Wednesday, May 31, 1989

May 1989 Helsinki

Alexander Korda: Az aranyember / Kultamies / Der rote Halbmond (HU 1919).

30 April 1989 Born Free / Elsa – vapaana syntynyt. GB 1966. D: James Hill. Orion. Game warden's wife takes care of a lion cub and then wants to set her free, a feat almost impossible. Strong narrative, fine sense of the nature, emotionally touching, a tremendous John Barry score. Actors are realistic in authentic situations but read their lines in a bit wooden fashion.

2 May 1989  The Cocoanuts / Kookospähkinöitä [2]. US 1929. D: Robert Florey, Joseph Santley. Orion. For the first time with early sound aperture. Marvellously leisurely, sleazy, spontaneous... A relaxed stream of jokes and gags, Irving Berlin music great, girls' tights revealing. The fact that this is actually a straight record of the Marx Bros. Broadway show does not bother me.

4 May 1989  Storia di ordinaria follia / Tales of Ordinary Madness / Kaupungin kaunein tyttö. IT/FR 1981. D: Marco Ferreri. Orion / Ihanat italiattaret. English version. Strong on the existential side of sex: absolute sex. Ben Gazzara excels as the Charlos Bukowski like writer, Ornella Muti as his most haunting encounter. She is incredibly beautiful. Image of writer a bit overdone, Muti's self-mutilation too calculatingly sensational.

6 May 1989  Things Change / Näin se käy. US 1988. D: David Mamet. Forum 4. Funny, intelligent, with a sharp sense of poker and bluff. Excellent performances by Joe Mantegna, Don Ameche. Mamet is emerging as a director of stature.

6 May 1989  The Naked Gun / Mies ja alaston ase. US 1988. D: David Zucker. Formia 1. Perfectly crafted nonsense. Jet stream of weird gags counterbalanced by Leslie Nielsen's deadpan performance.

6 May 1989  The Accidental Tourist / Yksinäinen matkailija. US 1988. D: Lawrence Kasdan. Maxim 2. Psychological insight in sophisticated triangle play. The protagonist is a writer of tourist guides for businessmen who don't really want to travel or experience anything. Starting a new relationshiop understood as a way to a new definition of self, breaking loose from an injured perception of identity. A pity the film is too melancholy. Poetry is missing.

7 May 1989  Tequila Sunrise / Tequila Sunrise – vaarallinen sekoitus. US 1988. D: Robert Towne. Formia 3. Interesting ingredients degrade into something duller than standard tv crime fare.

7 May 1989  Twins / Identtiset kaksoset. US 1988. D: Ivan Reitman. Formia 2. Effective light entertainment.

7 May 1989  Gorillas in the Mist / Sumuisten vuorten gorillat. US 1988. D: Michael Apted. Bristol 2. Strong appeal to protection of wildlife and strong character drama, incarnated with conviction by Sigourney Weaver. The gorillas by Rick Baker appear perfectly lifelike. Weaver's development into a witch, a maniac and a madwoman fails to achieve the best possible resonance. Born Free in comparison, a much simpler film, lives up to its ambitions.

8 May 1989  Scandal / Skandaali. GB 1989. D: Michael Caton-Jones, starring Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda. Press screening at Maxim 1. Judging by the first reel, pretty boring, without style.

10 May 1989  Lost Horizon / Sininen kuu. US 1937. D: Frank Capra. Orion: FIAF Touring Show. Restored 132 min version by AFI and Library of Congress. Some 7 min of the original version only exist as a soundtrack. These scenes are covered by stills and photographs. Fascinating but dated. Essential to Capra's idealism, not as deeply moving as his comedies.

10 May 1989  Paris minuit / Keskiyö Pariisissa. FR 1986. D: Frédéric Andréi. Andorra 1. A boring crime story of two fugitives in nocturnal Paris. They have a complex pattern of meeting places based on a sightseeing map and a radio programme.

11 May 1989 Az aranyember / Kultamies / Der rote Halbmond. HU 1919. D: Alexander Korda. SEA office, ARRI frame enlargement moviola with a big image. Deutsche Fassung. FIAF Touring Show. An unknown film, the earliest existing feature film by the producer-director. A rambling romantic adventure photographed in beautiful deep focus.

