Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cud nad Wisłą / Miracle on the Vistula

Cud nad Wisłą / Miracle on the Vistula. The valiant priest Jan Skorupka leads Polish troops to combat Bolsheviks.

[Ihme Veikselillä]
    PL 1921. PC: Orient-Film. D: Ryszard Bolesławski. SC: Adam Zagórski. CIN: Zbigniew Gniazdowski. AD: Ewelina Librowicz-Mucharska, N. Borowski, Józef Galewski.
    C: Jadwiga Smosarska (Krysta – Maciej Wieruń's daughter), Anna Belina (Ewa – daughter of the hospital caretaker Piotr), Władysław Grabowski (Dr. Jan Powada), Edmund Gasiński (Maciej Wieruń, from Kresów), Leonard Bończa-Stępiński (Boneza / the hospital janitor Piotr), Stefan Jaracz (bolshevik agitator Jan Rudy), Zygmunt Chmielewski, Kazimierz Junosza-Stępowski (bolshevik agent), Honorata Leszczyńska (Mrs. Granowska), Jerzy Leszczyński (Jerzy Granowski), Wincenty Rapacki (father Granowski), Janusz Strachocki (gamekeeper), Bogusław Samborski (Michał, Krysta's brother), Michał Znicz (actor in the theatre troupe).
    Loc: Eastern Kręzy, the battlefield between Poles and bolsheviks 1920.
    The only surviving film where the legendary theatre actors Honorata Leszczyńska and Wincenty Rapacki can be seen on screen.
    Not released in Finland.
    A film in two parts and eight acts. Half of it survives: footage from acts 1, 3, 6, and 8. The Filmoteka Narodowa 2010 digital reconstruction with explanatory titles 44 min
    Introductory lecture by Jarno Hänninen.
    Screened a DCP processed from the Filmoteka Narodowa digital file, with Johanna Pitkänen at the piano and e-subtitles in Finnish by Petteri Kalliomäki, at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Centenary of the Restoration of Polish Independence), 19 Sep 2018

We are celebrating many centenaries, all connected: the First World War, the Russian Revolution, Finnish Independence, Finnish Civil War, Restoration of Polish Independence, Estonian Independence...

This was a rewarding and rounded presentation of Richard Boleslawski's Miracle on the Vistula. Although half of the movie missing, the Filmoteka Narodowa reconstruction helps make sense of what remains. Jarno Hänninen's informative lecture helped flesh out the turbulent historical context. Petteri Kalliomäki handled the electronic subtitling smoothly. Johanna Pitkänen brought a sense of Polish spirit with her interpretation of Chopin's mazurkas.

I don't remember having seen Boleslawski's silent films before. I was struck by his assured touch all over. I like already the portrait credit titles. Boleslawski does have a firm sense of mise-en-scène. The lighting is superb as are all aspects of the cinematography by Zbigniew Gniazdowski. The imagery is enchanting. The art titles are stylish. Moving masks and split screens are in use. Memory flashes are conveyed as ingrained superimpositions of faces.

Quite evidently this was a prestige production.

The actors are good, and Boleslawski is a good director of them. He had been a pupil of Konstantin Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre. In 1923 in New York, together with Maria Ouspenskaya, he established the American Laboratory Theatre, and his students included Stella Adler, Harold Clurman, and Lee Strasberg.

With materials as fragmented as these, it is impossible to comment on the storytelling.

As for historical accuracy, it is probably better to consult a good history book. Suffice it to say that the enemy is portrayed in gross caricature, as an incarnation of the Devil. The epic battle scenes are well staged.

A beautiful job of restoration by Filmoteka Narodowa. I like the refined simulation of toning. It looks like this copy has been produced without adjustment to silent speed (the proper speed might be 20 fps). There are music credits in the end titles, but this copy is silent.



BlacKkKlansman / BlacKkKlansman
    US © 2018 Focus Features. Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures present in association with Perfect World Pictures a QC Entertainment / Blumhouse production – a Monkeypaw / 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production – A Spike Lee joint.
    P: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, Spike Lee, Shaun Redick.
    D: Spike Lee. SC: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee – based on the book Black Klansman (2014) by Ron Stallworth. CIN: Chayse Irvin – colour – 2,39:1 – shot on 35 mm and 16 mm – digital intermediate 4K (master format) – release: D-Cinema. PD: Curt Beech. Cost: Marci Rodgers. M: Terence Blanchard. S: Phil Stockton – Dolby Atmos. ED: Barry Alexander Brown
    C: John David Washington (Ron Stallworth), Adam Driver (Flip Zimmerman), Topher Grace (David Duke), Laura Harrier (Patrice Dumas), Ryan Eggold (Walter Breachway), Jasper Pääkkönen (Felix), Corey Hawkins (Kwame Ture), Paul Walter Hauser (Ivanhoe), Ashlie Atkinson (Connie), Alec Baldwin (Beauregard / Narrator), Harry Belafonte (Jerome Turner).
    134 min
    US premiere, Finnish premiere: 10 Aug 2018.
    DCP with Finnish / Swedish subtitles viewed at Tennispalatsi 8, Helsinki, 19 Sep 2018.

Spike Lee is at his best in BlacKkKlansman.

I have loved Spike Lee's work since She's Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing. Released by Universal, Do the Right Thing was his breakthrough film in Finland, and next year we screened the independent prodution She's Gotta Have It at Cinema Orion. Other special favourites of mine include Malcolm X and 4 Little Girls, a documentary about the Birmingham Baptist church massacre in 1963 by the Ku Klux Klan.

