien takana kuuset seisovat ylväinä. Jos käytössäsi on kaksipyöräinen kulkuvälinen, muuta ei tarvita. Pojat ovat aivan aikuisuuden kynnyksellä ja elävät viimeisiä vapauden hetkiään, mutta tulevaisuus siintää jo heidän edessään."
    AA: A factual record of the outlandish rituals of round-the-clock motocross rides. Totally insane, and totally absorbing.

Eläinsilta U-3033 / Animal Bridge U-3033

Milja Viita | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Documentary | 13 min
    TFF: "Animal Bridge U-3033 is about the parallel realities of humans and wild animals. It’s filmed during a year on a bridge above motor highway. These bridges are architecturally engrossing structures, addressed only to the nature, allowing animals to cross the highway."
    "Eläinsilta U-3033 on kertomus ihmisten ja villieläinten rinnakkaistodellisuuksista. Elokuva on kuvattu moottoritien ylittävällä sillalla. Nämä rakennelmat on tarkoitettu eläinten käyttöön, jotta ne voivat kulkea teiden yli."
    AA: Shot with infrared surveillance cameras, a huge amount of footage was edited into a nocturnal vision of the parallel reality of animals crossing a custom-built bridge over the highway. A phantom world is full of life next to us while we are asleep.

Syötäväksi syntynyt / Born to Be Eaten.

Kati Laukkanen | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 11 min
    TFF: "A symphonic portrait of the five week life of a broiler chicken."
    "Tällainen on tehotuotetun broilerin viiden viikon elämä."
    AA: We know the story, and everytime it is shocking to hear. Hundreds of thousands of chicken exist only in as industrial material to be processed as food. Every scene is an argument for vegetarianism.


Anssi Kasitonni | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Fiction | 9 min
    TFF: "Sakke is a Finnish snowboarder who is going to make a movie with his buddy. Sakke is also the world´s first radio controlled snowboarder."
    "Sakke on suomalainen lumilautailija, joka aikoo tehdä kaverinsa kanssa elokuvan. Sakke on myös maailman ensimmäinen radio-ohjattava lumilautailija."
    AA: A music video based on a radio controlled puppet. While Sakke may seem an animation, it is not: it is a live puppet movie! ♪ Anssi Kasitonni: "Luurankojengi". ♪ Anssi Kasitonni: "Laskettelubiisi".

Tuhkaksi / Ashes to Ashes

Tuuli Teelahti | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 6 min
    TFF: "When a body is cremated, all that remains, is some nails from the coffin. And that’s that."
    "Kun ruumis tuhkataan, jäljelle jää lähinnä nauloja arkusta. Että semmosta."
    AA: Not facts of life but facts of death: lessons in cremating.

En arg mors bekännelser / Confessions of an Angry Mother

Catarina Diehl | Finland 2018 | Animation | 6 min
    TFF: "She’s afraid of three things: losing her temper, hurting her own kids and turning into her own abusive and violent mother."
    "Hän pelkää kolmea asiaa: hermojensa menetystä, omien lastensa satuttamista ja muuttumista samanlaiseksi kuin hänen oma kaltoinkohteleva ja väkivaltainen äitinsä oli."
    AA: First person confessions in Swedish, a stream of consciousness of a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Conveyed in a mixed animation style, with freeze frames.

Arttu Nieminen | Finland 2019 | Experimental, Fiction | 4 min
    TFF: "Neurocinematic dive into surreal prophecy, where awareness of mankind reaches to the heavens."
    "Neuroelokuva sukeltaa mentaaliseen tykkylumikudokseen, näkyyn missä ihmiskunnan tietoisuus kurottaa korkeuksiin."
    AA: Experimental music video: "Come Let Us" with lyrics from the Bible: “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” The image is horizontally doubled: above we see the mirror image. Tykkylumi (heavy snow) is a central image.

Kaksi ruumista rannalla / Two Bodies on a Beach. Laura Birn.

Anna Paavilainen | Finland 2019 | Fiction | 20 min
    TFF: "A WOMAN wakes up on a beach tied in a plastic press wearing only underwear and high heels. “Not again”, she sighs and decides to track down the enemy and strike back. She gets a companion from AN OLDER WOMAN, who has been pushed to the borders of society.  During their journey through classical cinematic landscapes these nameless women from different generations struggle to connect and understand each other’s perspectives while their passion for men and male attention gets in away."
    "Nainen herää rannalta muoviin käärittynä puolialastomana korkokengissä. “Ei taas”, hän huokaa, ja päättää löytää syyllisen. Nainen saa houkuteltua mukaansa kostoretkelleen maailmanlaidalle sysätyn vanhemman naisen. Kulkiessaan läpi klassisten elokuvallisten maisemien nämä nimettömät naiset joutuvat kohtaamaan omat himonsa, sukupolvien ristiriidat ja idealisminsa haurauden."
    AA: A hallucinatory odyssey of two women lost in the world of chauvinistic entertainment clichés. Impressively shot in scope. ♪ Sirpaleprinsessa.


The show started and ended with parodies of conventional macho film fantasies, linked by the contribution of Anna Paavilainen, star of Helsinki Mansplaining Massacre and director of Two Bodies on a Beach.

This is the time for such spoofs, but as vehicles for women's cinema they are trapped by negation to macho genre clichés.

The male look and the female look: for us human beings the common ground is bigger than the territory that is different and individual differences are bigger than gender differences, not forgetting that there are more genders than two. Having said this I think that there are strengths that are more typical for women than men: intuition, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, a taste for beauty, language, discussion, communication, tenderness, and caring. I don't forget that Socrates in Symposium confessed having learned everything from Diotima, including the greatest lesson: the wisdom of love. And the insight that the road to wisdom is via dialogue.

