Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland, Teil III: Das Ende eines Wintermärchens

Hitler, elokuva Saksasta III: Talvisen tarinan loppu / Hitler, a Film from Germany III: The End of Winter's Tale. Das Ende eines Wintermärchens und der Endsieg des Fortschritts / The End of Winter's Tale and the Final Victory of Progress. For credits see 29 March. 97 min. A brilliant 35mm print with e-subtitles in Finnish by Pirjo Brech. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 31 March 2005. SYBERBERG: "The child reappears, its eyes closed, and in the background the voice of Goebbels declares that faith can move mountains.
Heinz Schubert as Himmler; Himmler as Grand Inquisitor of the German Empire in conversation with his masseur, Felix Kersten. He expresses his visions of fear and horror, his racial convictions and his belief in the extermination they must wage, however hideous it will seem to the German people. A series of SS figures appears. One after another they describe the cruelty and atrocities their victims must suffer. Kersten remarks that he would be afraid to have to account for the misdeeds of the times. Himmler reassures him that they must all take this sacrifice upon themselves, not out of personal motives, but as a deed for the entire German good. He admits the great suffering the Jews will have to bear, compares it, however, to the cruelties that others have committed in this world, the extermination of the Red Indians by the Americans, for example. "It is the curse of greatness that its path is strewn with corpses". He begs Kersten not to leave him alone, kisses his hand.
Kersten and Himmler's astrologer meet at the place Himmler had chosen as the centre of the new order. Kersten pleads with the astrologer to relate his own fabricated prophecy to Himmler, instead of the true future he can read in the stars. But the astrologer refuses. One cannot make terms with the stars. They are not subject to human corruption.
Himmler at an SS banquet: he speaks of his abstinence, of his Buddhism, and his belief in astrology, and warns the astrologer of the need to persuade people that they are fighting a war for the right cause. They go into another room alone. The astrologer foretells Hitler's death in April 1945. Himmler is sceptical, but remembers the accuracy of previous predictions. The astrologer then considers the constellation of Himmler's own birth and character, and his end.
A series of scenes shows Hitler's Obersalzberg house from its conversion, through the bombing, to its final destruction. The recorded voices of Goebbels and later Hitler can be heard. In front of one of the remaining structures on the Obersalzberg an admirer of Hitler (Peter Kern) puts himself into the role of Hitler's servant. He wanders through the ruins, confiding anecdotes of his time with Hitler, whilst in the background the wartime radio makes contact with the far flung fronts of the German Army. Finally, he sits down at a table on the overgrown terrace of the house. While he is eating and gossiping about the Führer's private life, his transistor emits sounds of the Nazi past. He ends his monologue in tears to the sound of an old German anthem.
Hitler as a ventriloquist's dummy on Harry Baer's knees; fragments of comic music, Wagner and Nazi songs. In a dialogue with the ventriloquist, the Hitler dummy complains that he is being misused. The ventriloquist replies that it is all in the cause of business - art and film. They discuss what Hitler had destroyed in his time, how it had taken 20 years to make proper films again in Germany. The Hitler dummy says that, unlike the ventriloquist, he was unable to build his world in art, but had to turn to politics to realise his dreams, salubrious environment. He goes on to list his long term achievements in Europe. "What would the map of Europe be without me?" Nobody had ever changed the face of the Western world so completely; the Russians on the Elbe; the Jews with their own state, and the USA with a new colony. Consider where the great new market for Hollywood lies. Look at all the deaths in Russia. A stroke of genius to classify opposition as mental disturbance and imprison it. Ideas transcend frontiers. The Germany of the Third Reich was but a prelude to the world theatre. The heirs are everywhere, in Africa, in Asia, in America, north and south, and in Europe, in Germany, today". (BFI Catalogue for the Edinburgh Film Festival 1992).

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland, Teil II: Ein deutscher Traum

Hitler, elokuva Saksasta II: Saksalainen uni / Hitler, a Film from Germany II: A German Dream. Ein deutscher Traum... bis ans Ende der Welt / A German Dream... Until the End of the World. See credits 29 March. 132 min. Brilliant 35mm print, e-subtitles in Finnish by Pirjo Brech. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 30 March 2005. SYBERBERG: "Einstein expresses his thoughts on the war and the nature of the peace that will follow. We see the Black Maria in a snow storm within a glass ball, and an enormous eye, in which Karl May can be seen ascending and opening the curtain to paradise. The little girl reappears with the puppet of Ludwig, and, in the great eye, the scene of Ludwig's first death, his inner death, appears.
We see a model of the small German town where Karl May was born; snow is being strewn over it; scenes from his life are recalled, and his warning at the end: "Woe, if the wrong man comes!"
The scene changes to a fairground. It is snowing. Shop window models standing about as spectators; a chamber of horrors, in which figures and scenes from the Nazi era appear, Himmler's masseur, and the cosmologist who propounded the world ice theory, Hitler's valet, magicians and fairground people, and the emblems of Nazi mythology. Images of the Nazi Leader, aged, and beyond death, can be seen to the accompaniment of a monologue on the film legacy of the Third Reich. A scene from the 1920s follows, as if it were today, theatrical, with projections of dolls' heads and full size models: two men discuss the need for a strong leader to rid Germany of its humiliation; they will speak of creating a new paradise, as it existed on earth before the Fall, which will come about after a world-shaking catastrophe. One of the rigid models, the figure of Goebbels, comes to life. He describes a scene in which Hitler overwhelms a political meeting with his rhetoric, how the people are suddenly united by his words, and are raised from their sense of defeat and humiliation.
Against a background depicting the Wahnfried House in Bayreuth a man discusses his plan to gain absolute power. Models stand about in Nazi uniform; a recitation from the Futurists' manifesto is heard. Hitler appears, in Roman robes, rising from the grave of Richard Wagner. In a long monologue, Heinz Schubert as Hitler explains the origins of power. Historical and social circumstances and ironies, industry, the intellectuals, Soviet communism, the bourgeoisie, and the Jews themselves. He was merely the product of West European civilization, the realization of the private needs and dreams of an age. Before the ruins of Wahnfried three black GIs dance with a blonde girl about the grave of Wagner.
The cosmologist is wheeled on, prophesies the coming of upheaval and turbulent times, and the birth of a race of giants, who will conquer the world and create a new culture that will last a thousand years, the new Aryan race, the German dream.
A student of this theory wanders through a scene in which full size photographic figures stand, figures of German society, judges and industrialists, workers, pensioners, children, SS men, farmers and cripples from the First World War. He celebrates the theory and describes the creation of new men, a new order, describes how, with his death, will come the destruction not only of their love for him, but of their love for all things German, the good as well as the bad, how they will flee into materialism and raise a generation that will repay them with terror" (BFI Catalogue for the Edinburgh Film Festival 1992)


A jubileum event at Orion, Helsinki, 30 March 2005. In the presence of Jarna Penttilä and Jarkke Penttilä. Åke Lindman, Matti Ranin, Matti Kassila, Kalevi Kalemaa, and Yrjö Varpio were the speakers in an event where the first three each offered a colourful imitation of Edvin Laine, the great man (actor and director) of the Finnish theatre and cinema. The Unknown Soldier is still the most popular work in the history of Finnish cinema: 2,3 million spectators in the cinemas, and yearly on Independent Day ca. 1 million tv viewers in a country with a population of 5 million. The house was packed, the feeling great. There were unseen glimpses of Edvin Laine's home movies on the locations of The Unknown Soldier (colour), Black Love, and Sven Dufva (colour), and the documentary shot in early summer 1955, Väinö Linna, Author of The Unknown Soldier.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland, Teil I: Der Graal

Hitler, elokuva Saksasta I: Graal / Hitler, a Film from Germany I: The Grail. Von der Weltesche bis zur Goethe-Eiche von Buchenwald / From the World Ash to the Goethe Oak in Buchenwald. DE / GB / FR 1977. PC: TMS Film Gmbh / WDR / INA / BBC. P: Bernd Eichinger. D+SC: Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. DP: Dietrich Lohmann. Puppets: Barbara Buchwald, Hans M. Stummer. PD: Hans Gailling. FX: Theo Nischwitz. Costumes: Barbara Gailling, Brigitte Kühlenthal. M: Wagner, Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn. ED: Jutta Brandstaedter. Featuring in multiple roles and as puppeteers: Heinz Schubert, Peter Kern, Hellmut Lange, Rainer von Artenfels, Martin Sperr, Peter Moland, Johannes Buzalski, Amelie Syberberg, Harry Baer, André Heller, Alfred Edel, Peter Lühr. 95 min. Brilliant 35mm print. E-subtitles in Finnish by Pirjo Brech, operated by Lena Talvio. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 29 March 2005. The house was sold out and sat in silent concentration through the first Syberberg screening in Finland. This is something completely different: a picture that brings to mind Sacha Guitry, Orson Welles, Monty Python, John Waters, Karl Valentin, and Richard Wagner, a combination of playfulness, seriousness, sorrow, and shock. Syberberg tries to portray something that is almost beyond comprehension, and apparently he is equipped with a wide variety of approaches to the subject which does not overwhelm him.
SYBERBERG: "In the beginning... the image of Ludwig's paradise from the Residence in Munich. A narrator tells of the 30 heirs who have a legal claim on Hitler, and explains that all the figures of the film are fictional, freely invented, all similarities to persons living or dead coincidental. We are therefore free to construct our own world in film. A little girl dressed in black, a figure recurring in the four parts of the film, is seen playing with dolls, puppets of Ludwig and Hitler hanging from the gallows. She rises and wanders off into the distance with a toy dog that has the face of Hitler. Against a Caligari projection she lays the toy Hitler in a cradle. The devil appears, bends over the cradle and turns into a black eagle.
A circus director announces the greatest show on earth, the rehearsal of the end of the world. In a monologue in the Black Maria (Edison's first film studio and symbol of the world of our inner projection), the puppet of Ludwig II asks, "where would we be without this guilt?", from Jesus to Hitler, the Jews. The master of ceremonies goes on to say that the performance must be played to the very end. "And since we no longer have a Hitler to exhibit... everyone must play himself, his own Hitler, at home, in front of a mirror, for money... ". One by one all the actors come on, as in a circus, in various roles, as the audience, as Hitler, Hitler as painter, as Nero, as Frankenstein, Chaplin. The narrator describes how his real theme is the Hitler in us all, those who elected him, sacrificed everything under him. Everyone can play a part; the world as circus and fairground; a world theatre that Hitler succeeded in shaping to his own design. The monologue from Fritz Lang's M is declaimed, in which the murderer protests his inability to act differently.
The scene changes to an antechamber of hell. From coffins the characters of the Nazi era awake, puppets manipulated by the various actors of the film, Goebbels, Göring, Himmler, Speer, who addresses the audience with interpretations of their time. A devil explains that Hitler, an evil too great for hell, is condemned to seek refuge on earth - but in what form? The young girl reappears, listens to the puppets, and takes up the Ludwig from his coffin, carrying him to hell.
The narrator tells of the hell about us, of the Nazi judges and lawyers, of Hitler's democratic election to power, and, above all, of the cultural hell we live in. On documentary recordings we hear the voices of people dedicating books to the flames in book burnings of the Third Reich; scenes alluding to the younger and older generations of German filmmakers are shown, the plastic face of a sex doll. A blackboard in the hell about us demonstrates the corruption of language, in east and west, the heirs of Hitler in our modern cultural life. And the narrator asks where it all began, where it will all end, the burning of books, the destruction of films, McCarthyism, Hollywood, the fellow-travellers; and then describes the battle for Hitler, in the form of books, films, newspapers, the endless exploitation of Hitler for profit. On a table lies the charred body of Goebbels.
At the end the little girl sits caressing the puppet of Ludwig" (BFI Catalogue for the Edinburgh Film Festival 1992)