As a work of political cinema and engaged cinema BlacKkKlansman is of the highest order. It is an account of the black civil rights movement and the transformation of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1970s.

The speech sequence of the civil rights leader Kwame Ture (ex-Stokely Carmichael) is engrossing and compelling. It is one of the best sequences I have seen about radical political movements in the 1970s. An anthology piece of positive energy.

The Ku Klux Klan story feels convincing, too, based on the true story of an undercover detective. Psychologically I can believe in these characters. I knew neo-Nazis in my country at the time. They were complex figures, with a kind of a joking approach, yet fundamentally taking it seriously.

The undercover story of a black Klansman would seem impossible if it were not true. This is not a story like the one in Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor where a black inmate of a lunatic asylum starts race riots in the white hood of a Klansman. Affinities are closer to stories of Jews infiltrating Nazi organizations, even including To Be Or Not To Be.

That association is relevant. Both Ernst Lubitsch and Spike Lee manage something almost impossible: discussing a brutal aspect of history with a profound sense of irony, satire and humour. This is Spike Lee's greatest achievement and I think here he takes a big step forward. Without watering down his case. Instead making it stronger.

BlacKkKlansman is a meta-cinematic film, challenging the great tradition of The Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. There is also an extended discussion between Ron and Patrice about blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Spike Lee's is the most serious attack ever against The Birth of a Nation, a film which incited the re-birth of the Klan and an outburst of brutal racial violence.

Towards the end we hear in graphic detail the first-hand account of Jerome Turner (Harry Belafonte) of the lynching of Jesse Washington in 1916 – a horrible crime directly provoked by a screening of The Birth of a Nation.

I believe that The Birth of a Nation can provoke such a reaction. I had found the film offensive but harmless until 23 years ago I saw a Centenary of the Cinema screening of a restored version with the engrossing original music played live. The film was better than ever, but also for the first time I was shocked at the horrible implications. I think Spike Lee makes a mistake in sampling inferior material of the film with underwhelming music, although this may be authentic to the way the film was seen in the early 1970s.

As a cop film and an undercover thriller BlacKkKlansman is different and original. In many levels it is about strangers trying to pass in foreign territories: the first black cop in the Colorado Springs force, a cop trying to infiltrate a radical student meeting, a black man trying to join the Ku Klux Klan, his white substitute attempting a double impersonation (both as a cop at the KKK and a Jew standing for a black guy)... this is also a profound and revelatory account about true identities and playing roles. Also the presumed difference between a white and a black person's voices is discussed.

The romantic story reflects this. Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier) suspects Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) from the start, but their reactions are complex. Ron approaches Patrice as an undercover cop, but also as a man genuinely attracted to her, and the feeling is mutual.

BlacKkKlansman is a political film but not un film à these. The main characters are rounded and three-dimensional. Also the account of the police department is complex. Ron meets deeply ingrained racism but also the unconditional support of the force in his outlandish plan to infiltrate the KKK. The account of the esprit de corps if impressive.

The cast is terrific: John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace are memorable as the male leads. A Finnish talent, Jasper Pääkkönen, gets to play the lunatic Felix, the most fanatic and dangerous KKK member.

My favourite is Laura Harrier as Patrice Dumas, playing her with an Angela Davis approach. There is nothing more beautiful than a fighting woman. Angela Davis was world-famous at the time. Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono were inspired and even dedicated songs to her. Even in Finland there was a "Free Angela Davis" petition campaign. I signed it as a schoolboy.

Visually, BlacKkKlansman is engaging. The DP Chayse Irvin has shot the film on 35 mm and 16 mm, and in the 4K intermediate the rich photochemical quality has been successfully translated into digital.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mox Mäkelä: Vieras / Strange

Vieras. Kuunnelmaelokuva. [Strange. An audio play movie].
    FI © 2018 Mox Mäkelä.
    SC+D+ED+CIN+S: Mox Mäkelä.
    Voices: Juha Ekola, Annuska Hannula, Sue Lemström, Eero Ojala, Antti Peltola, Tom Pöysti, and a couple of assistants.
    M: Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Georg Friedrich Händel, Edvard Grieg, Johann Sebastian Bach, John Stafford Smith, François Couperin, Joseph Haydn.   
    Thanks: Mark Landis, Mikko Keinonen, Rauno Lauhakangas, Mekaanisen Musiikin Museo, Kuusakoski Oy.
    111 min
    English subtitles: Lola Rogers.
    Digital: Pro-Res processed as a DCP.
    In the presence of Mox Mäkelä introduced by Tytti Rantanen.
    Screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (premiere screening), 14 Sep 2018

Mox Mäkelä is a multi-talented Finnish conceptual artist. Since 1978 she has mounted exhibitions, collages, installations, actions and performances. She has pioneered new approaches in moving images and video projections for environment art. She also creates movies, radioplays and short stories.

Her newest work Vieras / Strange, several years in the making, is an artist's film and a kuunnelmaelokuva which means "an audio play movie". It is sound-driven. Voices and sounds are the engine, followed by visuals.

Certain artists' films are based on duration and minimalism. They are slow and meditative. In contrast, Vieras / Strange is a bounty. It is rich, abundant, generous, full of life, full of detail, full of associations. It offers more food for the mind than an average large art exhibition.

Vieras / Strange is a literate film, so verbal that it could be presented as a radio play. The text would deserve to be published as a book. The English translation is by Lola Rogers, acclaimed as the translator of Sofi Oksanen, among others.