Men have a talent in death, women have a talent in life. In these parodies women are lost in Death Valley, and genuinely feminine strengths are absent.

Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 8

Toisinajattelija / The Dissident. Pentti Linkola.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF): National Competition 8
8.3. FRI/PE 13:30 | PLEVNA 2

Minä  olen ihminen sinun Jumalasi / I'm a Man, Your God.

Risto-Pekka Blom | Finland 2019 | Experimental, Fiction | 5 min
    TFF: "There was no room for other animals in the ark. The only one left is the king of creation, the worst of all animals, human."
    "Arkkiin ei mahtunut muita eläimiä. Jäljellä on vain luomakunnan kuningas, eläimistä huonoin, ihminen." (TFF)
    AA: Cosmic visions of air, water, nature. ♪ Arvo Pärt: Da pacem: Salve Regina. Cosmic irony.

Hiljaa kuin murhaajat / Silent as Murderers.

Lauri-Matti Parppei | Finland 2019 | Fiction | 17 min
    TFF: "Two friends are spending their last summer together, working as gardeners. They share a secret: in the night, they sneak into other people’s homes while the residents are sleeping."
    "Kaksi kaverusta työskentelee puutarhureina ja viettää viimeistä kesäänsä yhdessä. Heillä on salaisuus: öisin he hiipivät ihmisten koteihin, sillä aikaa kun talojen asukkaat nukkuvat." (TFF)
    AA: A weirdly elegant tale of summer gardeners who visit the houses of their employers as cat burglars at night. Stylishly shot in scope.

1,5 metriä tilaa / 1,5 Meters Space. Sinikka and her young neighbour, the film director Vilja Autiokyrö

Vilja Autiokyrö | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 17 min
    TFF: "Sinikka has by chance made acquaintance with her downstairs neighbour Vilja and asked her for help. Things have taken over Sinikka’s home and there is only a small human-sized pathway left in the apartment. As a window renovation is approaching, Sinikka needs to clear 1,5 meters empty space. A short documentary of friendship and its meaning in giving and receiving help."
    "Sinikka on sattumalta tutustunut alakerran naapuriinsa Viljaan, ja nyt hän pyytää tältä apua. Sinikan koti on tavaroiden valtaama, ja asunnon läpi kulkee vain kapea polku. Pian olisi tiedossa ikkunaremontti, joten Sinikan on raivattava puolitoista metriä tyhjää tilaa ikkunan eteen. Lyhyt dokumentti ystävyydestä ja sen merkityksestä avun antamisessa ja vastaanottamisessa." (TFF)
    AA: Home cleaning as extreme sport: Sinikka is almost vanishing into things that are accumulating in her apartment. Her young neighbour, the film director Vilja Autiokyrö, manages to clear the 1,5 meters that are needed for the window repairs.

Maalitaulu / Target. Smartphones as weapons in social media.

Antti Heikki Pesonen | Finland 2019 | Fiction | 8 min
    TFF: "One man accuses another of inappropriate behavior and threatens to shame him on social media."
    "Mies syyttää toista asiattomasta käytöksestä ja uhkaa nolata hänet sosiaalisessa mediassa." (TFF)
    AA: Smartphone as a weapon with which you can destroy another person in an instant. Due to a misunderstanding a man is branded as a pedophile. A mislabelled smartphone photo is ready to be sent online.

Georg Grotenfelt | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 26 min
    TFF: "Pentti Linkola is a well known philosopher, ornithologist and writer. All his life he has been concerned with the future of mankind and nature. He predicted the ecocatastrophe already in the 1960ies. This film shows his daily life living on his own in the middle of the forest."
    "Pentti Linkola on tunnettu filosofi, lintutieteilijä ja kirjailija. Läpi elämänsä hän on ollut huolissaan ihmiskunnan ja luonnon tulevaisuudesta. Linkola ennusti meneillään olevan ekologisen katastrofin jo 1960-luvulla. Tämä elokuva on kuvaus hänen arjestaan yksin metsän keskellä." (TFF)
    AA: Much has been written about Pentti Linkola, Finland's most prominent eco-warner since the 1960s. This portrait documentary does not focus on him as a doomsday prophet but as a nature lover. Shot during three autumns by Georg Grotenfelt, a friend of Linkola's since the 1970s. A beautiful account of the infinite wonders of nature as experienced by Linkola. ♪ Beethoven: späte Streichquartette. Vivaldi: Le quattro stagioni.

Kaikki tätini lemmikit / All My Aunt's Pets

Iiti Yli-Rinne | Finland 2018 | Documentary, Animation | 4 min
    TFF: "Aunt’s life does not go as planned. Best of intentions do not always suffice. Animation documentary of my aunt’s baffling pet history."
    "Tädin elämä ei suju suunnitelmien mukaan, eivätkä parhaatkaan aikeet aina riitä. Animaatiodokumentti tätini kummallisesta lemmikkihistoriasta." (TFF)
    AA: Stop motion cut-out animation of aunt's wacko pet history including birds, cats, dogs, fish, and turtles.

Siivooja / Cleaning Woman. Elina Knihtilä as the deranged cleaning woman.

Teemu Nikki | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 17 min
    TFF: "When author Katariina Ohtola decides on a change, the services of a publisher, a reporter and a cleaning woman are called for."
    "Kun kirjailija Katariina Ohtola päättää aikaansaada muutoksen, tarvitaan avuksi kustantajan, toimittajan ja siivoojan palveluita." (TFF)
    AA: A horror story in Stephen King territory. A deranged cleaning woman thinks that an award-winning writer has stolen her life and decides to retaliate by stealing hers.