Three Comrades

Kolme toverusta / Tre kamrater. US © 1938 Loew's, Inc. PC: MGM. P: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. D: Frank Borzage. SC: F. Scott Fitzgerald – Edward E. Paramore – [Waldo Salt, Lawrence Hazard, David Hertz] – based on the novel Drei Kameraden (1937) by Erich Maria Remarque. DP: Joseph Ruttenberg, [Karl Freund]. Montages by Slavko Vorkapich. M: Franz Waxman, including songs "The Comrade Song", "How Can I Leave Thee", and "Yankee Ragtime College Jazz".
    Starring Robert Taylor (Erich), Margaret Sullavan (Patricia), Franchot Tone (Otto), Robert Young (Gottfried), Guy Kibbee (Alfons), Lionel Atwill (Breuer), Henry Hull (Dr. Becker), Monty Woolley (Dr. Jaffe), George Zucco (Dr. Plauten). 102 min
    A brilliant Cinemateca Portuguesa print.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 29 March 2005.

The middle entry of Borzage's "German trilogy". The story of three young war veterans who return to the bitter conditions of post-war Germany, struggling with their car repair shop and meeting a radiant woman with a lung disease. The MGM front office and the Production Code Administration ordered all references to Nazi Germany to be erased, and the story was turned back in time to 1920. Remained a basic Borzage story of love and friendship facing fatal adversity in private and social life. Borzage had to fight his own adversity: the heavy glamour of MGM and the ludicrous demands of the Production Code. The story of the "lost generation" was familiar to Borzage (Humoresque, A Farewell to Arms), and he brought his own tender touch to the world of Remarque and Fitzgerald. Margaret Sullavan, the star of all Borzage's "German films", shines most brightly here in delicate close-ups. The three comrades are not that convincing, and some suspension of disbelief is needed. "The most beautiful dying scene of the seventh art" (Hervé Dumont) blends to an image of the two remaining comrades joined by the two ghosts. It's Borzage's answer to the ending of Triumph des Willens, its vision of ghostly comrades joining the ones alive at Nuremberg ("Kameraden die durch Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen / marschiern in Geist in unsern Reihen mit"). The image of the presence of the ghostly comrades was used by Goebbels until late in the WWII (see Syberberg's Hitler).

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Big Fisherman

The Big Fisherman. Please double click to enlarge the image.

Suuri kalastaja / Den heliga eden. US © 1959 Centurion Films. For Buena Vista Distribution. P: Rowland C. Lee. D: Frank Borzage. SC: Howard Estabrook, Rowland C. Lee – based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas (1948). DP: Lee Garmes – Eastmancolor / Technicolor – Ultra Panavision 70 mm. PD: John DeCuir, Julia Heron. Costumes: Renie, Wesley Jeffries. M: Albert Hay Malotte.
    C: Howard Keel (Simon Peter), Susan Kohner (Esther/Fara), John Saxon (Prince Voldi), Herbert Lom (Herod Antipas), Martha Hyer (Herodias), Alexander Scourby (David Ben-Zadok, Simon's neighbour), Beulah Bondi (Hannah, Simon's wife), Jay Barney (John the Baptist), Henry Brandon (Menicus), Brian Hutton (John), Jonathan Harris (Lysias). 180 min.
    A 149 min print, with brilliant colour definition, from Walt Disney Company (Burbank). Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, Easter Sunday, 27 March 2005.

Disney's contribution to the Biblical epic, the final film of Borzage, Lee (Zoo in Budapest) and Malotte (composer of The Lord's Prayer and Silly Symphonies).

Based on Lloyd C. Douglas's follow-up novel to The Robe, both about the Christ. Neither film based on these novels shows the Christ, or, more precisely, here his face is not shown. Good! But his voice is heard, unfortunately, as it lacks charisma. Wyler did the Sermon on the Mount better in Ben-Hur as he only showed its impact on the people who had heard it.

Strong points:

– Lee Garmes: brilliant cinematography with Ben Hur's MGM Camera 65 cameras

– John DeCuir and Julia Heron: magnificent production design made in California

– Renie: exquisite costume design

– Susan Kohner: at her best as Esther/Fara, soon to leave acting in order to raise Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz

– Herbert Lom: the tragedy of the tyrant Herod, pussy-whipped by Herodias

– Martha Hyer: relishing her role as one of the most evil women in history

– Alexander Scourby: dignified as Simon's best friend

– Jonathan Harris: already memorable as Herod's right hand man, before fame in Lost in Space

A big story based on big words: You are Peter. Upon this rock I will build my church. To you I will entrust the keys to the kingdom of heaven. I will be with you always.

This is also a study in the tragic relationships between Jews, Arabs, and Romans. Esther/Fara incarnates them: the Jewish/Roman girl raised as an Arab princess.

Both protagonists are dual: Simon Peter, Esther Fara. It's about the emergence of the divine from the profane.

The holy men are the least convincing: the dull and boring voice of the Nazarene, Simon Peter (Howard Keel is only adequate here), John the Baptist, John (incarnated by Brian Hutton, the future director of Where Eagles Dare).

Interesting touch: the dance of the seven veils and the execution of John the Baptist is performed as a silhouette as seen by Esther/Fara.

This was the only historical spectacle of Borzage, whose strength was in intimacy and romance. The film is visually magnificent, totally different from his other films. One may sense his personal touch in the sensitive direction of Susan Kohner and in the figure of Simon Peter, Borzage's final incarnation of Sarastro. As for spirituality, Strange Cargo is certainly more personal.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Four highlights of Peggy Lee in the cinema:
1. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - "Why Don't You Do Right" - singer with Benny Goodman and His Orchestra - the electrifying start
2. JOHNNY GUITAR - co-writer and singer of the theme song
3. LADY AND THE TRAMP - co-writer and singer of the five songs, voice talent
4. PETE KELLY'S BLUES - actress and main singer with Ella Fitzgerald (and Janet Leigh!)

Stage Door Canteen

Stage Door Canteen. Benny Goodman and His Orchestra with Peggy Lee: "Why Don't You Do Right?" My favourite jazz sequence in the history of the cinema. Please click to enlarge the image!

Tähtien kanttiini / Den stora stjärnparaden. US © 1943 Principal Artists Productions. Commissioned by the American Theatre Wing. P: Sol Lesser. D: Frank Borzage. SC: Dalmer Daves. DP: Harry Wild. PD: Harry Horner. Musical director: C. Bakaleinikoff. Originally 131 min.
    A Manbeck Pictures Corporation abridged 16 mm version 88 min.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 24 March 2005.

Of the 65 stars and 6 orchestras I spotted:
1. Ed Wynn, hat check
2. William Demarest, waiter
3. PERF: Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer
4. PERF: Gracie Fields: "The Machine Gun Song", "The Lord's Prayer"
5. Ray Bolger, waiter, and later, PERF: "The Girl I Love To Leave Behind"
6. PERF: Guy Lombardo and His Orchestra: "A Rookie And His Rhythm", "Sleep, Baby, Sleep In Your Jeep"
7.-9. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne washing dishes, with Johnny Weissmuller
10. George Jessel on the phone
11. PERF: Ethel Merman: "Marching Through Berlin"
12. PERF: Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra with Lina Romay: "Bombshell From Brooklyn"
13. PERF: Harpo Marx plays the harp
14. Judith Anderson, hostess
15. Tallulah Bankhead, hostess
"Good Night, Sweetheart": male singer and orchestra
16. Paul Muni taking a break
17. PERF: Gypsy Rose Lee: a comically frustrating strip-tease: takes all her underwear off, leaves everything else on
18. Ned Sparks
19. PERF: Freddy Martin and His Orchestra: "Don't Worry Island"?
20. PERF: Merle Oberon announces a greeting to the Chinese
21. PERF: Lanny Ross: "We Mustn't Say Goodbye"
22. PERF: Benny Goodman and His Orchestra with Peggy Lee: "Why Don't You Do Right?" the highlight of the film followed by a brilliant instrumental performance by the band
23. PERF: Yehudi Menuhin: "The Flight Of The Bumble Bee" (Rimsky-Korsakov)
24. Katharine Hepburn meets the female protagonists and later, in the end, gives the rousing final speech
25. Virginia Grey

Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee give a brilliant performance, deservedly the anthology piece of this film. Gypsy Rose Lee and Katharine Hepburn are also very good. Is there a Borzage touch in this abridged version? Certainly in the sequence of the "forbidden encounter" on the roof. Strictly for fans of the American musical, revue, variety and show business.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Eräänä kesäiltana

En sommarkväll / One Summer Evening. FI (c) 1978 Alko. PC: Filmityö. D+ED: Jaakko Pakkasvirta. SC: Jaakko Pakkasvirta, Lauri Törhönen. DP: Esa Vuorinen. Sound: Tom Forsström. Cast: Kari Heiskanen, Jarmo Hyttinen, Lars Lindberg, Marja-Leena Keski-Kuha. 15 min. Temperance drama. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. One of the last Finnish temperance stories made on film to be screened on film; after this, the genre turned to video and television. This is a distinguished sample, also of the genre of the traffic education film, as such as worthy an achievement as Dreyer's De nåede faergen / They Reached the Ferry (there is even a ferry sequence!). Honest, powerful, well acted.