11 May 1989  Acto da primavera. PT 1962. D: Manoel de Oliveira. Orion / FIAF Touring Show. A restored Agfacolor print from Cinemateca Portuguesa. A simple, pure record of the Passion Play acted by the people of the village Curalha, symbolic significance to the modern world unobtrusively conveyed. Exquisite colour photography by Oliveira himself.

11 May 1989  Siamo donne / Meidän naisemme. IT 1953. D: Alfredo Guarini, Gianni Franciolini, Roberto Rossellini, Luigi Zampa, Luchino Visconti. Orion. First three reels, half asleep. Really disappointing, even the Rossellini-Bergman episode. In the beginning, some interesting half-documentary observations of Cinecittà. The Visconti-Magnani episode I still miss.

13 May 1989  When I Fall in Love / Menestyksen vuodet. US 1988. D: Taylor Hackford. Forum 6. Entertaining, intelligently directed story of football champion Dennis Quaid, his wife Jessica Lange and best friend Timothy Hutton, covering four decades in Deep South. Excellent performances by all three, much fascinating detail, fine selection of pop music on the soundtrack, but in the end it all seems empty.

13 May 1989  Big Time. US 1988. D: Chris Blum. Andorra. Tom Waits excellent in documentary of his act. There is nothing inferior in the film, only it is too monotonous, might be best viewed in 30 minute segments.

14 May 1989  A Time of Destiny / Kohtalon aika. US 1988. Bristol 1. Expensive production, period: WWII, William Hurt wanting to revenge on Timothy Hutton in a bizarre story about a Basque family living in California. There is something seriously wrong here.

14 May 1989  Rain Man / Sademies. [2] US 1988. D: Barry Levinson. Retains fascination at second viewing, there is interesting stuff thrown away at machine gun speed. Perhaps there is too much calculation here (Raymond's intelligence is really a rarity, Las Vegas episode, etc.) based on sound commercial judgement, but story of autistic guy has strong symbolic resonance.

16 May 1989  A Cry in the Dark / Evil Angels / Huuto pimeydestä. AU 1988. D: Fred Schepisi. Press screening at Bristol 1. Judging by the first reel, mediocre, forgettable stuff about Meryl Streep's baby being stolen by a dingo and the ensuing catastrophe when the family itself gets suspected.

16 May 1989  Az aranyember. [2] Orion / FIAF Touring Show. First reel once again.

17 May 1989  Das alte Gesetz / Juutalainen. [2] DE 1923. D: E. A. Dupont. Orion / FIAF Touring Show: the 1984 restoration. The first two reels once again. The print is pretty gray.

18 May 1989  Cartoons in the Hotel. US 1915. D: Raoul Barre. Orion / FIAF Touring Show. Astonishing structure with stories within stories within stories, from live to cartoon. Still pretty crude, produced by Edison.

18 May 1989  Back to God's Country / Wapi surmaaja. CA 1919. D: David M. Hartford & Bert Van Tuyle. Orion / FIAF Touring Show / toned. Many fascinating scenes with Nell Shipman and wildlife, but weakly directed.

18 May 1989  Mio Dio, como sono caduta in basso / Reikä yöpaidassa / Till Marriage Do Us Part. IT 1974. D: Luigi Comencini. Orion / Ihanat italiattaret. My firm intention was to watch the first reel only, but the film was zany enough to hold attention. Laura Antonelli radiates humour and sweetness besides being a joy to the eye. There is as a bonus a funny parody on the Gabriele d'Annunzio cult; could be shown as a bonus to L'innocente. The first film by Comencini I have seen.

19 May 1989  L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise / Guisen herttuan murha. [2] FR 1908. D: André Calmettes & Charles Le Bargy. Orion / FIAF Touring Show / restored, toned, provided with the original Saint-Saëns score by AFF at Bois d'Arcy. A beautiful restoration and sample of Films d'Art.

Alcides Greca: El último malón (AR 1917).

19 May 1989  El último malón / Viimeinen intiaanikapina. AR 1917. D: Alcides Greca. Orion / FIAF Touring Show / poor quality 16 mm print from the Buenos Aires archive, invaluable as a sample of early Argentinian cinema. Poorly directed and lacking in suspense by has fascinating documentary scenes.

19 My 1989  Rokki diggari. FI 1981. D: Jouko Lehmuskallio. Orion. Some stunning concert documentary footage with e. g. Sleepy Sleepers.