Olliver Hawk / The Hypnotist

Tampere Film Festival (TFF), National Competition 7
8.3. FRI/PE 11:00 | PLEVNA 5
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin
D: Arthur Franck | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 72 min

TFF: "In 1980, Finland’s most famous hypnotist Olavi Hakasalo, a.k.a Olliver Hawk, was put on trial accused of fraud. His mission in life had been to spread the gospel of the power of suggestion, and he was willing to risk everything to become a player of political influence on the big stage. But in the corridors of power, with a nation’s destiny at stake, an eccentric showman sitting on too many secrets is considered a liability."

"Vuonna 1980 Suomen kuuluisin hypnotisoija Olavi Hakasalo eli Olliver Hawk joutui oikeuden eteen petoksesta syytettynä. Hänen elämäntehtävänään oli ollut levittää suggestion voiman sanomaa, ja hän oli valmis panemaan peliin kaikkensa noustakseen politiikan huippunimien joukkoon. Mutta kun panoksena on kansakunnan kohtalo, on omaperäinen viihdyttäjä, joka tietää liikaa, lähinnä uhkatekijä." (TFF)

AA: Classified as a documentary, The Hypnotist is a portrait of a genuinely fascinating character, Olavi Hakasalo (1930–1988).

I like this film very much, but it would have been even better if it would have been more strictly focused on the documentary and the factual.

Now key scenes and voices are enactments which certainly makes the movie more smooth and entertaining but documentary credentials are fundamentally weakened.

Olavi Hakasalo was undoubtedly an exceptionally talented hypnotist. He was also a colourful showman whose exploits were covered in magazines such as Hymy, Jallu and Ratto with little regard to credibility and a high commitment in sex and sensation.

Arthur Franck has created an engaging film which veers quite a bit in Hymy – Jallu – Ratto territory.

My associations run into famous instances of hypnosis in the cinema, including Le Mystère de Roches de Kador, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Dr. Mabuse der Spieler, and The Manchurian Candidate. But also clairvoyants like in Schicksal aus zweiter Hand and Hanussen. And magicians including Orson Welles in F for Fake.

Hypnosis in politics is a major theme in The Hypnotist. There is a bizarre story of Urho Kekkonen (1900–1986, President of Finland over 25 years, the longest reigning head of state in a democratic country) and his famous populist adversary Veikko Vennamo (1913–1997). Allegedly Kekkonen consulted Olavi Hakasalo to undermine Vennamo, and Vennamo caught wind of this. The case is not very solidly stated in the movie.

Certainly hypnotic aspects have been evident in politics, alarmingly so in the case of Adolf Hitler, and today in the presence of Donald Trump. A force of persuasion that defies reason and argumentation.

The Hypnotist is a fascinating film. During the film we get a step-by-step course of hypnosis. Hawk was a good teacher with a sense of humour and self-reflection. He made mistakes, acknowledged them, learned from them and never gave up. He died on stage in his last show.

In the concluding Q &A Arthur Franck stated that film is also hypnosis.


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Avaruusromua 28 vuotta / Space Junk 28 Years

Avaruusromua 28 vuotta.
4. Toimi Tytti featuring Jimi Tenor: "Ykskyt yks Gawolski".
Abandoned service station, Helsingintie, Mäntsälä.

Avaruusromua 28 vuotta: Betonisen aikakauden muistomerkit: Outoja ääniä ja hylättyjä paikkoja /
Spake Junk 28 Years: Monuments of the Concrete Era: Strange Sounds and Empty Places from Finland
Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 6
T32 | 7.3. THU/TO 21:00 | PLEVNA 5
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin
D: VJ Indigo | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 60 min

TFF: "The monuments of the age of concrete, abandoned places and objects engage in dialogue with previously unheard Finnish electronic music."

"Betoniaikakauden monumentit sekä hylätyt paikat ja rakennukset käyvät keskustelua aiemmin julkaisemattoman suomalaisen konemusiikin kanssa."

Concept: Jukka Mikkola. D+Cin+visual design: VJ Indigo. ED: Anne Halttune. PC: Yle Kulttuuri.

1. Tuomo Väänänen: "Necessidades".
Abandoned car, Airport, Helsinki.

2. Kuupuu: "Zooah".
Abandoned car, Luukki, Espoo.

3. Rasmus Hedlund: "Yläilmoissa elävä".
Sunken ship, Verkkosaari, Helsinki.

4. Toimi Tytti featuring Jimi Tenor: "Ykskyt yks Gawolski".
Abandoned service station, Helsingintie, Mäntsälä.

5. Olga Palomäki: "7 pm - 7 am (edit 2)".
Abandoned car, Tattarisuo, Helsinki.

6. Latmos: "Sculptur av nordiskt sinne".
Abandoned car, Ämmässuo, Espoo.

7. Tsembla: "Rain Cycle".
Concrete pillars under Helsinki Lahti motorway, Tattarisuo, Helsinki.

8. Timo Kaukolampi: "Kolmas tila (edit)".
Abandoned manor, Kruunuvuori, Helsinki.

9. Hannu Ikola: "Three Last Digits (edit)".
Watertower to be demolished, Lauttasaari, Helsinki.

10. Minea: "Kanto".
Abandoned apartment building, Jakomäki, Helsinki.

AA: Avaruusromua is an acclaimed radio program specializing in experimental and electronic music, edited by Jukka Mikkola since 1990. The music ranges from ambient to electronic, contemporary, experimental, underground, and avantgarde.

I would not call Avaruusromua the movie a documentary. It is an experimental film, a visual response to ten pieces of experimental music.