Rantojen miehet

Männen från stränderna / The Shadow of a City. FI 1971. P+SC: Hannu Peltomaa, Erkki Peltomaa. D: Hannu Peltomaa. DP: Erkki Peltomaa. Sound: Paul Jyrälä, Hannu Koski, Matti Kuortti. 32'. Documentary. English subtitles by Joseph and Ulla Brady. Visually excellent print. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. A powerful film on the lost men and women living on the verge of society in lodging houses, in the woods and on the coasts. This belongs to the bold tradition of documentary transcending the boundary of good taste, privacy and discretion. The camera follows human beings on whom we hear they were raped and murdered the week after. This raises serious questions on the ethics of cinema: what is voyeurism, where should one draw the line, what are the moral obligations, where is the duty for action. Stands up well in comparison with On The Bowery by Lionel Rogosin.

Rattijuoppo Hame tietoisku

Rattfyllo Kjol infoslag / Drunken Driver Skirt info break. FI 1999. PC: Elohopea Filmi. D: Pete Riski. 15". Betacam. "There are mornings when it's better not to drive".

Rattijuoppo (Jos otat et aja) tietoisku

Rattfyllo (Om du tar kör du inte) infoslag / Drunken Driver (Don't Drink and Drive) info break. FI 1984. PC: Sektor Filmi Junior. D: Sauli Rantamäki. Featuring Taneli Mäkelä. 30". Betacam SP. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. Tagline: "Jos otat et aja, jos ajat et ota" (If you drink you don't drive, if you drive you don't drink, more witty in the original Finnish). Effective mirror scene, the voice of conscience, as in The Song of the Scarlet Flower.

Kunnon Unto tietoisku

Kvällens iver infoslag / Good Old Unto info break. FI 1992. PC: Elävät kuvat. D+AN: Martti Utriainen. M: Kojo. 1 min. Animation. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. "Illan Unto, aamun Unto" animated music video public service announcement.

Elokuu traileri

Augusti trailer / The Harvest Month trailer. FI 1956. PC: Fennada. D: Matti Kassila. Based on the novel by Sillanpää. Starring Toivo Mäkelä. 2 min. Betacam SP, alas. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. He played solitaire with life and lost.

Olen naisalkoholisti

Jag är en kvinnlig alkoholist / I Am a Female Alcoholist. FI 1966. PC: The Finnish AA Society. D+SC+DP: Ama Jokinen. M: "Liebestod" (Wagner: Tristan und Isolde). Shot on 16mm. 20 min. Temperance drama. A Betacam SP projection. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. A story resembling films by Tulio (As You Desired Me, You Went Into My Blood) realized by Ama (Armas) Jokinen (1911-1986). The first person narrative and the documentary aspects are quite moving.

Kunnian kukko

[Hänelle ei kunnian kukko laula = Det kommer att gå honom illa / He won't come out of it well]. FI 1955. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Commissioned by Alko the State Alcohol Company. D: Armand Lohikoski. SC: Matti Kurjensaari. Narrator: Tauno Palo. Featuring Pentti Viljanen, Pentti Irjala. 12 min. Temperance drama. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. Three moral stories on King Alcohol featuring a boss, a teacher, and a janitor. In memoriam Armand Lohikoski (*3 Jan 1912, †20 March 2005).

Hymy takaa sydämen

Den leende pojken / The Smiling Boy. A moving logo, "the smile won't go out", for a temperance campaign. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005.


[Sahti = hembryggt lättöl, kvass, light home-brewed beer]. FI 1971. PC: Suomi-Filmi. Commissioned by the National Museum / The Ethnographic Department. D+DP+ED: Niilo Heino. SC: Osmo Vuoristo. Narrator: Yrjö Tähtelä. 11 min. Ethnographic documentary. Beautiful print. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. Another marvellous study in ethnography by its cinematic master Niilo Heino. Richly cinematic approach and effective montages on the ancient methods of home brewery.


I dokumentärens kärna 21: Sprit och upplysning / In the Core of Documentary 21: Booze and Enlightenment. Compiled by Ilkka Kippola and Jari Sedergren, introduced by Ilkka Kippola. Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2005. Ten films.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Strange Cargo

Strange Cargo. Joan Crawford.

Kahleet murtuvat / Flykt. US © 1940 Loew's, Inc. PC: MGM. P: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. D: Frank Borzage. SC: Lawrence Hazard – based on the novel Not Too Narrow... Not Too Deep (1936) by Richard Sale. DP: Robert Planck. PD: Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart, Edwin B. Willis. M: Franz Waxman.
    Starring Joan Crawford (Julie), Clark Gable (Verne), Ian Hunter (Cambreau), Peter Lorre (M'sieur Pig), Paul Lukas (Hessler), Albert Dekker (Moll). 113 min.
    A clean, fair dupe, slightly soft befits Borzage.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 22 March 2005.

Joan Crawford found this final collaboration of hers with Clark Gable the best of the eight. Gable is hard-boiled almost to the end. Hers is a journey of illumination, beautifully expressed by Borzage in haunting close-ups without make-up, high point: she bursts into tears as Gable reads The Song of Songs mockingly. The convicts' escape through the jungle in French Guyana filmed in the sets of Tarzan becomes a spiritual journey, compared by Hervé Dumont with the Odyssey and the Mahabharata: we are on the battleground of the spirit. The journey of each of the condemned leads to illumination and serenity. Memorable: the final look on the face of Hessler (Paul Lukas), the only crook to get away unchanged, or is he. Related films include La Mort en ce jardin, Papillon, and any prison-break and run-through-the jungle story, but this is unique. Crazy, yet maybe better than ***

Monday, March 21, 2005

Sen edestään löytää

What Comes Around. FI 2005. PC: J.W. Documentaries. P+D+SC: John Webster. DP: Tuomo Hutri - video>35 mm. M: Sanna Salmenkallio. ED: Jukka Nykänen. Location: Salo. 75 min. Documentary. Ugly video look. Released by FS Film in Finnish without subtitles. Viewed at Forum 5, Helsinki, 21 March 2005. Webster followed the everyday life of the police in the city of Salo for three years, about 350 hours. In this film he follows the rookie lady cop Riikka for some months as she learns the job together with Paavo, about to retire. This "journey to the grey zone of everyday life" is at its most heart-wrenching in two stories of abandoned small children. There is a nightmare story about violence to a child right at the start, as shocking as splatter movies. And there is an equally desolate story towards the end about the small boy found naked in the snow. Policemen and -women have to face the utter negligence and indifference in society, and they have to be more social workers than they should. This film belongs to the cinéma-vérité and to the Frederick Wiseman school of documentary, where the film-maker gets incredibly close to aspects of reality usually inaccessible to documentary.


FI. Home movies shot by Edvin Laine in the 1950s on 8mm b&w and colour stock. Transferred to video and deposited with the Suomen elokuva-arkisto by the Edvin Laine Estate in 2005. 3 hrs. VHS cassettes viewed and fast-forwarded at home, Helsinki, 20 March 2005. The home movies of the great epic theatre and film director and actor: happy family scenes (wife: the actress Mirjam Novero, daughter Jarna) on summer holiday, winter holiday, trips abroad (Italy, Paris, London, New York, Berlin Film Festival 1956, Norway), Christmas, weddings, visits to the graveyard, children at play, etc. Also rare colour footage on the shooting of the epics Tuntematon sotilas (1955) and Sven Tuuva (1957) and b&w behind-the-scenes footage on Musta rakkaus (1957).

Så som i Himmelen

Niin kuin taivaassa / As It Is in Heaven. SE (c) 2004 GF Studios. PC: Sonet Film / GF Studios. D: Kay Pollak. SC: Anders Nyberg, Ola Olsson. DP: Harald Gunnar Paalgard. M: Stefan Nilsson, "Gabriellas sång" (lyrics Py Bäckman). Starring Michael Nyqvist (Daniel Daréus), Frida Hallgren (Lena), Axelle Axell (Florence), Verena Buratti (Loredana), Niklas Falk (Stig), Lennart Jähkel (Arne), Barbro Kollberg (Olga), Ylva Lööf (Siv), Per Morberg (Conny), Ulla-Britt Norrman-Olsson (Amanda), Ingela Olsson (Inger), Lasse Petterson (Erik), Mikael Rahm (Holmfrid), André Sjöberg (Tore), Helen Sjöholm (Gabriella). 132 min. Digital intermediate look, alas (views of Norrland). A FS Film release, Finnish subtitles by Kaisa Yliportimo. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 5, Helsinki, 20 March 2005. The return of Kay Pollak after 18 years to make a huge box office hit in Sweden. There are parallels in his film to Änglagård, Höstsonaten, Fanny och Alexander, Chocolat, Gladiator, Intermezzo, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Commitments, Brassed Off, and the life of Jesus. 30 years ago I used to be sarcastic with films like this. Now I think they're great. The cliches do not bother me. This is a celebration to song, about the transforming power of music in everyday life. Singing is good for health, it can make life better, we should sing more. It's a great theme, and I hope there will be remakes everywhere, including Finland.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I Heart Huckabees / I ♥ Huckabees

I Heart Huckabees / I Heart Huckabees. US / DE (c) 2004 N1 European Film Produktions GmbH & Co. kg / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. PC: Fox Searchlight Pictures and Qwerty Films with Icon Entertainment International Present A Kanzeon / Scott Rudin / N1 European Film Produktions Production. D: David O. Russell. SC: David O. Russell, Jeff Baena. DP: Peter Deming. PD: K.K. Barrett. Costumes: Mark Bridges. M: Jon Brion. Starring: Jason Schwartzman (Albert Markovski), Isabelle Huppert (Caterine Vauban), Dustin Hoffman (Bernard), Lily Tomlin (Vivian), Jude Law (Brad Stand), Mark Wahlberg (Tommy Corn), Naomi Watts (Dawn Campbell), Tippi Hedren (Mary Jane Hutchinson), Shania Twain (herself). 106 min. Tagline: An Existential Comedy. A Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland release, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, 20 March 2005. Existential detectives (Hoffman, Tomlin) are hired to investigate questions of the meaning of life as the environmentalist (Schwartzman) and the organization man (Law) are about to be sucked into the vortex of the Wal-Mart-like mega-corporation Huckabees. A competing philosopher-investigator (Huppert) appears from France. She does not mind mixing sex with business. "Cruelty, manipulation, meaninglessness" is the motto on her business card. "A New Age screwball comedy" (J. Hoberman). David O. Russell is a bold guy to do Surrealism (with a tribute to L'Age d'or) in mainstream cinema, and to try to outdo Charlie Kaufman. For me, the film is a disaster. Too much craziness. Too fast as if to keep us from noticing how silly it is. I like Jon Brion's music.

Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland / Finding Neverland. GB / US (c) 2004 Miramax. P: Nellie Bealflower, Neal Israel. D: Marc Forster. SC: David Magee - based on the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee. DP: Roberto Schaefer. PD: Gamma Jackson. Starring Johnny Depp (J.M. Barrie), Kate Winslet (Sylvia Llewellyn Davies), Julie Christie (Mrs. Emma du Maurier), Radha Mitchell (Mary Ansell Barrie), Dustin Hoffman (Charles Frohman). Filmed at Shepperton Studios; Richmond, Surrey; and in London. 106 min. Released by FS Film, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Arto Vartiainen / Markus Karjalainen. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 3, Helsinki, 19 March 2005. I loved Monster's Ball by Marc Forster and Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet are favourite actors of mine now joining forces in a Miramax prestige production, a British heritage film with a story with affinities with Shadowlands. It's the true story of James Barrie (1860-1937) and the five boys he adopted after they lost their parents and who were the inspiration for Peter Pan. The wonderful Kate Winslet plays the mother in whom James finds his soulmate too late. Nice portrait by Dustin Hoffman as Charles Frohman (1860-1915), one of the famous trio of theatrical Frohman producer brothers. Julie Christie gets to play the witch of the story. A quality film, but with talent like this, the film could be even better. ***

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby / Million Dollar Baby. US (c) 2004 Warner Bros. PC: Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Lakeshore Entertainment a Malpaso / Ruddy Morgan Production. P: Clint Eastwood, Albert S. Ruddy, Tom Rosenberg, Paul Haggis. D+M: Clint Eastwood. SC: Paul Haggis - based on stories from Rope Burns by F.X. Toole. DP: Tom Stern. PD: Henry Bumstead. ED: Joel Cox. Starring Clint Eastwood (Frankie Dunn), Hilary Swank (Maggie Fitzgerald), Morgan Freeman (Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris). 135 min. Released by FS Film, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Arto Vartiainen / Marko Hietikko. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, Helsinki, 19 March 2005. Clint's best, one of the all-time best boxing movies. I regarded Eastwood highly already in the 1970s as a director (The Outlaw Josey Wales) and an actor (Escape from Alcatraz). He is now tackling some of his strongest material: Mystic River and now this. Featuring a reluctant veteran boxing gym owner and manager Frankie Dunn and his at 31 too old girl protegee Maggie Fitzgerald, this is a psychological boxing story. Boxing is about heart and respect. "Protect yourself" is Frankie's credo, Maggie needs someone to believe in her. Frankie has lost his daughter's love, Maggie comes from loveless white trash. Reluctantly, Frankie becomes Maggie's father figure. Surprisingly, Maggie becomes a contender for world championship and is expected to win, but her brutal antagonist plays it dirty, and the road to glory turns to tragedy, culminating in the same choice as Mar adentro. Clint directs in a strong, lean, laid-back, classical style. Having gone to the Don Siegel school, he is better in emotion and more unhurried in tempo. ***+

Friday, March 18, 2005


FR (c) 1991 Carthago Films and four other companies. P: Tarak Ben Ammar. D+SC: Henri Verneuil based on his novel. M: Jean-Claude Petit. Starring Claudia Cardinale (Araxi, Mayrig), Omar Sharif (Hagop), Isabelle Sadoyan (Anna), Nathalie Roussel (Gayane), Jacky Nercessian (Apkar), Cédric Doucet (Azad at 7), Tom Ponsin (Azad at 12), Stéphane Servais (Azad at 20). 133 min. A beautiful Quinta Communications print, original in French, e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 17 March 2005. Emotionally powerful autobiographical story by Henri Verneuil (Achod Malachian, 1920-2002), his love letter to his mother/mayrig, on his childhood in Marseille, with "three mothers": mayrig and her two sisters, whose love carried him through hardship and bigotry. Also an essential Armenian story, compressing the tragedy of the Armenian people after the 1915 Turkish genocide, where a million Armenians were massacred. Basic, emotionally involving storytelling, based on a good script, memorable ideas, Claudia Cardinale is somewhat distant. ***+

Thursday, March 17, 2005


CA/FR (c) 2002 Serendipity Point Films / Ego Film Arts. D+SC: Atom Egoyan. Starring David Alpay (Raffi), Arsinée Khanjian (Ani), Christopher Plummer (David), Charles Aznavour (Edward Saroyan), Eric Bogosian (Rouben), Simon Abkarian (Arshile Gorky). Original in English and Armenian. 115 min. A beautiful Triangelfilm print with Swedish subtitles by Marianne Marey. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. A haunting meta-film around the genocide of a million Armenians by the Turks in 1915, the story of Arshile Gorky and his painting "The Artist and His Mother" in the center. Essential viewing for those interested in the history of genocide, Armenia and Arshile Gorky.


DE/AM/CA 1993. PC: Ego Film Arts. P+D+SC: Atom Egoyan. Featuring Atom Egoyan and Arsinée Khanjian. 74 min. The Nordic prints of the film burned two years ago, and there seems to be no viewing print available. From Egoyan's company we got the DVD only, alas. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. I saw this film over ten years ago. The framing story is about the Egoyan-Khanjian pair shooting Armenian churches for a calendar. I checked just the beginning this time.

Taistelu kaupungista

Hemlös / The Battle over the City. FI 1971. Team: K.J. Karmasalo, Kati Siikarla, Atte Blom, Seppo Vesterinen. 50 min. On Betacam SP, alas. Introduced by Jari Sedergren. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. Leftist criticism on Helsinki city planning, neglecting the interests of the inhabitants quite happy to stay in cozy wood houses. Great documentary footage on the reality of living conditions in Helsinki at the time.

Musta liitto eli asukkaita myytävänä

Black League or Tenants for Sale. FI 1975. PC: Helsingin kaupungintyöntekijöiden elokuvatoimikunta. D: Väinö Pennanen, Kari Kyrönseppä. DP: Esa Vuorinen. M: Eero Ojanen. 21 min. On Betacam SP, alas. Introduced by Jari Sedergren. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. Accusatory film agitation from the left on tenement projects in the suburbs.

Kaupungin vapaus

The Freedom of the City. FI 1966. PC: TTO:n Kamerataiteen laitos. O: Jukka Pakaslahti. SC: Väinö Kirstinä. M: Henrik Otto Donner. Narrator: Maj-Brit Heljo. 10'. On Betacam SP, alas. Introduced by Jari Sedergren. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. Sharp, witty look at the life of the neglected in Helsinki.


In the Core of Documentary: The Battle over Helsinki. Compiled by Ilkka Kippola and Jari Sedergren. At Orion, Helsinki, 16 March 2005. Three films on Betacam, alas.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Paradzhanov: verjin garun

Paradzhanov: poslednjaja vesna / Parajanov: The Last Spring / Paradjanov: den sista våren. AM / US 1992. PC: Mozart Films / Varda Nova Films. P: Mikhail Vartanov, (2003 version) Martin Vartanov. D: Mikhail Vartanov, incorporating Sergei Parajanov footage from Confession (1990) etc. SC: Martin Vartanov, Mikhail Vartanov. 55 min. Poetic documentary portrait of Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990). The 2003 US version on Betacam (there is no 35mm print of this version). Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 15 March 2005. A wonderful portrait of the poet's last spring. The scenes from his final, unfinished film Confession show him in full force. Fascinating making-of footage of Nran goyne / Sayat Nova from 1967 both in black and white and in colour. An abundance of correspondence, drawings, paintings and collages from the life-long friendship between Mikhail Vartanov and Sergei Parajanov. Footage from the feast celebrating the liberation of Parajanov in 1977 and the opening of his exhibition. Parajanov is the biggest martyr for his homosexuality in the history of the cinema. Also as a martyr for absolute art a brother-in-fate of Tarkovsky. Highly recommended for friends of the cinema and Parajanov. ***+

Nran guyne / Sayat Nova

Brotseulis kvaviloba / Tsvet granata / Colour of Pomegranates / Granatäpplets färg. AM-SU 1968. PC: Armenfilm. D: Sergei Parajanov. Incorporating poems and songs by Sayat Nova. M: Tigran Mansurjan. ED: Sergei Parajanov, M. Ponomarenko. RE-ED: Sergei Yutkevich. Starring Sofiko Chiaureli (poet as a youth / poet's love / poet's muse / mime / angel of resurrection), Melkon Aleksanyan (poet as a child), Vilen Galstyan (poet in the cloister), Giorgi Gegechkori (poet as an old man). 79 min. The 1972 Sergei Yutkevich cut internationally released in 1982. The Polfilm / Ulf Berggren print with Swedish subtitles: original in Armenian with Swedish start and end credits, other text titles in Russian. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 15 March 2005. Still the masterpiece, one of the most beautiful films ever made. The story of the birth of the sense for beauty of Aratiun Sajadian (1712-1795), dubbed Sayat Nova = the "king of song". Parajanov's unique vision at its most powerful. What a loss that he was harassed and jailed by the Soviet authorities at the height of his powers. ****

Living on Velvet

Living on Velvet. Kay Francis.