Regarding the theme of the stranger announced in the title, Mox Mäkelä avoids direct and topical references. Associations can run freely from the xenia of Homer and Hesiod to existential estrangement, default condition of the artist.

This movie is not only about the human sphere but very much about the sphere of all living beings. Lions, bears and elephants belong to the cast of characters. As do Beluga whales of the Solovetsky Islands: their voices are part of the soundtrack.

This movie about the chaos of estrangement and dissociation has a particularly warm human presence on the voice track, thanks to talents such as Juha Ekola, Annuska Hannula, Sue Lemström, Eero Ojala, Antti Peltola, and Tom Pöysti.

The visual world is boldly experimental and avantgardistic. Time is compressed, transitions are unexpected, associations unconventional, camera angles surprising, jump cuts possible. In the visual sphere we are constantly removed from the comfort zone. This movie is about seeing differently.

The comfort zone is provided by the compilation music soundtrack which reminds me of the oldest radio programme of Finland (and one of the oldest in the world), "Lauantain toivotut levyt" ("Saturday Record Favourites"). A key melody is "Largo", arranged from the opening aria "Ombra mai fu" of Georg Friedrich Händel's lost opera Serse / Xerxes. It was one of the first tunes of which mechanical recordings were made, and on this soundtrack we hear two of them. ("Largo" is also a powerful and popular funeral theme. We requested it for our mother's funeral three years ago).

The ways to transcendence are mysterious and unpredictable.

Out of the ordinary Mox Mäkelä creates something extraordinary.

This movie is impossible to classify and may border on the unwieldy. But it is deeply felt, engaging, and puts my mind in wandering.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Women in the Cinema of the Sixties (a remark)

Onnenpeli / Game of Luck. Kaisa Korhonen, Anneli Sauli, Eija Pokkinen.

Women in New Wave Cinema is the theme of our series and seminar with Risto Jarva Society. Women directors were almost non-existent in the 1960s. There was no change in comparison with the studio era.

But new interesting women characters, defying stereotypes and clichés, emerged on the screen in Finland and elsewhere.

In the cinema of the 1960s there was a trend that the central consciousness in a movie was very often that of a woman. Michelangelo Antonioni is the obvious case in his series of films starring Monica Vitti. An interesting parallel is Alfred Hitchcock's cycle of five films with women protagonists whose name usually starts with the letter "M" (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie). Jean-Luc Godard's muse was often Anna Karina in his extraordinary series of 15 films. Robert Bresson preferred women as protagonists. As did Luis Buñuel in his interesting series of women facing the unknown (The Young One, Viridiana, Le Journal d'une femme de chambre, Belle de jour).

Women were privileged in reflecting the modern psyche. Perhaps the trend had been started by Ingmar Bergman in whose films men tend to be weak but women project an inner strength. In Finland, Jörn Donner was influenced both by Antonioni and Bergman.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Women in New Wave Cinema (Risto Jarva Society seminar) Day Two

Kesäkapina / Summer Revolt. Titta Karakorpi.

Kesäkapina / Summer Revolt. Titta Karakorpi.

Risto Jarva Society / KAVI.
Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 8 Sep 2018.

klo 9.00
Risto Jarva: PAKASTEET II (1970)
Katkelmia Tarja Markuksen elokuvista vv.1968–69.
Tekijävieraana Tarja Markus

klo 10.00
Puheenvuoro: mediatutkija Laura Saarenmaa
Katkelma Jatkoaika (1969) -ohjelmasta

klo 10.30
Eila Kaarresalo: AMPUMARATA (1969)
Tekijävieraana Eila Kaarresalo-Kasari

klo 11.00
Elokuvateatterin aulassa kahvia ja leivonnaisia, käteismaksu.

klo 11.35
Puheenvuoro: tutkimusprofessori Osmo Kontula
Katkelmia: AA:
    Kristiina (1966), D: Asko Tolonen, C: Kristiina Halkola, Pekka Autiovuori.
    Sirkku (1969, D: Timo Bergholm, Osmo Harkimo), starring Petra Frey and Tapio Hämäläinen, a touching drama about a schoolgirl who gets pregnant.
    Sex Kabaree (1967), a youthful approach.
    Sex Kabaree (1971), song by Kaj Chydenius and Veronica Pimenoff.
    Osmo Kontula presented an informative résumé of the sexual revolution in the 1960s

klo 12.15
Puheenvuoro: tietokirjailija Pontus Purokuru
Katkelmia: AA:
    Praha 21.8.1968, by Reijo Nikkilä, a photo montage.
    Ruusujen aika (1969), the scene shot on 21 Aug 1968.
    Jatkoaika (1968), a debate with Hannu Taanila, Lenita Airisto, Mauno Koivisto and Kirsti Wallasvaara, moderated by Aarre Elo. Referring to Koivisto's Harjavalta speech against radicalism, mocking "well-fed radicals".
    Vanhan valtaus (1968), photo montage by Peter von Bagh and his team. "I am worried about the number of provocateurs."