It is a contemporary interpretation of the quintessential Romantic theme of the ruin. The ruins here include buildings, cars, ships, service stations, and an abandoned landmark, the Lauttasaari watertower. Achievements of culture taken over or falling back to the state of nature.

In the framing narration Jukka Mikkola philosophizes about the nature of time and the time of the nature.

Extérieur nuit: everything takes place at night. The framing footage is in extreme low angle, showing tree tops at night.

The ruins themselves are also recorded in darkness, illuminated by stroboscopic lights. Sometimes the flickering lights obey the rhythm of the music track.

An experience of transcendental meditation. A ghost story of abandoned constructions.

Tee se itse -elämä: Combat Rockin tarina / DIY Life: The Story of Combat Rock Industry

Tee se itse -elämä: Combat Rockin tarina. The end is near for Combat Rock Shop in 2016. Jani Koskinen kept it going against all odds. But the end is also a beginning.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF): National Competition 5
7.3. THU/TO 18:30 | PLEVNA 2
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin
D: Janne Tanskanen, Ville Asikainen | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 78 min

Punk acts featured: Manifesto Jukebox, Haloo Helsinki, Lama, The Heartburns, Valse Triste, Euthanasea, Aurinkokerho, Endstand, Phoenix Foundation, Atom Notes, Wasted, I Walk The Line, The Soundkeeper, Presley Bastards, Lighthouse Project, Unkind, Abduktio, Kuudes Silmä, Kakka-Hätä 77.

Interviewees: Jani Koskinen, Janne Tamminen, Ville Rönkkö, Toni Salminen, Miikka Järvinen, Ville Angervuori, Anne Pirkola, Jere Lehmus, Teemu Bergman, Leo Harrison.

Graphic design: Ville Angervuori. Animation: Janne Tanskanen.

The title Combat Rock is a hommage to the Clash album of 1982.

TFF: "A documentary movie about passion, do-it-yourself spirit, anxiety of small town teenagers and life changes brought on by adulthood. The story is told through a Finnish punk rock record label, Combat Rock Industry, which became one of the most significant ones operating in the 00’s."

"Dokumenttielokuva intohimosta, omaehtoisesta tekemisestä, pikkukaupungin ahdistavuudesta, punk-ideologiasta ja aikuisuuden tuomista elämänmuutoksista. Tarina kerrotaan 2000-luvun merkittävimmän suomalaisen punk-levy-yhtiön Combat Rock Industryn kautta." (TFF)

AA: A priceless documentary of a Finnish 2000s neo-punk phenomenon. Combat Rock Industry was a record label representing a powerful array of new punk bands. Many records were published, and the bands toured extensively all around Finland and Europe. The film is rich with interviews and tour performances. It is a remarkable oral history project about a team spirit. Young people were launched at an early stage to international careers, to see the world. A consistent visual design was created by Ville Angervuori both for the record label and the movie at hand.

Fifteen years ago, in 2004, the record label and the record shop hit the brick wall as sales crashed all over the world due to internet access. Jani Koskinen struggled with Combat Rock Shop until 2016 when he gave up but instantly found a young successor.

I like the energy, the spirit, and the jovial and affectionate approach of this refreshing rockumentary.

Tampere Film Festival: National Competition 11

Sodan silmät 1918 / The Eyes of a War 1918

Tampere Film Festival (TFF): National Competition 11
T30 | 7.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin | 98 min

Super Comfort

Kirsikka Saari | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 15 min
    TFF: "A tragi-comedy about Taina (52) and the loneliness that can set in when the children are out of the house."
    "Lempeä tragikomedia viisikymppisestä Tainasta ja yksinäisyydestä, joka voi asettua taloksi, kun lapset ovat muuttaneet kotona." (TFF)
    AA: Generation gap is as deep as can get as the son comes to visit with his Goth girlfriend. Hitting all the wrong notes. There is no love lost. A chilling family story.

Blue Sky on Mars

Leena Jääskeläinen | Finland 2018 | Experimental. Animation | 7 min
    TFF: "An experimental animated documentary, based on interviews and animation workshops with an astronomer about her views on science fiction. In the workshops the main character has also animated parts of the final film."
    "Kokeellinen animaatiodokumentti, joka perustuu astronomin näkemyksiin scifistä. Projektin aikana järjestetyissä työpajoissa elokuvan päähenkilö myös itse animoi osia lopullisesta elokuvasta." (TFF)
    AA: Experimental animation with time lapse, stop motion, flipboards, cross-sections, pixillation, line drawings, lava, Lego animation, Northern lights, stardust, and a twisted surprise hommage to Planet of the Apes. Joy of animation.

Jouko Aaltonen, Seppo Rustanius | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 22 min
    TFF: "The Finnish civil war in 1918 was also a children’s war, with child soldiers on both sides. Children saw and experienced everything, fought in battles, were wounded and also executed. But children also played on the ruins of the war and believed in their future. The Eyes of a War is based on authentic photographs, and they speak for themselves. Each child, White and Red alike, is a victim of war."
    "Vuoden 1918 sisällissota oli myös lasten sota, sillä lapsisotilaita värvättiin molemmille puolille. Lapset näkivät ja kokivat kaiken, taistelivat aikuisten rinnalla, haavoittuivat ja joutuivat teloitetuiksi. Mutta lapset myös leikkivät sodan jälkeensä jättämissä raunioissa ja uskoivat tulevaisuuteen. Sodan silmät 1918 perustuu aitoihin valokuviin, jotka eivät selityksiä kaipaa. Jokainen kuvien lapsi, olipa hän valkoinen tai punainen, oli sodan uhri." (TFF)
    AA: Childhood is a privileged theme in the cinema as demonstrated by Mark Cousins in A Story of Children and Film. We think of Iran and Africa when we speak of child soldiers. But a hundred years ago we had child soldiers in Finland in our horrible civil war of 1918. There is a lot of photographic records of them, and Jouko Aaltonen and Seppo Rustanius have created a moving photo-montage of them covering the child's gaze, the child as a soldier, maimed corpses, humiliated prisoners, defiant eyes, faces turned serious too early, grieving children at graves, orphans, and schoolchildren after the war. In the end titles the photographers are credited, and they are among the greatest talents of the age. The address of the photographs is enhanced when they are projected on a cinema screen. The close-ups turn more fascinating. The records of concentration camps, parades and mass graves gain in epic stature. The visual quality is fine. ♪ Robert Schumann: Kinderszenen.