Joka päivä viimeinen / Var dag den sista. US © 1935 First National Pictures [Warner Bros.]. D: Frank Borzage. SC: Jerry Wald, Julius Epstein. DP: Sid Hickox. Costumes: Orry-Kelly. Song "Living On Velvet" (Al Dubin, Harry Warren). ED: William Holmes.
    Starring Kay Francis (Amy Prentiss), Warren William (Gibraltar), George Brent (Terry Parker). 77'.
    Print with beautiful definition and without credit titles.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 15 March 2005.

Borzage meets Warner: he has to adjust to the speed, the clipped rhythm, and the simple economical visual style. No more soft light, chiaroscuro and dream-like mood (save the opening and the scenes at Sherman's statue). While Kay Francis is OK the male leads are merely functional.

Yet, this is another entry in Borzage's explorations in mad love.

After an airplane crash, Terry the businessman-aviator, who survived miraculously but lost his family, lives "on borrowed time", like a zombie, like a ghost, just expecting to die. On his way to death, he meets Amy, who is ready to give up everything for him: how their eyes meet for the first time is an anthology piece. The inner logic of the story leads to the redemption of Terry in death, yet there is a "happy end". This film belongs to the surrealist tradition as it takes place "in the zone", with a constant sense of the beyond.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Night Shift. FI 2004. PC: Arts Academy at Turku Polytechnic. D: Sara Wahl, Samppa Kukkonen, Simo Koivunen. 7'. Animation. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. Bird meets bat. In order to get to sleep in the morning the bat does the night shift and collects worms etc. for the bird's three nestlings.

Optinen ääni / Optical Sound

Mika Taanila: Optinen ääni / Optical Sound (FI 2005).

    FI © 2005 Kinotar. D: Mika Taanila. DP: Jussi Eerola. M: Emmanuel Madan, [The User], Thomas McIntosh.
    Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005.

Programme text: "Office technology is quickly outdated. Old tools turn into musical instruments of the future. The film is based on a composition for twelve dot matrix printers by the Canadian [The User]".

AA: Film on the verge of abstraction and material cinema looks great on the big wide screen of Plevna 1.


BG 2004. D: Jonas Geirnaert. Drums: Ward Scissors. 11'. Animation. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. Four flats in an apartment block. Witty story of people with televisions and washing-machines. Associations to Jacques Tati. Very good.


FI 2004. PC: Stadia. D: Arto Tuohimaa. With Anu Lyra, Sampsa Huttunen on the team. Starring Pertti Koivula, Kaija Pakarinen, Taisto Reimaluoto. 18'. Fiction. Betacam. English subtitles. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. A hommage to Markku Pölönen's neo-rustical style of Finnish cinema: the story of three lumberjacks each illuminate the ur-word Perkele.


The Birthday. FI 2004. PC: Kinoproduction. D: Kari Juusonen. 16'. Clay animation. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. The stubborn cow who refuses to be butchered causes a chain reaction in the relationship between son and father.

Undressing My Mother

IE 2003. D: Ken Wardrop. 5'. Betacam. Documentary. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. A bold documentary of a widow's reflections on her ageing body. Extreme close-ups, stark corporeality, open sexuality.

Jeul-geo-wun wori-jib

Home Sweet Home / Oma koti kullan kallis. KR 2004. PC: The Korean National University of Arts. D: Hye-jung Um. 17'. Fiction. English subtitles, e-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. The little girl returns home after a Kindergarten fire, although her name is on the list on the dead. A surprising horror film.


CA 2004. PC: Copper Heart Entertainment & National Film Board of Canada. D: Chris Landreth. Footage from En marchant / Walking (1969) and Street Musique (1972) by Ryan Larkin. 13'. Animation. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. A landmark film using digital means to tell a powerful story of the talented animation artist destroyed by cocaine and alcohol. The downfall of personality made visible. It's Ryan Larkin's own voice on the soundtrack. ****

Gjennom mine tykke briller

Through My Thick Glasses / Paksujen lasieni läpi. NO 2004. PC: Pravda AS. D: Pjotr Sapegin. 13'. Animation. E-subtitles in Finnish and English. Viewed at Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 13 March 2005. Programme text: "A little girl refuses to get dressed before going out to play. To persuade her, her granddad tells her a strange story about his ordeals during the war".


Plevna 1, 13 March 2005.
In the International Competition, the prize for Best Fiction: JEUL-GEO-WUN WORI-JIB (HOME SWEET HOME, KR 2004), directed by Hye-Jung Um
The Best Animation: Chris Landreth for RYAN (CA 2004)
The Best Documentary: UNDRESSING MY MOTHER (IE 2003) directed by Ken Wardrop
A Special Mention in the International Competition: GUARD DOG (2004) by Bill Plympton
In the Finnish Competition, in the category of films under 30 minutes, the Main Prize went to OPTINEN ÄÄNI (OPTICAL SOUND, 2005) directed by Mika Taanila
In the category of films longer than 30 minutes, to MELANCHOLIAN 3 HUONETTA (THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA, 2004), directed by Pirjo Honkasalo.
In the short category, a Special Prize was given to SYNTYMÄPÄIVÄ (THE BIRTHDAY, 2004) by Kari Juusonen
and a Special Mention to PERKELE (2004) by Arto Tuohimaa
In the longer category, a Special Prize was awarded to PAIMENET (THE SHEPHERDS, 2004) by Veikko Aaltonen
and a Special Mention was to CAASHA (2004) by Lotta Kupiainen
The Jameson Short Film Award went to YÖVUORO (NIGHTSHIFT, 2004), directed by Simo Koivunen, Samppa Kukkonen and Sara Wahl.
The Kodak Resource Award went to Vesa Taipaleenmäki for the photography in VARIS (CROW, 2004)
The Prize of the Youth Jury was awarded to SUURIN NIISTÄ ON RAKKAUS (THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE, 2004) by Tiia Jaakkola
The Risto Jarva Prize went to HILJAINEN TILA (ABOUT A FARM, 2005), directed by Mervi Junkkonen.
Two audience awards were also given; in the International Competition, the audience favoured the film FLATLIFE (2004) by Jonas Geirnaert, while
in the Finnish Competition, the award went to ARVON VELI (PRECIOUS BROTHER, 2004) by Mika Lehtinen.
In the closing ceremony, 10 films were screened. The ceremony started with Make me moo! (Make Me Beautiful, NL 2004) made by children participating in the VideoTivoli section.
The 35mm projection at Plevna 1 was excellent.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

MARILYN: a live musical performance at Tampereen Työväen Teatteri

Tampereen Työväen Teatteri, the big stage, 12 March 2005. Musical premiered 3 Feb 2005, (c) Näytelmäkulma / Nordic Drama Corner. D+choreography: Tiina Brännare. Written by Eppu Nuotio and Tiina Brännare. Finnish lyrics to the songs by Eppu Nuotio. Costumes: Matti Seppänen. AD: Jani Uljas. M arranged by Timo Kärkkäinen. Make-up and hair: Pekka Helynen. Starring Sari Siikander (Marilyn Monroe), Ilmari Saarelainen (the interviewer), Vesa Kietäväinen (Joe DiMaggio), Tommi Raitolehti (the Doctor), Minna Hokkanen (Natasha the coach), Kristiina Hakovirta (Grace, the friend of Mother), Lari Halme (Arthur Miller), Mika Honkanen (Frank Sinatra), Minna Honkanen (Gladys the Mother), Mika Honkanen (Milton the Photographer), Raisa Vattulainen / Leena Rousti (Mandy the Script Girl). Some 2 h 45 min including a 20 min break.
1. Act
Sankarille / Happy Birthday (Mildred J. Hill)
Helleaalto / Heat Wave (Irving Berlin)
Luojan puoleen / Everybody Loves Somebody (Irving Taylor, Ken Lane)
Polttava jää / Some Like It Hot (Adolph Deutsch)
Muutama muistisääntö / L/O/V/E (Bert Kaempfer, Milt Gabler)
Tee se taas / Do It Again (George Gershwin, B.G. De Sylva)
Timanteilla minut saa / Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend (Jule Styne, Leo Robin)
Loppu rakkauden / When Love Goes Wrong (Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Adamson)
2. Act
Showbisnes / There's No Business Like Show Business (Irving Berlin)
Kun rakastun / When I Fall In Love (Victor Young, Edward Heyman)
Täysin sun / I Wanna Be Loved By You (Herbert Stothart & Harry Ruby, Bert Kalmar)
Se ohi on / I'm Thru With Love (Matty Malneck & Fred Livingston, Gus Kahn)
Mustasukkaisuutta / Jalousie (Jacob Gade, B.G. De Sylva)
Isin tyttö / My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Cole Porter)
Joulu puhtaan valkoinen / I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas (Irving Berlin)
Lennän / Cheek To Cheek (Irving Berlin)
Lemmen oppitunti / Hey Mambo (Bob Merril)
Hän / She (Charles Aznavour, Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer)
Impressively ambitious interpretation of the life of Marilyn Monroe, impressive also the interpretation in Finnish of her famous songs, with the famous production numbers faithfully rendered. Among the coups de theatre: the Golden Dreams sequence on a bare stage with a red curtain, beyond which we understand she's naked. Recommended for Marilyn fans and musical lovers.

Un chien andalou

Andalusialainen koira. FR 1928. D+SC: Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. M: "Liebestod" (Wagner), French pastiches of Argentinian tangos. 16'. Finnish / Swedish subtitles. The 1960 reconstruction of the silent film supervised by Buñuel with music on soundtrack. Projector with a 3000 W lamp too close to the screen. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. "Beware this dog, it bites". Great, yet now the new Filmoteca Española restored print is preferable. ****

Invocation of My Demon Brother

US 1969. D: Kenneth Anger. M: Mick Jagger. 11'. Good 16mm. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Crazy images from a Black Sabbath during the Vietnam war, Anger himself as the High Priest, to an annoying Moog score by Jagger.