    Pontus Purokuru in his contribution emphasized the role of Kati Peltola, Liisa Manninen, Katriina Kuusi and Liisa Liimatainen. Riitta Jallinoja has stated that the intervention of a single person mattered. If Kati Peltola had not taken the initiative things might have been different. 1960s female activists refused to identify themselves as feminists and still do. Paavo Lipponen in his memoirs states that Liisa Liimatainen and her crowd saved the reputation of Finland by organizing an anti-USSR demonstration on 21 August 1968 in front of the Soviet Embassy. The women radicals were particularly brave and fearless in the 1960s.

klo 12.55
Puheenvuoro: FM, väitöskirjatutkija, ohjelmakoordinaattori Tytti Rantanen
Tekijävieraana Eija Pokkinen
Katkelma: Vihreä leski (1968)

klo 13.30
Jaakko Pakkasvirta: KESÄKAPINA (1970)
Tekijävieraana Titta Karakorpi-von Martens

klo 15.10
Jaakko Pakkasvirta: ELÄKÖÖN NUORUUS! (1968)

Saturday, September 08, 2018

UMO Jazz Orchestra featuring Alli Ikonen: Blue Notes on Silver Screen (concert)

Ville Vannemaa (tenor sax), Aili Ikonen, Heikki Tuhkanen (trombone), Mikko Pettinen (trumpet).

Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, 8 Sep 2018

Kirmo Lintinen, conductor and music programmer
Aili Ikonen, vocals

Teemu Mattsson, lead trumpet
Timo Paasonen
Tomi Nikku
Tero Saarti

Heikki Tuhkanen
Mikko Mustonen
Pekka Laukkanen
Mikael Långbacka, bass trombone

Jouni Järvelä, 1. alto saxophone
Mikko Mäkinen, 2. alto saxophone
Ville Vannemaa, 1. tenor saxophone
Olli Ojajärvi, 2. tenor saxophone
Pepa Päivinen, baritone saxophone

Seppo Kantonen, piano, electric piano
Vesa Ojaniemi, bass
Jaska Lukkarinen, drums
Jarmo Saari, guitar
Panu Savolainen, percussions

1. A Streetcar Named Desire [Viettelysten vaunu], 1951, D: Elia Kazan
– Four Deuces / Blanche, 5:30 (Alex North)
– Ville Vannemaa, cl; Jouni Järvelä, asax; Heikki Tuhkanen, trb

2. Touch of Evil [Pahan kosketus], 1958, D: Orson Welles
– Touch of Evil Suite 5:40 (Henry Mancini)
– Jouni Järvelä, asax

3. Singin' in the Rain [Laulavat sadepisarat], 1952, D: Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
– Singin' in the Rain, 5:00 (Nacio Herb Brown, lyr. Arthur Freed, arr. Teemu Takanen)
– Aili Ikonen, voc; Ville Vannemaa, fl; Panu Savolainen, vibes

4. West Side Story, musical 1957, motion picture 1961, D: Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise
Something's Coming, 2:20 (Leonard Bernstein, lyr. Stephen Sondheim, arr. Mikko Hassinen)
– Aili Ikonen, voc.

5. Anatomy of a Murder [Erään murhan anatomia], 1959, D: Otto Preminger
– Anatomy of a Murder (Soundtrack Suite), 10:00 (Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn)
– Jouni Järvelä, asax; Ville Vannemaa, cl; Pepa Päivinen, bar.sax; Seppo Kantonen, p; Tomi Nikku,; Olli Ojajärvi, tsax; Teemu Mattsson, lead-tr

6. Shadows [Varjoja], 1959, D: John Cassavetes
Strollin', 5:30 (Charles Mingus, lyr. George Gordon)
– Aili Ikonen, voc; Tero Saarti, tr; Ville Vannemaa, tsax; Vesa Ojaniemi, b

7. Orfeu Negro [Musta Orfeus], 1959, D: Marcel Camus
Manha de Carnaval (A Day in the Life of a Fool) / Yön väistyessä, 4:00 (Luiz Bonfá, engl. lyr. Carl Sigman, arr. Kirmo Lintinen)
– Aili Ikonen, voc

8. Dr. No [Salainen agentti 007 ja tohtori No], 1962, D: Terence Young
James Bond Theme, 2:00 (Monty Norman)
– Jarmo Saari, el. guit

9. The Pink Panther [Vaaleanpunainen pantteri], 1963, D: Blake Edwards
The Pink Panther Theme, 4:10 (Henry Mancini)
– Ville Vannemaa, tsax; Timo Paasonen, tr

10. The Naked Gun [Mies ja alaston ase], 1988, D: David Zucker
The Naked Gun Theme, 2:00 (Ira Newborn)

11. Rosemary's Baby [Rosemaryn painajainen], 1968, D: Roman Polanski
– Rosemary's Baby Main Theme, 2:45 (Krzysztof Komeda)
– Aili Ikonen, voc

12. Bullitt, 1968, D: Peter Yates
– Bullitt, Main Title, 2:30 (Lalo Schifrin)
– Jarmo Saari, el. guit

13. The Getaway [Pakotie], 1972, D: Sam Peckinpah
– Theme From "The Getaway", 3:00 (Quincy Jones)
– Timo Paasonen, tr

14. ”Powerhouse” has been played in 65 films in 1937–2010, especially in 1943–62 in dozens of short animations starring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck, and also in several more recent tv series such as Ren and Stimpy and The Simpsons.
– Powerhouse, 2:40 (Raymond Scott)

15. Toy Story [Toy Story – Leluelämää], 1995, D: John Lasseter
You've Got a Friend in Me, 2:00 (Randy Newman)
– Aili Ikonen, voc

16. The Incredibles [Ihmeperhe], 2004, D: Brad Bird
– The Incredibles Suite, 2:35 (Michael Giacchino)


17. West Side Story, musical 1957, motion picture 1961, D: Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise
Mambo, 3:00 (Leonard Bernstein, arr. Michael Philip Mossman)

18. The Happy Ending [Myötä- ja vastoinkäymisissä], 1969, D: Richard Brooks
– What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? [Luonasi sun], 3:30 (Michel Legrand, Finnish lyr. Hector, arr. Janne Toivonen)
– Aili Ikonen, voc; Tero Saarti,

Engrossing concert of film music performed by UMO Jazz Orchestra at the strength of 18. Even the most familiar tunes sounded fresh and original performed live. I was the presenter but also the most privileged audience member since I was also able to follow the rehearsals. They started well and kept getting better.