Kaivos / The Mine

D: Tommi Kainulainen | Finland 2018 | Experimental, Documentary | 7 min
    TFF: "A group a musicians are lured to gather deep down in an underground mine connected through the sounds of Finnish folk music led by the Notka accordionist and composer Anne-Mari Kivimäki."
    "Ryhmä muusikoita mainaavat suomalaisen kansanmusiikin säveliä maan uumenista säveltäjä Anne-Mari Kivimäen houkuttamana." (TFF)
    AA: A music video: the music emerges from the depths of the underground. Based on the crescendo principle: the music and the orchestra keep growing. ♪ "Kaivos" / "The Mine", Anne-Mari Kivimäki's "hypnotic etno music from Finland" played on her Notka accordeon, also published on YouTube.

Tiikeri / The Tiger

Mikko Myllylahti | Finland 2018 | Fiction | 11 min
    TFF: "On a winter evening Dad returns home drunk. Tiger is in his room and Mom is sleeping on the couch. A quarrel breaks out. Dad has a shotgun. Tiger and Mom escape the house. Haunting silence falls. Tiger must return inside to see what has happened – and to take the first steps towards independence."
    "Talvisena iltana isä tulee kotiin humalassa. Tiikeri on huoneessaan ja äiti nukkuu sohvalla. Riita puhkeaa. Isällä on haulikko. Tiikeri ja äiti pakenevat ulos. Karmiva hiljaisuus laskeutuu. Tiikerin on palattava sisälle katsomaan mitä on tapahtunut – ja samalla otettava ensimmäiset askeleet kohti itsenäisyyttä." (TFF)
    AA: Coming to terms with a traumatic family situation (alcoholism, family violence, threatening with a shotgun) via donning a tiger mask.

Star Shaped Scar

Vuokko Kunttu, Virva Kunttu | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 13 min
    TFF: "Star shaped scar is a short documentary about Jasmin Britney Koskiranta, a 26-year-old young woman from Finland. Jasmin does not work and she rarely leaves her apartment. Jasmin has a passion for clothes, make-up and especially for expensive shoes. She has several pairs of designer shoes that cost about 5000 euros a pair. These shoes have very high heels and are almost impossible to walk in. For Jasmin that makes no difference because she never walks in them."
    "Jasmin Britney pitää prinsessamekoista, meikeistä ja kaikista ihanista ja kiiltävistä tavaroista. Hänen suurin intohimonsa ovat kalliit Christian Louboutine kengät. Näillä kengillä on niin korkea korko, että niillä on mahdoton kävellä." (TFF)
    AA: Jasmin has become a living doll whose sole purpose in life is her appearance. In the finale we learn the full story. In her childhood she was hit by a car on a zebra crossing / crosswalk, and her spinal cord was severed. Nurses take care of her uninterruptedly in three shifts. The viewer figures of this film are high at the Yle Areena site.

Mummola / Family Time

Tia Kouvo | Finland, Sweden 2018 | Fiction | 23 min
    TFF: "A Finnish family gathers to spend a weekend together at grandparents’. When the night goes on, we realize that this is how things always go. By looking at recognizable patterns, the film is a humoristic and thought-provoking study in family dynamics and structures."
    "Suomalainen perhe kokoontuu mummolaan viettämään viikonloppua yhdessä. Illan edetessä käy ilmeiseksi, että näinhän asiat aina menevät. Elokuva tarkastelee yleistä tapaamme toimia ja pohtii humoristisella ja ajatuksia herättävällä tavalla perheiden sisäisiä rakenteita ja dynamiikkaa." (TFF)
    AA: Another desolate account of the generation gap as a family visits Granny. The discomfort is epic in all details. A study in the awkward.

Gods of Molenbeek / Aatos ja Amine

Gods of Molenbeek. Aatos and Amine ride on a flying carpet.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF) / National Competition 4
Reetta Huhtanen | Finland 2019 | Documentary | 73 min
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin | Duration/kesto: 73 min
7.3. THU/TO 13:30 | PLEVNA 2
    Languages include French, Arabic, Spanish and Finnish. Electronic subtitles in Finnish.

TFF: "The Molenbeek district of Brussels. In media seen as jihadi capital but home sweet home to the 6 year-old boys Aatos and Amine. Aatos wants a god of his own, as Amine already has Allah but the question is complicated by his friend Flo’s belief that people who believe in God have gone crazy. The children’s play is interrupted as terrorist bombs explode in a metro station nearby."

"Molenbeekin kunta Brysselissä. Tiedotusvälineissä sitä kuvataan jihadistien keskukseksi, mutta se on myös 6-vuotiaiden poikien, Aatoksen ja Aminen, koti. Aatos haluaa löytää oman jumalansa, sillä Aminella on jo Allah, mutta tilannetta mutkistaa Aatoksen ystävän Flon mielipide, että kaikki uskovaiset ovat sekaisin. Lasten leikki keskeytyy, kun läheisellä metroasemalla räjähtää terroristien pommi.