Passage à l'acte

AT 1993. D: Martin Arnold. 12'. 16mm. Experimental. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Found footage from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) stretched and repeated to the point of absurdity. "The nuclear family breakfast is interrupted when father (Gregory Peck) is not given the jam he needs for his toast". Scratch video aesthetics on film, creating visual stutter and hysteria. The biggest laugh success of the Festival.


FI 1992. PC: AV-Arkki. D: Juha van Ingen. 4'. Betacam. Experimental. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Found footage from The Fly (1958) looped in many generations, until there is only video static. The dialogue: "A stream of electrons, sound and picture impulses, are transmitted through wires into the air. The TV camera is a disintegrator. Your set unscrambles and integrates the electrons back into pictures and sound".

Liquid Crystals

FR 1976. D: Jean Painlevé. M: Francoise de Roubaix. 6'. 16mm. Scientific film. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Programme text: "The changes of temperature, pressure and humidity in the molecular structures of the liquid crystal. During his career, Jean Painlevé (1902-89) finished nearly 200 films combining pedantic research and surrealistic visions. The music composed by Francoise de Roubaix, who died at an early age, lends the film an especially subtle and poignant touch." Shot through the microscope, a different kind of LCD, liquid crystal vision, totally scientific and totally psychedelic.

Voiliers et coquelicots

Poppies and Sailboats / Unikkoja ja purjeveneitä. FR 2001. D: Rose Lowder. 2'. 16mm. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Silent flicker film based on two series of moving images, on poppies and sailboats.

My Name Is Oona

US 1969. D: Gunvor Nelson. 10'. Experimental. 16mm. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Programme text: "The fourth film by the Swedish-born perfectionist. The fantasies and looped everyday phrases create a fabric open to a number of interpretations." On the director's own daughter.

Dresden Dynamo

GB 1974. D: Liz Rhodes. 5'. 16mm. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Programme text: "An early work by the London artist. Done entirely - down to the soundtrack - with Letraset letters and Letratone colours, on an optical printer without camera."

Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche

Tradition Is the Handing On of Fire and Not the Worship of the Ashes / Perinne on tulen kantamista, ei tuhkan palvontaa. AT 1999. D: Gustav Deutsch. M: Fennesz. 1'. The trailer of Filmarchiv Austria. Projector with a 3000 W lamp too close to the screen. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. A collapsing house on old film: material aesthetics.


Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival 12 March 2005. Nine films.

Härlig är jorden / World of Glory

Roy Andersson: Härlig är jorden / World of Glory (1991).

Maa on niin kaunis.
    SE © 1991 Göteborg Film Festival. D: Roy Andersson. 16'. English subtitles, e-subtitles in Finnish. Video projection. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005.

Strong scenes in Roy Andersson's late style: vignettes in long shot without camera movement and editing. It starts with a re-enactment of a Nazi-style murder van, where naked passengers are gassed with an exhumation pipe of the car. "History started with Auschwitz", says Roy Andersson, born on the first year of the Endlösung. (I saw half of this only, due to belated schedule).


The Place / Paikka. PL (c) 1984 Film Polski. PC: Wytwórnia Filmóv. D: Tadeusz Arciuch. 17'. E-subtitles in English and Finnish. Bad 35mm projection: the projector with 3000 W lamps too close to the screen, also lit by the video projector. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Auschwitz visited by young people of today (1984).


Roll Call / Nimenhuuto. PL 1970. PC: Studio Miniatur Filmowych w Warszawie. D: Ryszard Czekala. 8'. Animation. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Bad 35mm projection: the projector with 3000 W lamps too close to the screen, also lit by the video projector. Programme text: from "one of the most famous animators of the Cracow school", "his third film. Prisoners are gathered for a roll call, an SS soldier in front of them." Stark animation on discipline and rebellion.

Máté passio

Excerpts from J.S. Bach's Saint Matthew Passion / Matteuspassio. HU 1965. PC: Mafilm. D: Tamás Czigány. M: J.S. Bach. 20'. Documentary: photo montage on the Holocaust. Bad 35mm projection: the projector with 3000 W lamps too close to the screen, also lit by the video projector. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. A bold experiment: Christian music and images on the Final Solution concerning Jews.

Nuit et brouillard

Yö ja usva / Night and Fog. FR 1956. PC: Como Films, Argos Films. D: Alain Resnais. SC: Jean Cayrol. DP: Ghislain Cloquet, Sacha Vierny. M: Hanns Eisler. ED: Henri Colpi, Jasmine Chasney. 32'. A print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. E-subtitles in English. Bad 35mm projection: the projector with 3000 W lamps too close to the screen, also lit by the video projector. Viewed at Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Still the masterpiece. The cry that will never turn silent. ****


Tullikamari, Tampere Film Festival 12 March 2005. Six films, of which the last one (Auschwitz 2000 by Rax Rinnekangas) I missed and the second to last (Härlig är jorden by Roy Andersson) I half-missed due to belated schedules. The 35mm projection was no good as the projector with 3000 W lamps was too close to the screen and the screen was also lit by the video projector.

Gilbert & Sullivan: The Very Models

GB (c) 1998 Channel Four. PC: Bare Boards. D: Barry J.C. Purves. M: Arthur Sullivan. 16'. Puppet animation. Sous-titres francais, e-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival 12 March 2005. Programme text: "Richard D'Oyly Carte wonders what he has done in introducing the temperamental Gilbert to the equally difficult Sullivan. Gilbert and Sullivan were pioneers of variety theatre and the founders of the world-famous Savoy Theatre". Another exciting and new imagery from Barry Purves.


GB (c) 1995 Channel Four. PC: Bare Boards. D: Barry J.C. Purves. 11'. Clay animation. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival 12 March 2005. The homosexual aspect of the Homeric tale of Achilles and Patroclus during the Trojan war.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


GB (c) 1993 Bare Boards for S4C and BBC2. D: Barry J.C. Purves. M: Giuseppe Verdi. 30'. Puppet animation. Looked like a film transfer from video. In English, sous-titres francais. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. The programme text: "Rigoletto, the pimp for the Duke of Milan, tries in vain to keep his daughter from the debauchery of the corrupt court. A sinister visualization of Giuseppe Verdi's opera situated in Italy in the 16th century. A part of a BBC television series Operavox which consisted of six half-an-hour opera adaptations". A fresh, bold approach to the opera, in lurid colour, grotesque style, in a world of horror, laced with sex and gore. The excellent musical arrangement conveys the beauty and power of Verdi. "Questa di cella", "La donna è mobile", "Bella figlia dell'amore", etc. in English.

Screen Play

Tarina vainotusta rakkaudesta. GB (c) 1992 Channel Four. PC: Bare Boards. D: Barry J.C. Purves. 5'. Puppet animation. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. The programme text: "An old Japanese man becomes emotionally involved with recollections of his youth. A traditional Kabuki tragedy about the impossible romance between upper-class Takako and the peasant Nayoki". A violent, forceful tribute to traditional Japanese imagery.


GB (c) 1989 Channel Four. PC: Aardman Animations. D: Barry J.C. Purves. M: Stuart Gordon. 5'. Puppet animation. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. The programme text: "William Shakespeare, alone on stage, auditions for his life in front of the rather unimpressed Peter Hall. Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Hamlet... everything in five minutes!" Con brio, to jubilant Renaissance music.


Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 12 March 2005. Six puppet animations, the last of which, Hamilton Mattress (2001), I missed because the programme was delayed, and I had an appointment to meet. This is animation for grown-up audiences, with irony, sex, and violence. A vigorous feeling for life and a joy of theatricality. Each film has a different imagery, a fresh approach to the characters and mythology, usually created by other artists. All films are also approaches to the respective, different theatrical traditions. Powerful proofs of the continuing force of analogue, hand-made animation. Beautiful all-analogue 35mm projection (save Rigoletto, which looked partially like a HD video>film transfer).

Thank You for the Music - elokuva muzakista

Thank You for the Music - A Film about Muzak. FI 1997. PC: For Real Productions. D: Mika Taanila. DP: Jussi Eerola - S16mm>35mm. 24'. Documentary. Beautiful 35mm projection, English version. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Insightful observations on something that surrounds us all the time but that few pay attention to.

Kiila: Verbranntes Land

FI 1993. PC+D: Mika Taanila. 7'. Music video. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Found footage on VHS tape signal problems.

Larry & The Lefthanded: No Man's Land

FI 1993. PC: Lefta Centre. D: Mika Taanila. 3'. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. A research expedition in asbestos outfits amongst Icelandic volcanoes. Found footage on volcanic eruptions and lava flows.

22-Pistepirkko: (Just A) Little Bit More

22-Pistepirkko: (Just A) Little Bit More (FI 1993), D: Mika Taanila. Featuring enthusiasts of the British Ford Owners' Club of Finland and the Tai Chi Chuan group. My screenshot from Bone Voyage Recordings at YouTube.

FI 1993. PC: Bare Bone Business. D: Mika Taanila. 4'. Music video. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Motto from Curt Lindström, coach of the Finnish national ice hockey team. Enthusiasts of the British Ford Owners' Club of Finland and the Tai Chi Chuan group.

Circle: Kyberia

FI 1994. PC+D: Mika Taanila. Shot on 16mm and 8mm. 4'. Music video. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Abstract futuristic imagery in a dystopian city of the future.

Kauko Röyhkä: Kultainen aasi

FI 1993. PC+D: Mika Taanila. 4'. Music video. Betacam. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Bold colour on singer at the Freemasons' lodge, hommage to Kenneth Anger: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.

22-Pistepirkko: Birdy

FI 1993. PC: Polygram. D: Mika Taanila. 4'. Music video. On video. Viewed at Plevna 6, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Music video on birdman going insane at his home was seen on MTV Europe.


Plevna 1, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Six music videos and two documentary films.