Many of the selections are familiar from the orchestra's previous concerts. Among the delightful novelties was Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse", an animation mainstay and a fiendish earworm, probably not an easy track for the orchestra to play.

Aili Ikonen's interpretations were superb for instance in Rosemary's song without words, Krzysztof Komeda's lullaby theme from Rosemary's Baby. Such a gentle interpretation is actually more ominous and haunting than a traditional one. Her voice conveyed motherly love while Seppo Kantonen's electric piano was the voice of the Devil. The interplay was magical.

They saved the best for the last. There are many interpretations by the greatest singers of Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?", from Frank Sinatra to Barbra Streisand and Dusty Springfield. But this tender and passionate interpretation by Aili Ikonen is the greatest I know. It also helped that there are no strings in this orchestration. Strings sometimes bring a clichéd touch to an arrangement.

Women in New Wave Cinema (Risto Jarva Society seminar) Day One

Lapualaismorsian (1967): Aulikki Oksanen, Kirsti Wallasvaara, Kristiina Halkola.

Risto Jarva Society / KAVI.
Cinema Orion, 8 Sep 2018.

klo 9.00
näytteitä suomalaisista elokuvista vv. 1966–1970
    AA: First screened was a vintage tv documentary with comments by the directors Jörn Donner, Risto Jarva, Matti Kassila, Erkko Kivikoski, Maunu Kurkvaara, Mikko Niskanen, Jaakko Pakkasvirta, and Spede Pasanen.
klo 9.45
Puheenvuorot: Marja-Leena Mikkola, Kaisa Korhonen, Tytti Oittinen. Moderator: Päivi Istala.
Katkelmia YT:n esityksistä ja harjoituksista
    AA: Marja-Leena Mikkola emphasized that the change started in 1958.
    The pacifist Lapualaisooppera / The Lapua Opera (1966) was a cultural turning-point.
    Se saw the stark and all too brief records of the actual Lapualaisooppera material, still electrifying. A passionate call for non-violence. The hymn 579 "Oi herra korkein valtiaamme". Hymns of Zion 221 "Tuon tästä päivästä kiitoksen sulle".
    Tytti Oittinen remembered that in those years in every night train there was someone screaming in his sleep, having nightmares of war.

klo 10.30
Mikko Niskanen: LAPUALAISMORSIAN (1967)
Tekijävieraana Aulikki Oksanen

klo 12.15
(elokuvateatterin aulassa kahvia ja leivonnaisia, käteismaksu)

klo 13.00
Tekijävieraina Aulikki Oksanen, Kristiina Halkola, Marja-Leena Mikkola, Eero Melasniemi

klo 13.30
Näyttelijä Meri Nenonen, ohjaajat Saara Cantell ja Hannaleena Hauru keskustelevat menneestä, nykyisestä ja tulevasta. Moderaattorina elokuvantekijä Aino Havu.
     AA: During the New Wave there were hardly any woman film directors, but women were protagonists in an interesting and rewarding way. Today women are doing it themselves but refuse to be seen as women filmmakers or doing women's films.

klo 14.10
Timo Bergholm: PUNAHILKKA (1968)
Tekijävieraina Eija-Elina Bergholm, Timo Bergholm, Kristiina Halkola.
Katkelma Jatkoaika-ohjelmasta (1969)

klo 16.00


Markku Varjola: Women in the Cinema of the New Wave (an essay, in Finnish)

Punahilkka / Little Red Riding Hood (1968). Kristiina Halkola.


Uusi aalto merkitsi Suomessa modernismin syntyä kuolevan vanhan elokuvateollisuuden raunioille. Tekijäpolvi vaihtui, uusi vapautunut estetiikka ja maailmankuva murtautui esiin. Muuttuvan ajan ja naisen aseman myötä myös naiskuvassa tapahtui uudistumista. Monissa elokuvissa kuvattiin naista etsimässä omaa identiteettiään, paikkaansa maailmassa, rakkaussuhteessa ja sosiaalisessa verkostossa. Vähitellen mukaan saattoi tulla yksilön tarve osallistua paitsi oman elämän myös yhteiskunnan käytännön, jopa sen rakenteiden muuttamiseen.
Kyllä vain, käytännöllisesti katsoen kaikki 1960-luvun suomalaisen uuden aallon ohjaajat olivat miehiä. (Ellemme lue uuteen aaltoon ainoaa naisohjaajan tuolloin tekemää pitkää elokuvaa, Ritva Arvelon Maria Jotuni -filmatisointia Kultainen vasikka, 1961, joka on eri ikäisten naisnäyttelijöiden juhlaa.) Poikkeuksena on pitkien elokuvien joukossa vain episodielokuva Tunteita (1966), ja sekin koostuu lyhytelokuvista, joista yhden (Toivo, rakkaus) ohjasi, kirjoitti ja kuvasi nainen, Leena Salokangas. Tässä suhteessa uudesta aallosta ei voi puhua naiselokuvana. Miesohjaajien vanha täysvalta alkoi hyvin hitaasti murentua vasta seuraavina vuosikymmeninä. Televisiossa naiset alkoivat yleistyä ohjaajina aikaisemmin, samoin kuin lavateatterissa. Elokuvien tuottajat olivat vielä tässä vaiheessa aina miehiä.