AA: With astonishing intimacy Reetta Huhtanen observes the plays and dialogues of 6-year old boys. The mother tongue of Aatos is Finnish, for Amine it is Arabic, and they communicate in French. They discuss religious regulations such as eating pork. They discuss the existence of God. For Muslims Jesus is a prophet but not a son of God. Aatos is also fascinated by the Gods of the Antiquity, and he even dresses as Hermes, complete with the shoes of Hermes. He knows that Hermes transports the dead to another place. The mystery of death intrigues him, and he buries a dead bird. Aatos and Amine also dress as mummies with the help of toilet paper and masking tape. Profound dimensions of fairy-tales are covered.

It all happens in Molenbeek in Brussels, labelled as a hotbed of terrorism. Aatos and Amine observe the terrorism alerts, the policemen, the memorial candles, the traffic stops. They cannot make sense of the explosion, they just laugh at the loud noise. Demonstrations are arranged contre le terrorisme. Muslims distance themselves explicitly from terrorism.

In the finale Aatos's family is moving and Aatos cries because he cannot play with Amine anymore.

The visual quality is usually good but variable at times. The soundscape is bright, fresh and lofty.


Pohjankävijäin merkintöjä / Northern Travelogues

The Crying Chukchi. Walrus carving, a crying human figure. A human figure, carved from walrus ivory, sitting with knees bent in front of him, elbows on his knees and hands on his face. The carving is the work of Maritime Chukchi Tshuuta of Dezhnevo village on the East Cape. Suomen kansallismuseo / Yleisetnografiset kokoelmat / Antellin kokoelmat. 6,90 x 3 cm. VK5794:1-35. Photo: Museovirasto / JL-Kuvastudio / Erik Lindroth.

Pohjankävijäin merkintöjä / Northern Travelogue. Photo: Tampere Film Festival.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF) / National Competition 3
7.3. THU/TO 11:00 | PLEVNA 5 |
Kira Jääskeläinen | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 58 min

TFF: "In 1917 Finnish explorer Sakari Pälsi travelled to north-eastern Siberia carrying a cinematograph and 13,000 feet of film with him. The journey birthed a unique documentary film and a travelogue. A hundred years later director Kira Jääskeläinen returns to the Bering strait in Pälsi’s footsteps. By combining old and new film footage, Pälsi’s notes and the stories of the local indigenous peoples, the film tells the story of the Chukchi and Siberian Eskimos from the days gone by till today."

"Vuonna 1917 suomalainen tutkimusmatkailija Sakari Pälsi matkusti Koillis-Siperiaan mukanaan kinematografi ja lähes 4 000 metriä filminauhaa. Matkan aikana syntyi ainutlaatuinen dokumenttielokuva ja matkakuvaus. Sata vuotta myöhemmin ohjaaja Kira Jääskeläinen palaa Pälsin jalanjäljissä Beringinsalmelle. Elokuva on yhdistelmä vanhaa ja uutta kuvamateriaalia, Pälsin muistiinpanoja ja paikallisten alkuperäisväestöjen tarinoita, ja se kuvaa tšuktšien ja Siperian eskimoiden elämää menneistä ajoista tähän päivään." (TFF)

AA: Three years before Nanook of the North, the archaeologist Dr. Sakari Pälsi, an expert of the stone age, made a wonderful ethnographic film called Arktisia matkakuvia / Travelling in the Arctic (FI 1917–1919). The film has been preserved by The Finnish Film Archive / National Audiovisual Institute. This year we are celebrating the centenary of this milestone of the genre.

For a long time already motion picture cameras had belonged to the standard equipment of scientific expeditions, and there was nothing unusual in Pälsi's decision to make a film. Pälsi's distinction was in his approach. He distanced himself from the already popular and superficial genre of the travelogue. Pälsi's focus was not in exotic attractions. Instead, he was seeking a genuine connection with the people he studied and was impressed with the Chukchi and Eskimo way of life.

The Chukchi are an indigenous people living in Northeast Siberia along the Bering Strait and the Chukchi Sea. Kira Jääskeläinen has already made a documentary film on Chukotka called Tagikaks (2012). In Northern Travelogues she returns to the Bering Strait and stages a time odyssey for the people she meets, arranging several screenings of Pälsi's film. We even visit a children's screening of Travelling in the Arctic. The past comes alive in the present.

A key image is a statue given to Pälsi by his friends, The Crying Chukchi. A stark and eloquent symbol of the fate of the Chukchi people, the closest relatives of the First Americans.

The Fall of the Wall in 1989–1991 took place also in the Bering Sea. In Uelen, Kira Jääskeläinen explores the saga of Teneskin, King of Uelen, who lived seven generations ago. His ancestors are also spread widely all over California, and relatives are now able to meet each other again after the Fall of the Ice Wall. A special word for these meetings, pagantikuk, means "crossing the strait".

There is a focus on art in Kira Jääskeläinen's meta-documentary. A wooden amulet carved in archaic fashion is the family protector. The Chukchi are sophisticated artists carving and painting objects from walrus teeth and whale bones. We visit a center of walrus bone art. Another current of Chukchi art is the extremely reduced and stark approach seen in The Crying Chukchi and the wooden family amulet.

During the Soviet era even Communist characters appeared in art objects fashioned in the traditional way. The Soviet era was calamitous for the language and culture of indigenous peoples. Russian language became dominant, and Chukchis were reduced to a minority in their own land. In three ways Soviet era was beneficial: in general culture, medicine and education. Life expectancy grew, and infant mortality sank.