22 May 1989  Psycho maxi trailer. US 1960. D+featuring: Alfred Hitchcock. 7 min. The Finnish print with Finnish subtitles, in Academy, vintage 35 mm, borrowed from UIP Finland, viewed at a SEA Steenbeck. Hitchcock performs like a tourist guide or a real estate salesman, presenting the Bates Motel, reportedly now up for sale, "but I don't know who would buy it now".

1) Arto Lehkamo: Kesällä kauas pois, 33 min
2) Jari Nieminen: Hyppää vain, 5 min
3) Juha Antti-Poika: Kinkku, 8 min
4) Satu Sadinkangas: Päivä vain, 7 min
5) Kauko Lindfors: Hiljaisuuden lohkareista, 8 min
6) Maija Kainulainen: Uurna, 8 min
7) Jarmo Lampela: Tangokuningas ei aterioi, 7 min
8) Pekka Karjalainen: Alison, 6 min
9) Pietari Koskinen: Pidot paranee, 5 min
10) Simo Halinen: Variksenpelätti, 5 min
11) Risto Iissalo: Pohjanmaa, 8 min
12) Ilari Nummi: Eksyneet ruusut, 12 min
13) Esa Illi: Mikä-mikä-maa, 15 min
14) Pentti Kasurinen & Nina Jansson: Hilja, 27 min
15) Hannu Tuomainen: Naapurit: 40 min
On the whole, a good show, with wit and invention.

22 May 1989  Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia / Tuokaa Alfredo Garcian pää. MX/US 1974. D: Sam Peckinpah. MTV. Half of it, with half concentration, seems like an excellent, laconic, grim action film.

23 May 1989  The Running Man / Juokse tai kuole. US 1988. D: Paul Michael Glaser. Press screening at Bristol 1, first reel only sampled.

23 May 1989  Talpalatnyi föld / Maa jalkojesi alla / The Soil Under Your Feet. HU 1948. D: Frigyes Bán. Orion. Energetic story of a young couple fighting against injustice of landlords. The actors are radiant and convincing. The crucial scenes of confrontation are unforgettable: naked situations of power, exploitation and struggle – not only for justice but also for self-respect. There is primal, raw energy there, something reminiscent of Jancsó, who tends much more towards abstraction. The film also contains classic images of the earth and its fertility, not unworthy of Dovzhenko. Marred, not fatally, by too strong a tendentiousness mainly in the ending.

23 May 1989  Monty Python's The Meaning of Life / Monty Python – elämän tarkoitus. GB 1983. D: Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam. TV3. I saw about a half of it, somewhat absent-mindedly. My first contact with Monty Python, very promising. Original and offensive, executed with panache.

25 May 1989  Permanent Vacation / Loputon loma. US 1980. D: Jim Jarmusch. Press screening of the Finnish release print at Andorra. 35 mm blowup from 16 mm. First reel revisited. Looks better every time, brilliant monologue, wry humour.

25 May 1989  Budapesti tavasz / Budapestin kevät / Spring in Budapest. HU 1955. D: Félix Máriássy. Orion. Not all that great as the film history books say. Some gripping scenes about the liberation of Budapest in 1945, mostly sincere and believable, Soviet soldier idealized, weak as a whole.

26 May 1989  The January Man / Murha Neitsyen merkeissä. US 1989. D: Pat O'Connor. Bio-Bio. Good ingredients, but something went wrong. Good actors wasted.

27 May 1989  Isäntä soittaa hanuria. FI 1949. D: Matti Kassila. A sunny, light rural comedy executed relaxedly totally within the conventions of the genre, based on the novel by Tatu Pekkarinen. Funny performances by Kalle Viherpuu as the homesteader and especially by Jalmari Rinne as his complacent friend.

27 May 1989  The Running Man / Juokse tai kuole. US 1988. D: Paul Michael Glaser. Bio Rex. Futurist horror vision on society controlled by television, based on a novel and manuscript by Stephen King (under pseudonym), Crisp black humour, story built unashamedly on one-dimensional cardboard figures. Schwarzenegger is good against a fantastic league of adversaries. The demonic master of the show is unforgettable. The greates frisson: how reality on TV is totally distorted by re-editing and trick techniques.

31 May 1989  Dead Ringers / Erottamattomat. CA 1988. D: David Cronenberg. Press screening at Bristol. Judging by the first reel: clinical, lethally cold, non-erotic, just annoying.