Väinö Linna lähikuvassa

Väinö Linna in Close-Up. FI 1962. PC: Lii-Filmi. D: Jaakko Kuusisto. DP: Unto Kumpulainen. Featuring members of the Mäkelä circle: Valmari, Kaasalainen. 11'. Colour fading. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005.

Ihmiselon ihanuus ja kurjuus traileri

The Splendour and Misery of Life trailer. FI 1988. PC: Neofilmi. D: Matti Kassila. Based on the novel by F.E. Sillanpää. Location: Tampere. 3'. Good print. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005.

Jäähyväiset presidentille traileri

Farewell to the President trailer. FI 1987. PC: Skandia-Filmi. D: Matti Kassila. Based on the novel by Pentti Kirstilä. Location: Tampere. 2'. Good print. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005.

Klaani - tarina Sammakoitten suvusta traileri

Clan - Tale of the Frogs trailer. FI 1984. PC: Villealfa. D: Mika Kaurismäki. Based on the novel by Tauno Kaukonen. Location: Tampere. 3'. Good print. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005.

Musta rakkaus traileri

Black Love trailer. FI 1957. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. D: Edvin Laine. Based on the novel by Väinö Linna. Location: Tampere. New print. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005.

Lauri Viita - rakentaja

Lauri Viita - builder. FI 1962. PC: Lii-Filmi. D: Jaakko Kuusisto. SC: Harri Kaasalainen. DP: Unto Kumpulainen. 8'. Colour fading. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Stark portrait of the poet and novelist Lauri Viita (1916-1965). It is his own voice on the soundtrack reciting his famous poem to Alfhild, his mother.

Yrjö Jylhä

FI 1961. PC: Lii-Filmi. D: Jaakko Kuusisto. Poems read by Veikko Sinisalo. 12'. Documentary. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Stark portrait of the poet Yrjö Jylhä (1903-1956).

Finlandia Katsaus 684

Finlandia Newsreel 684. FI 1964. PC: Suomi-Filmi. 4'. Betacam excerpt. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The funeral of F.E. Sillanpää.

Taata muistelee

Reminiscences of Taata. FI 1962. PC: Lii-Filmi. D: Jaakko Kuusisto. SC: Aarne Laurila. 10'. Colour fading. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. F.E. Sillanpää (1888-1964), at old age called Taata (Grandpa), reminiscing his youth in Tampere and Hämeenkyrö.

Lii-Filmin Katsaus 392

Lii-Filmi Newsreel 392. FI 1961. 2'. Betacam excerpt. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The Unknown Soldier premiere at Pyynikki Summer Theatre, Tampere, 13 July 1961, directed by Edvin Laine.

SF-Katsaus 22/1956

SF Newsreel 22/1956. FI 1956. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Narrator: Niilo Ihamäki. 2'. Betacam excerpt. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The Jussi Award Gala at the Intimi Theatre, The Unknown Soldier won six Jussis.

SF-Katsaus 19/1956

SF Newsreel 19/1956. FI 1955. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Narrator: Niilo Ihamäki. 4'. Betacam. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The Unknown Soldier in Berlin Film Festival, July.

SF-Katsaus 17/1956

SF Newsreel 17/1956. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Narrator: Niilo Ihamäki. 1'. Betacam excerpt. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. T.J. Särkkä, Edvin Laine and Olavi Linnus return from Cannes with The Unknown Soldier, which was not screened, apparently due to Soviet pressure.

SF-Katsaus 16/1956

SF Newsreel 16/1956. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Narrator: Niilo Ihamäki. 1'. Betacam excerpt. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. T.J. Särkkä, Edvin Laine and Olavi Linnus leave for Cannes with The Unknown Soldier.

SF-Katsaus 3/1955

SF Newsreel 3/1955 - When The Unknown Arrived. FI 1955. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. Narrator: Niilo Ihamäki. 8'. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The first performances of The Unknown Soldier for war veterans and for the benefit of the war invalids.

Tuntemattoman sotilaan tekijä Väinö Linna

Väinö Linna, The Author of The Unknown Soldier. FI 1955. PC: Suomen Filmiteollisuus. SC: Nils-Börje Stormbom. Narrator: Carl-Erik Creutz. 10'. Documentary. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Shot in the summer 1955, the film shows the author facing the success of his novel and anticipating the film to be released in December.

F.E. Sillanpää

FI 1953. P+D+DP: Kalevi Lavola. Narrator: F.E. Sillanpää. 8'. Documentary. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. In the summer in Herttoniemi, Helsinki, among children.

Suomi-Filmin Uutiskuvia 5/1939

Suomi-Film Newsreel 5/1939. FI 1939. Narrator: Turo Kartto. 2'. Betacam, alas. Viewed at Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Nobel Prize for F.E. Sillanpää.


Treasures from the Archive 2005: 2: Literary Tampere. Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival 11 March 2005. 18 shorts compiled by Lauri Tykkyläinen and Raimo Silius. One of the best ever shows in this long series.

Herra Elanto

Mr. Elanto. FI 1930. PC: Suomi-Filmi. SC: Heikki Välisalmi, Erkki Karu. Starring Heikki Välisalmi in the fictional story. Featuring Väinö Tanner etc. in the documentary footage. 55'. Industrial feature; fictional story linking documentary footage. Tinted and toned, restored by Suomen elokuva-arkisto 1995. Silent, live pianist Joonas Raninen (jazz age music). The nouveau riche Jack Koski / Jaakko Koski returns from America to Finland and wants to buy Elanto. He loses his capital in the stock market crash and marries a sweet Elanto lady, instead. Visit tours, dream sequences, flashback histories compress information, but there are boring stretches. The documentary value is great.

Elannon kotioloja

At Home at Elanto. FI 1932. PC: Suomi-Filmi. 17'. Industrial documentary. Betacam, alas. Silent, live pianist: Joonas Raninen. Viewed at Kinopalatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. A full scale introduction to the manifold activities of the Helsinki Cooperative Society Elanto, starting with the bakeries and ending with the cultural programmes.

Ravintolayleisöä kameran silmällä

Restaurant Customers Caught by the Camera Eye. FI 1930. PC: Ab Mainos Oy. SC: Ragnar Hartwall, Teuvo Tulio, Valentin Vaala. Featuring Hanna Taini, Josef Liebkind, Teuvo Tulio. 5'. Silent, live pianist: Joonas Raninen (jazz age music). Viewed at Kinopalatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. A commercial that was produced to be screened with Laveata tietä (The Broad Way): furs by Hilbert Lähteinen, rubber boots by Nokia, butter by Kultanauha, coffee by Stadion-Kahvi, cream by Kultareuna, cigarettes by Pikku Fennia, beer by Lahden Erikois-Olut, the musicians' stage by Jerry Soittolava.


Treasures from the Archive 2005: 1: Helsinki Cooperative Society Elanto 100 Years. Kino-Palatsi, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Compiled by Lauri Tykkyläinen and Raimo Silius. Three silents, pianist: Joonas Raninen. For the 22. time, Treasures from the Archive were screened at the Festival, and 751 films have been covered so far.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Broadband / Laajakaista. SE 2004. PC: Svenska Filminstitutet. D: Ulf Hansson. 28'. Fiction. Video. English subtitles, e-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival 11 March 2005. The man living in a small town buries his dog. Then he hears that the factory where he's working is closing down, and as a compensation everybody gets a personal computer with broadband access. I saw the first 10 minutes only.


Poor Land / Köyhä maa. PL 2004. PC: Polish National Film School Lodz. D: Filip Marczewski. 5'. 35mm. Documentary. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Grim view on the illegal coalmines of Walbryzh where many miners die every year.

La cola del pez

The Fish's Tail / Kalan pyrstö. CU / DE 2003. PC: Academy of Media Arts Cologne. D: Mechthild Barth. 14'. Fiction. DVD. E-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. Brother Fran wants out of Cuba, sister Lola wants him to stay. At home, in the party, at the pool. Foreign women are the key to escape. Lola vomits.

Vinil verde

Green Vinyl / Vihreä vinyyli. BR 2004. PC: Cinemascopio. D: Kleber Mendonca Filho. Based on a Russian skazka. 16'. 35mm. E-subtitles in Finnish and English. A horrific fairy-tale about the young girl who defies her mother's prohibition to play the green vinyl record and to wear the green gloves.


Harmful / Paholainen. FR 2003. PC: Tout Revoir. D: Antoine Moreau. 8'. Fiction. Betacam. English subtitles, e-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The man's lethal trap to the youngster in the form of the wasp in the apple.

Leil giyus

Draft / Kutsunnat. IL 2004. PC: Sam Spiegel Film & TV School. D: Naomi Levari. 16mm. Fiction. In Hebrew, English subtitles, e-subtitles in Finnish. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival, 11 March 2005. The pacifist father's deep disappointment at his son, who enlists in the army.


DE 2004. D: Jochen Ehmann. 1'. Animation. Betacam. E-subtitles in Finnish and English. Viewed at Plevna 2, Tampere Film Festival 11 March 2005. The swastika out of pit bull shit.


Plevna 11 March 2005. 3 films, 4 videos.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bronenosets Potyomkin Film Concert with Cleaning Women

The Battleship Potyomkin / Panssarilaiva Potjomkin. SU 1925. PC: Goskino. D: Sergei Eisenstein. DP: Eduard Tisse. M: Edmund Meisel. The 1975 stretch print reconstruction 74 min. Viewed at Pakkahuone, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. 3000 W lamp too bright, all black missing. THE FILM: still the masterpiece, always revealing new sides. There are three definitive musics: the Edmund Meisel original, the 1950 original Nikolay Kryukov score, and the 1975 Shostakovich compilation. - THE FILM CONCERT: Cleaning Woman, the three-man band (Risto Puurunen, Timo Kinnunen, Tero Vänttinen), attacks the film vigorously with an electric rhythm score with powerful sound clusters. Say it loud! Yes it works, but I prefer their Aelita score, maybe because there is no towering point of comparison. ****


PL (c) 1980 Film Polski. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. Music: Janusz Hajdun. 8 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Pakkahuone, Tampere Film Festival, 9 March 2005. A magic scene of a single space with repetitive, cumulating loops of 36 people living their separate lives. Rybczynski's final breakthrough to international fame.