Northern Travelogues is a beautiful and profound documentary exploration about cultural memory and identity. It is a time bridge over a century of epochal change in the land of an ancient people.

Muistikatkoksia / Zaćmienia / Blackouts

Tampere Film Festival (TFF) / National Competition 3.
7.3. THU/TO 11:00 | PLEVNA 5 |
111 min
D: Oliwia Tonteri, Jerem Tonteri | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 53 min
    In Finnish, Hebrew and Polish with Finnish / Polish and English subtitles.
   ♪ "Pożegnanie Ojczyzny" / "Polonez Ogińskiego" / "Farewell to My Homeland" (Michał Kleofas Ogiński) (1794).
    Jerem Tonteri's master's thesis Recollection on the Aalto University page.

TFF: "The Blackouts is an essay that tells the story of a family moving from Finland to Poland in search of their roots. Living in Warsaw, they face the hustle and bustle of a city scorched by its tragic past. In this documentary, we see their broken memories. A child losing her culture since moving to another country. A family with lost Jewish traditions between generations. A city demolished in Second World War. They all miss something. There is a hole in their memory."

"The Blackouts kertoo tarinan perheestä, joka muuttaa Suomesta Puolaan etsimään juuriaan. Varsovaan kotiutuva perhe kohtaa traagisen menneisyytensä kalvaman suurkaupungin. Dokumentti kuvailee perheenjäsenten rikkonaisia muistoja. Lapsi joutuu eroon omasta kulttuuristaan muuttaessaan toiseen maahan. Sukupolvi, joka on menettänyt juutalaiset perinteensä. Toisen maailmansodan tuhoama kaupunki. Kaikki kaipaavat jotakin, sillä muistoissa on aukko." (TFF)

AA: A long time in the making, Blackouts is a personal documentary quest about a Finnish family in search of its Jewish roots in contemporary Poland.

Blackouts is a post-assimilation tale. The Jewish tradition has been severed during previous generations, yet it remains meaningful today and is being passed for the next generation. Old people remember how everything was destroyed. We visit a Jewish graveyard and a Jewish kindergarten. Tales from the Torah are being told to the daughter of the family. Hanukkah candles are lit as reminders from the festival of light.

Oliwia was born in Warsaw, moved to Finland as a child and is now reactivating her Polish nationality. Her childhood memories are from Warsaw, such as a piece of glass buried in the ground, covering a flower. In Poland Oliwia still feels she is the little girl who never went away.

Jerem's Jewish ancestors fleed persecutions in Poland in the 1920s. For seven months they strayed in Baltic forests before arriving in Finland.

A group of Israeli schoolchildren visit Warsaw and the memorial of the Warsaw Ghetto Wall to understand why the state of Israel had to be established.

The wall between us is silence. The piece of glass keeps covering the secret of the flower.

A moving and intimate film essay about the search for Jewish family identity in the post-assimilation era.


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Pian hän tulee / Waiting for Hezhwan

Pian hän tulee / Waiting for Hezhwan. Hezha Sadek, the desperate father.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF) / National Competition 2
6.3. WED/KE 20:00 | PLEVNA 2
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin
D: Kati Juurus | Finland 2019 | Documentary | 69 min
    In Kurdish / English / Finnish. With subtitles in Finnish and English.

TFF: "The mother kidnaps the child from Finland to Iraq and prevents all communication between the father and son. Thus begins the father’s endless fight to bring the boy back to Finland using all means possible. How is the father able to bear the separation from his son as all attempts to get him back seem futile. What measures are the parents prepared to take as the divorce becomes a wretched game concerning the child’s whereabouts? And what, in the end, is the child’s best interest? Waiting for Hezhwan is a documentary film that feels like a thriller – up to a surprising end. It is also an intimate psychological study about one man’s family tragedy. Such tragedies become more common as globalisation makes marriages, relationships – and divorces – more international."

"Äiti kaappaa lapsen mukaansa Suomesta Irakiin ja estää lapsen isää ottamasta yhteyttä poikaansa. Alkaa isän loputon taistelu pojan saamiseksi takaisin Suomeen, ja siinä taistelussa kaikki keinot ovat sallittuja. Miten isä pärjää joutuessaan olemaan erossa lapsestaan, kun kaikki yritykset saada poika takaisin tuntuvat valuvan hukkaan? Miten pitkälle vanhemmat ovat valmiita menemään, kun avioero muuttuu peliksi, jonka panoksena on lapsen asuinpaikka? Ja mikä loppujen lopuksi on lapsen edun mukaista?" (TFF)

AA: A Kurdish family drama in Finland. Hezha Sadek tries to get back his son Hezhwan taken to Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Irak by Hezha's wife, Hezhwan's mother Juja.

Hezha takes all the steps. He tries to reach Hezhwan, Juja, and her father via Skype and the telephone. He makes a report to the police, and an Interpol order is given. He visits Abducted Children Finland. He talks with his mother and his sister. He talks with his friend. He visits Irak where he is put to jail for several days. He records YouTube videos for his son to watch. He even mounts a tent in front of the House of Parliament in Helsinki to make a demonstration.

At around 60 minutes in this movie of 69 minutes there is a turning-point. Hezha travels to Orlando for several weeks to visit Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church Of Mother Earth. He now sees everything differently. His love for his son was his only love, and for it he sacrificed everything. He confesses that he was not a loving husband. "We were not compatible". "My starting-point was my own ego". "My world view has completely changed". "We live in an age of spirituality. I love everybody".

Hezha cancels all his demands to the police and to his wife Juja.

The turning-point is a big surprise, but I have to confess that the obsessive-compulsive behaviour of Hezha raised questions all along. We never had a chance to learn Juja's point of view.