Uuden aallon merkkiteoksiin kuuluu Eila Kaarresalon esifeministinen lyhytelokuva Ampumarata (1969).

Naisia sentään esittivät elokuvissakin naiset. Näytteleminen ei ole vain käsikirjoituksen ja  ohjaajan sanan ja tahdon välittämistä, vaan luovaa työtä, jossa näyttelijä jos kuka osallistuu henkilökuvan luomiseen, ja tulkitsee sen itsestään käsin. Näyttelijän persoona on roolin päällä ja alla, siihen kietoutuneena vahvasti läsnä. Kristiina Halkolaa saatettiin pitää Filmihullu-lehden syntyessä jopa auteurina. Useassa tapauksessa käsikirjoittaja, naishahmojen ja kokonaisuuden kirjallinen luoja on ollut osittain tai kokonaan nainen (Kerttu-Kaarina Suosalmi, Eija-Elina Bergholm, Marja-Leena Mikkola). Näin elokuviin on voinut tulla aitoa naisnäkökulmaa ohjaajien miesnäkökulman vastapainoksi. Sakari Rimmisen Pilvilinnassa (1971) käsikirjoittajana oli niinikään nainen (Meri Kurenniemi), ja lisäksi nainen toimi kuvaajana (Pirjo Honkasalo), äänittäjänä (Inger Nylund) ja leikkaajana (Ilona Tanttu), ja osa muusikoistakin oli naisia. Matti Sokan Mustassa lumikissa (1971) Ulla Kivipato paitsi esitti pääosan oli myös käsikirjoittajana.

Maunu Kurkvaara tapaili ja availi uutta aaltoa ja naiskuvaa elokuvilla Autotytöt (1960, pääosissa Ritva Vepsä ja Sinikka Hannula) ja Rakas… (1961, Hannula). Samaa teki avantgardisti Eino Ruutsalo Tuulisella päivällä (1962, Raili Metsä). Kurkvaara jatkoi (Hannulan kanssa) Meren juhlilla (1963) ja Naisilla (1964). Mikko Niskasen Käpy selän alla (1966, Kristiina Halkola ja Kirsti Wallasvaara) löi ”uuden” naisen viimeistään läpi suurelle yleisölle.

Vuosina 1967-1970 syntyi Suomessa sarja uuden aallon pitkiä elokuvia, joissa päähenkilönä  on nainen: Niskasen Lapualaismorsian (1967, näyttelijöinä Halkola-Wallasvaara-Aulikki Oksanen), Jaakko Pakkasvirran Vihreä leski (1968, Eija Pokkinen), Erkko Kivikosken Kuuma kissa? (1968, Maarita Mäkelä), Timo Bergholmin Punahilkka (1968, Halkola), Kurkvaaran Punatukka (1969, Tarja Markus), Pakkasvirran Kesäkapina (1970, Titta Karakorpi) ja Jörn Donnerin Anna (1970, Harriet Andersson). Tämän jälkeen uutta aaltoa oli päättämässä naisohjaajan läpimurto: Eija-Elina Bergholmin Marja pieni! (1972, Liisamaija Laaksonen). Tekijöille ja yleisölle tuli tarve ymmärtää ”uutta”, tasa-arvoa vaativaa naista, tai naista uudella tavalla. Näissä keskenään  erilaisissa elokuvissa naisia lähestytään heidän omien tunteidensa ja ajatustensa kautta, suhteessa itseen ja ulkomaailmaan. Niissä kysytään kykeneekö nainen ottamaan elämänsä omaan haltuunsa hänelle määrätyssä/hänen omaksumassaan roolissa, vai tuleeko hänen rikkoa tuo rooli tullakseen itsenäiseksi. Nähtävillä on laaja naiskuvien kirjo, jossa tyypillinen ja typologinen limittyy  persoonalliseen ja yksilölliseen.

Risto Jarvan elokuvissa naiskuva alkoi vähitellen ja välillä syventyä ja laajentua. Yössä vai päivässä (1962, co-ohj. Jaakko Pakkasvirta) ollaan kauniissa viattomuuden tilassa. Onnenpelissä (1965) ei päästä muotiammattien (valokuvamalli, lentoemäntä) taakse tai läpi. Työmiehen päiväkirjassa (1967) kerronta  etenee lähiörouvan (Elina Salo) yksinäisyyteen, vieraantumiseen ja ahdistukseen, josta Pakkasvirran Vihreä leski jatkoi (Eija Pokkinen). Miehelle nainen on mysteeri, jota pitää tutkia sosiologin (Vihreä leski) tai historioitsijan (Jarvan Ruusujen aika, 1969, Ritva Vepsä) voimin, äänen ja kuvan keinoin. Mutta voiko mies määritellä naista? Onko hänellä pääsyä naisen psyyken, sen koko rikkauden sisälle? Niskasen Kävyssä Kristiina Halkola laulaa ja Lapualaismorsiamessa puhuu suoraan kameralle. Kivikosken Kuuma kissa? avautuu Maarita Mäkelän puheella kameralle. Välittyykö elokuvista naisen oma ääni, vai rajaako miehen katse sen pois?