Ei koskaan enää / Never Again

Ei koskaan enää / Never Again. Documentary on the gangstarap artist Mercedes Bentso.

Tampere Film Festival (TFF) / National Competition 1
K11 | 6.3. WED/KE 16:00 | PLEVNA 2 |
Language/kieli: Eng, Fin
D: Aino Suni | Finland 2018 | Documentary | 69 min

TFF: "Linda is a rapper and a woman, who after getting brutally assaulted by her boyfriend, decided to leave the drug scene and started to pursue her dreams and build a new life."

"Kuusitoistavuotias Linda joutuu poikaystävänsä ra’asti pahoinpitelemäksi. Kasvokkain kuoleman kanssa Linda päättää henkensä säilyttääkseen päästä irti subukoukusta ja väkivaltaisesta miehestä. Kaksi vuotta myöhemmin kuivilla oleva Linda on gangstarap artisti Mercedes Bentso, joka puhuu alistettujen naisten asemasta." (TFF)

AA:  A hard hitting documentary portrait of the young Finnish gangstarap artist Mercedes Bentso, active in Finland and Sweden. A portrait of a fighter, abused since early childhood, abandoned by her father at age 4. Because of her Romani background, she is discriminated by the majorities. Because of her rapper identity, she is a stranger among the Romani. Her boyfriend is a convicted murderer serving a 14 year life sentence. It is a life of hardship with an unstable record producer but also a tale of overcoming all difficulties, not the least of which is rampant male chauvinism in hiphop circles.

Many songs are included, all written by Mercedes Bentso herself, coming to terms with the abuse and violence she has experienced, also her combat against narcotic addictions. She has something to say and she says it loud and clear.

A film full of life force and fighting power.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax.

Kunnian polut / Ärans vägar.
    US © 1957 Harris–Kubrick Productions. Bryna Productions, Inc. presents. P: James B. Harris, Kirk Douglas. D: Stanley Kubrick. SC: Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson – based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb (1935). Cin: Georg Krause – b&w – negative ratio: 1,37:1 – theatrical ratio: 1,66:1. AD: Ludwig Reiber. Cost: Ilse Dubois. Makeup: Arthur Schramm. SFX: Erwin Lange. M: Gerald Fried. Song: "Der treue Husar" (trad. German folk song) sung by Christiane Kubrick. S: Martin Müller. ED: Eva Kroll. Military adviser: Baron von Waldenfels.
    C  Kirk Douglas (Colonel Dax, commanding officer, 701st Infantry Regiment), Ralph Meeker (Corporal Philippe Paris), Adolphe Menjou (General Georges Broulard, corps commander), George Macready (General Paul Mireau, divisional commander), Wayne Morris (Lieutenant Roget, company commander), Richard Anderson (Major Saint-Auban, Mireau's aide de camp), Joseph Turkel (Private Pierre Arnaud), Timothy Carey (Private Maurice Ferol), Peter Capell (President of the Court Martial), Susanne Christian [Christiane Harlan / Christiane Kubrick] (German girl), Bert Freed (Staff Sergeant Boulanger), Emile Meyer (Father Duprée), John Stein (Capt. Rousseau, artillery battery commander), Harold Benedict (Captain Benedict, artillery liaison officer), Fred Bell (shell-shocked soldier).
    2395 m / 88 min
    Loc: Bavaria. Studios: Bavaria Studios, Pacaria-Filmkunst Studios. Filming dates: 18 March – May 1957.
    Premiere: 1 November 1957 in Munich.
    Finnish premiere: 14 Feb 1958, Savoy, Helsinki, distributed by United Artists Films – telecast 30 Aug 1965 MTV1 etc. – dvd 2011 Future Film Distribution – VET 48170 – K16
    A 35 mm print from Park Circus at 85 min.
    Screened at Kino Regina, Helsinki (Stanley Kubrick), 24 Feb 2019.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
– Thomas Gray: "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (1751). ["Elegia maakylän kirkkomaalla", fine Finnish translation by Yrjö Jylhä in Englantilaisen kirjallisuuden kultainen kirja, 1933].

In Finland Paths of Glory was immediately recognized as a masterpiece. It was voted as the best film of the year 1958, and it also received the Jussi Award (the Finnish equivalent of an Academy Award) for the best foreign film. An affectionate correspondence with Stanley Kubrick documents that the director was pleased with the acknowledgements. A special Finnish passion for Stanley Kubrick lasted to the end, until Eyes Wide Shut – and after.

Paths of Glory is still one of the great WWI films and one of the great war films in general. Its special distinction is in its focus on military command.

A standstill on the front is embarrassing for the headquarters, and something has to happen. General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) orders General Mireau (George Macready) to act. Mireau gives orders to attack Ant Hill, an operation that is nothing but a futile and doomed collective suicide mission.

When the capture of Ant Hill fails, three arbitrarily picked soldiers are court-martialled, given a guilty verdict and executed. Colonel Dax is furious and defends his men to the end, but General Mireau is only interested in promotion, and General Broulard just wants to protect the public image of the military.

Paths of Glory is full of controlled rage in its account of the madness of military technocracy and the machiavellian manipulations in high command. Kubrick's look is cold and precise, yet there is a lot of passion brewing.

Finns could sympathize with the character of Colonel Dax who reminds us of Lt. Koskela in The Unknown Soldier. The soldiers are seen as individuals who try to maintain their dignity in circumstances that are beneath dignity.

Paths of Glory is a story of men without women but in the finale the soldiers are relaxing in a bar in which a German woman prisoner is ordered to perform. With tears in her eyes she sings the folk song "Der treue Husar". The humanity of the brutalized soldiers is restored at least for the time being.

The print screened was good.