Jörn Donnerin elokuvissa Mustaa valkoisella (1968 ) ja Naisenkuvia (1970) päähenkilönä on mies, ja niitä dominoi miehen (Donnerin) katse naiseen. Täällä alkaa seikkailu (1965) antaa naiselle (Harriet Andersson) vähän enemmän omaa tilaa, ja Annassa hän nousee keskipisteeseen (kuten jo Poikkiparrussa, 1967, Ruotsissa) .

Osittaista naislähtöisyyttä tekoprosessissaan edustivat Käpy selän alla (Marja-Leena Mikkolan käsikirjoitusluonnos), Kuuma kissa? (jonka käsikirjoitukseen Kerttu-Kaarina Suosalmi otti aineksia ”Neitsyt”-romaanistaan), Punahilkka ja Anna (Eija-Elina Bergholm alkuperäiskäsikirjoitusten tekijänä, ohjaajan kanssa),  Pilvilinna (Meri Kurenniemi skenaristina alkuperäisaiheestaan, ohjaajan kanssa) ja Musta lumikki (Maria Wolskan alkuperäisaiheesta kirjoittanut Ulla Kivipato, ohjaajan kanssa). Naisnäkökulma esiintyy näissäkin elokuvissa miesohjaajan (ja työryhmän) näkemyksen läpi suodattuneena, mutta on saattanut murtautua esiin, jos ja kun niin on annettu tapahtua.

Elokuvissa on yleensä ihannoitu nuoruutta. Tämä vielä korostui 1960-luvun uudessa aallossa, kun tekijäjoukko ja maksava yleisö elokuvateattereissa oli voittopuolisesti nuorta. Tuottajat halusivat ennen kaikkea murtaa seksivallin. Tilanteesta kärsivät keski-ikäiset ja vanhemmat naiset. Heidät nähtiin lähes pelkästään sivurooleissa, joissa ei välttämättä ollut paljoa tilaa vivahteille. Heille jäi usein epäkiitollinen tehtävä toimia nuorten vapautumista vastustavien vanhoillisten näkemysten äänitorvina. Sama rooli oli kyllä monesti myös vanhemmilla miehillä tänä sukupolvikapinan aikana, eikä heitäkään paljoa suosittu pääosissa. Uuden aallon elokuvista vain Annan päähenkilö on keski-ikäinen nainen. Nuorin naispäähenkilöistä on Pilvilinnan koululainen (Meri Oravisto). Nuorison suhde vanhempaan sukupolveen nousee keskeiseksi Kurkvaaran ekologisessa pamfletissa Rottasota (1968).

Näiden elokuvien naiset ovat konttoristeja (Naiset, Työmiehen päiväkirja, Mustaa valkoisella, Marja pieni!), kotirouvia (Vihreä leski), opiskelijoita (Lapualaismorsian), koululaisia (Pilvilinna), koulukotilaisia (Punahilkka), opettajia (Kuuma kissa?), tehdastyöläisiä (Punatukka), insinöörejä (Ruusujen aika), valokuvamalleja (Onnenpeli, Kesäkapina), sairaanhoitajia (Musta lumikki) tai lääkäreitä (Anna), esimerkiksi. Donnerin elokuvassa Sixtynine 69 (1969) pankkivirkailija ja rallikuski. Kolmessa elokuvassa kuvauksen keskeisenä kohteena on naisten muodostama yhteisö: Lapualaismorsiamessa opiskelijoiden asuntokollektiivi, Vihreässä leskessä päiväaikainen nukkumalähiö, Punahilkassa tyttöjen koulukoti naisopettajineen.

Kokonaisuutena katsoen uuden aallon elokuvista piirtyy laaja sosiologinen, ympäristöllinen ja ennen kaikkea inhimillinen kaari. Tyylilaji vaihtelee komiikan ja tragiikan, arkirealismin ja unen  välillä. Naiskuvassa on parhaimmillaan elävää monitahoisuutta, ristiriitaisuutta ja särmää. Monessa elokuvassa kuvataan naisen kasvuprosessia tietoisuuteen itsestään ja maailmasta. Nainen on läsnä ja piirtyy esiin hengen ja ruumiin muodostamana ainutkertaisena luomuksena, yksilöllisenä ihmisenä, tietyssä ajassa ja paikassa, suhteessa häntä ympäröiviin erilaisiin rooleihin ja odotuksiin.

Markku Varjola (2018)

Friday, September 07, 2018

La Cicatrice intérieure

La Cicatrice intérieure with Nico and her son Christian "Ari" Boulogne.

Nico: Desertshore. Album cover art (1970).

FR 1972. D: Philippe Garrel. SC: Philippe Garrel, Nico. Dialogue: Nico. CIN: Michel Fournier – 35 mm – 1,85 – colour. M: Nico. ED: Philippe Garrel. C: Nico, Philippe Garrel, Pierre Clémenti, Christian ”Ari” Boulogne, Daniel Pommereulle, Balthazar Clémenti, Jean-Pierre Kalfon. 60 min
    Loc: Death Valley  (USA), Egypt, Iceland, Italy.
    Soundtrack listing, all songs by Nico (composer, lyrics, vocals, harmonium):
"Janitor of Lunacy"
"My Only Child"
"All That Is My Own"
    There are no opening or closing credits.
    In English, German and French without subtitles.
    Warhol 90 / Nico 80 tribute curated by Antti Nylén and Mika Taanila.
    35 mm print from Philippe Garrel / La Cinémathèque française screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Nico 80), 7 Sep 2018.

A Queen (Nico) is suffering in the desert.

A man in the circle of madness (Philippe Garrel) surrounds her.

A naked archer (Pierre Clémenti), on horseback and in a boat, tries to approach her.

A scream of agony inspired by Nico's album Desertshore.

The presence of children brings a note of hope.

We screened what looked like a vintage print. The colours have faded and turned red. Yet it was a magical experience, the attendance was high and the audience perfect for the experience.

Before the feature we screened the music video Islaja: Nicosfääri (2016) by Merja Kokkonen and Antti Nylén, with a reference to Nico's "No One Is There".


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Le Fond de l'air est rouge / A Grin without a Cat (2013 AFF/CNC restoration)

Punaista ilmaa
    The 1977 edit: Le Fond de l'air est rouge. Scènes de la Troisième Guerre mondiale (1967–1977).
    The 1988 / 1993 edit: Le Fond de l'air est rouge. I: Les Mains fragiles. II: Les Mains coupées.
    FR 1977. PC: Iskra / INA / Dovidis. D+S+ED: Chris Marker. CIN: Pierre-William Glenn, Willy Kurant. Title music: Luciano Berio, based on Boccherini.
    Colour and black and white.
    Featuring: Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, Rudi Dutschke, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Régis Debray, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Fidel Castro, Wallander, Major Papy Shelton, Che Guevara, Charles de Gaulle, Philippe Dujouner, Alain Gesmar, Georges Marchais, Emil Zatopek (with glimpses of Marker's 1952 Helsinki footage), General Mendoza, Artur London, Mao Zedong, Lin Piao, Zhou Enlai, Jiang Qing, Georges Pompidou, Alain Touraine, Urho Kekkonen, Ulrike Meinhof, Larry Bensky, Richard Nixon, Arthur Penn, Salvador Allende, Beatriz Allende, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, V. I. Lenin, André Malraux, Augusto Pinochet, Joseph Stalin, Nguyen Giap Vo.
    [Voices in the 1977 edition: Laurence Cuvillier, Davos Hanich, François Maspero, Yves Montand, François Périer, Sandra Scarnati, Jorge Semprún, Simone Signoret].
    ♪ "Le Temps de cerises" (1866 paroles par Jean Baptiste Clément, 1868 musique par Antoine Renard).
    Original 1977 French edition: 240 min with commentary read by Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Jorge Semprun etc.
    Definitive 1988 English edition: 178 min.
    Restored version: 2013 Archives Françaises du Film (AFF / CNC).
    2K DCP of the definitive restored 178 min English edition screened at Cinema Orion (50th Anniversary of Helsinki Festival / 50 Years Ago / The Crazy Year 1968), 1 Sep 2018.

Première partie : Les Mains fragiles
I. Du Vietnam à la mort du Che
II. Mai 68 et tout ça
Deuxième partie : Les Mains coupées
I. Du printemps de Prague au Programme commun
II. Du Chili à quoi au fait ?

An epic montage essay of ten years of turbulence in France and the world in 1967–1977 revolving around the crazy year 1968.

Vietnam. Cuba. The Cold War. The rule by torture of the Shah of Iran. Student revolts in West Berlin and Paris. Black Panthers. The Cultural Revolution in China. The struggle in Venezuela. The interminable speeches of Castro. The Prague Spring of 1968 crushed by Soviet tanks on 21 August: the Russian goodwill thanks to the liberation from the Nazis perished in a day. Ordinary people resentful against student rebels. The shaky terms between the unions and the students. Socialism in one country vs. internationalism. Mitterrand's socialist market economy. The funeral of Jan Palach. The 2500 year celebration of the Persian Empire at Persepolis in 1971. The Minamata mercury poisoning disaster in Japan. The Watergate hearings. The rise and fall of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. The first of May in Paris in 1977, "the last day of the united Left".

I first saw Chris Marker's masterpiece 27 years ago in the magnificent touring show of Institut Français called 100 Années Lumière, the best touring retrospective I have ever seen. (Our program note by Louis Marcorelles et al., in Finnish beyond the jump break, dates from the program catalogue of that show). It was already the three hour version. I cannot accurately recall it, but I have vague memory of a rambling, stream of consciousness style attempt to grasp something overwhelming. With a sense of "it's too early to say", referring to Zhou Enlai's answer when he was asked about his opinion about the French Revolution in its 200th Anniversary celebration.

There is no definitive film about that important period of world history, but someone should make one. For the present generations and for the future ones. There is a lot of astounding material in this film. We should annotate it again: the names and the dates, familiar to the ones who lived at the time, should be clearly announced and explained. The present mumbling English narration should be replaced with a better one. (Although there is talent such as Robert Kramer among the present readers).
I can't wait to see this film again. In this screening the most memorable moments included:
– Fidel Castro as a legendary performer
– the deeply moving funeral of Jan Palach
– the cynical atmosphere in the 2500 year celebration of the Persian Empire (the Finnish President Urho Kekkonen highly visible wearing a top hat among the guests of honour)
– the Minamata disaster preceded by the ubiquitous Markerian cat montage
– the courage of Salvador Allende: venceremos!

A film about the grand ideas of the Left and how they failed.

But Chris Marker in this film fails to register that the world did change permanently thanks to the événements. Deep reforms changed France, including its education and health care. Much was achieved. What was planned did not happen. But big things happened that would not have taken place without the rebellions. The crushing of the Prague Spring was the final proof that the Soviet empire was hopeless. The Thaw had ended, and Glasnost came too late 20 years after.

There is a roll of honour of the greatest cinematographers of France in the final credits. I hope to retrieve the names somewhere and copy them here.

This important 2013 restoration has been conducted with a fine sense of judgement.