Sceny narciarskie z Franzem Klammerem

Ski Scenes with Franz Klammer. AT / PL 1980. PC: WFO Lodz / Signal Film (Wien). D: Zbigniew Rybczynski, Bogdan Dziworski, Gerald Kargl. 21 min. Experimental. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A humoristic, experimental portrait of the downhill racer. Lumberjack scenes, images of big falls, self-parody on filming the racer, diving.


PL (c) 1980 Film Polski. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Janusz Hajdun. 2 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. The man in the monitor plays with a balloon in another monitor until it explodes.


Friday-Saturday / Perjantai-lauantai. PL (c) 1977 Film Polski. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. 3 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. Gravity overturned. The world upside down. The vision after the big drunken spree.


Locomotive / Veturi. PL (c) 1976 Telewiszja Polska. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. 6 min. Children's animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A children's music video, illustrated song, a charming exercise in naivism.


Holiday / Loma. PL (c) 1976 Film Polski. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Janusz Hajdun. 11 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. Highly abstracted, boldly coloured scenes from the holiday of a family. Charming music.

Oj! Nie moge sie zatrzymac!

Oh, I Can't Stop! / En pysty pysähtymään! PL 1975. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Janusz Hajdun. 10 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A study in subjective camera, in acceleration, in fast forward. What am I, this monster who ends up as a big red splash on the wall?

Nowa ksiaka

A New Book / Uusi kirja. PL 1975. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Janusz Haidun. 11 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A bold and ambitious concept: a split screen of nine images covers the same events simultaneously. Music funnily in synch.


Soup / Keitto. PL 1974. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Eugeniusz Rudnik. 9 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A grotesque view about everyday life.


Music Art / Musiikkitaide. PL 1973. PC: SMFF Se-Ma-For Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Zbigniew Namyslowski. 10 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. Bold, strong abstraction, flute music.

Bierz pie

Take Five. PL 1972. PWSTiF Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: "Take Five" (Dave Brubeck). 4 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. Superimpositions, abstracted, accelerated, slow motion.


Square / Neliö. PL 1972. PWSTiF Lodz. D: Zbigniew Rybczynski. M: Kazimierz Serocki, Warsztat Muzycny. 4 min. Animation. Betacam, alas. In the presence of Zbigniew Rybczynski. Viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival, 10 March 2005. A memorably original animation, where pixel-like squares morph into human forms.


Zbigniew Rybczynski's 12 Polish shorts, 1972-1980, viewed at Hällä, Tampere Film Festival 10 March 2005, in the presence of the director, as Betacam screenings, alas.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Tampere Film Festival, 9–13 March 2005

Zbigniew Rybczynski: Tango (PL 1980).

Raatihuone, the Old Town Hall, 9 March 2005.
Meeting old friends and finding new ones: Mr. Zbigniew Rybczynski, the visionary Polish-born movie maker now located in Woodland Hills, CA, and Mr. Paul Howson, head of film at the British Council, London.

Presentation of the juries and guests present. Screening of two videos from the Tähdenlentoja / Shooting Stars special series of films by the disabled. Screening of the animated video Kauhistuksen kaupungin vaarallisin tapahtuma (2003) by small children. 79 primaveras (CU 1969) by Santiago Alvarez, 35mm projection suffered from the 3000 W lamp fading all black to grey. Tango (PL 1980) by Zbigniew Rybczynski as Betacam projection, alas. This is where I took a break.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Little Man, What Now?

Little Man, What Now? Douglass Montgomery (Hans Pinneberg), Margaret Sullavan (Emma Merceau, Lämmchen). Photo from: Boîte à films / CineAr / Sunrise.

Mikä nyt eteen, Pinneberg? / Hur skall det gå med Pinnebergs? US © 1934 Universal. D: Frank Borzage. Based on the novel Kleiner Mann, was nun? (1932) by Hans Fallada.
    Starring Margaret Sullavan (Emma Merceau or Lämmchen), Douglass Montgomery (Hans Pinneberg), Alan Hale (Holger Jachmann). 98 min.
    A low-definition print.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 8 March 2005.

This "cronaca di poveri amanti" belongs to the basic love cycle of Borzage (Seventh Heaven, Man's Castle) and also starts his German trilogy (Three Comrades, Mortal Storm), continuing Griffith's sympathetic view in Isn't Life Wonderful. It also belongs to a noble trend in world cinema along with Vidor (The Crowd) and Castellani (Due soldi di speranza). It's post-WWI Germany, with unemployment rampant, politics in turmoil. The love story is beautifully handled, climaxing with the birth of the baby, simply as an image of hope in life. The social angle perhaps lacks in vigour. Starring the wonderful Margaret Sullavan, the rest of the cast is not as deeply engaging. Not quite a masterpiece. ***

Sunday, March 06, 2005

La Captive

FR/BG (c) 2000 Gémini Films / Arte France Cinéma. P: Paulo Branco. D: Chantal Akerman. SC: Chantal Akerman, Eric De Kuyper - inspired by the novel La Prisonnière (A la recherche du temps perdu V, 1923) by Marcel Proust. DP: Sabine Lancelin. M: Ostrov mjortvyh by Rachmaninov. "Ed intanto che diletto, che spassetto io provero" (Così fan tutte, Mozart). Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in B Minor, D.821 (Schubert). Starring Stanislas Merhar (Simon), Sylvie Testud (Ariane), Olivia Bonamy (Andrée), Liliane Rovère (Francoise), Francoise Bertin (grandmother), Aurore Clément (Léa). 118 min. Brilliant print from Gémini Films, English subtitles by Peter L... Viewed at Orion, Helsinki 6 March 2005. A film inspired by Proust, also paying homage to Vertigo, modernized. Focused / restricted to the jealousy of Simon as he suspects that Ariane's stronger feelings are for women. Good actors, fine cinematography, beautiful music, great ennui.

Onnen varjot

I lyckans skuggor / Shadows of Happiness. FI (c) 2005 Kinoproduction. P+D: Claes Olsson. SC: Anna-Leena Härkönen. DP: Pertti Mutanen - S16mm>Digital>35mm. Digital Post: Digital Film Finland / Greg Fischer. Excerpts from Livets mirakel by Lennart Nilsson. PD: Minna Santakari. M: Yari. Starring Tiina Lymi (Paula), Nicke Lignell (Jarkko), Milka Ahlroth (Helena), Santeri Kinnunen (Mikko), Anna-Leena Härkönen (Titta), Otto Kanerva (Simo), Pirkko Mannola (Jarkko's mother), Satu Silvo (Helena's boss). 103 min. Visually attractive on screen. Released by Columbia TriSTar Nordisk, Swedish subtitles by Janne Staffans. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 7, Helsinki, 6 March 2005. Claes Olsson's fifth fictional feature film during his long and distinguished career presents strong characters based on the screenplay by the author-actress Anna-Leena Härkönen: three couples, all facing the question of having children. This is a character-driven film, emotionally engaging. My favourite scene is the mother's birthday party, where the main couple, who have tried in vain to have children, protest out loud about the endless inquiries of the hubby's parents. ***

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Meet the Fockers

Painajainen perheessä / Familjen är värre. US (c) 2004 Universal / DreamWorks. D: Jay Roach. SC: James Herzfield, John Hamburg - story: James Herzfield, Marc Hyman - characters: Greg Clienna, Mary Ruth Clarke. DP: John Schwartzman. M: Randy Newman. Starring Robert De Niro (Jack Byrnes), Ben Stiller (Greg Focker), Dustin Hoffman (Bernie Focker), Barbra Streisand (Roz Focker), Blythe Danner (Dina Byrnes), Teri Polo (Pam Byrnes). 115 min. Comedy. Released by Buena Vista Finland, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Hannele Vahtera. Viewed at KinoPalatsi 6, Helsinki, 5 March 2005. Meet the Family (2000) took us to the catastrophe zone of the bride's WASP parental home on Long Island focusing on the control freak father De Niro. This time, the familiar characters get to meet the groom's parents, the ultra-liberal Jewish Hoffman and Streisand in Florida. The film has not received praise from the critics, and it has been accused of repeating too much from the first film. I don't agree, and I liked this one more. The obligatory crude and gross situations are not what matter so much as the more personal character comedy that is often inspired. Hoffman and Streisand are a really funny addition, and they lift the material to a new level. I also like the way that Ben Stiller and Teri Polo rise above the catastrophe to defend their personal life despite their parents. The audience never stopped laughing till the last image of the end-credit epilogue. At least ***

Mar adentro

Meri sisälläni / Gråta med ett leende / The Sea Inside. ES/FR/IT (c) 2004 Sogecine and three other companies. CO-P+D+CO-SC+M+ED: Alejandro Amenábar. Based on the true story of Ramón Sampedro. DP: Javier Aguirresarobe. "Nessun dorma" (Puccini: Turandot) sung by José Manuel Zapata; Così fan tutte (Mozart); "Prisoners' Chorus" (Beethoven: Fidelio); Tristan und Isolde (Wagner). "Negra sombra" sung by Luz Casal. Starring Javier Bardem (Ramón Sampedro), Bélen Rueda (Julia), Lola Dueñas (Rosa), Mabel Rivera (Manuela). 125 min. A FS Film release with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Tarja Härkönen / Marko Hietikko. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 13, Helsinki, 5 March 2005. The film comes highly recommended, and I cannot but agree. It's the best Amenabár I've seen (I have yet to see Abre los ojos). It faces the stark subject head on: Ramón, quadriplegic since 30 years, fights for his right for legal euthanasia. Life is a right, not an obligation, and for Ramón, in his situation, his life is without dignity. Why is he always smiling? Because he is totally helpless. It is a remarkable achievement from the whole film-making team that out of such a subject-matter can grow a celebration of life. Perhaps the last half an hour drags a bit, yet it's a masterpiece. Great performances, great cinematography. ****

Friday, March 04, 2005

Secrets (1933)

Secrets. Image: Mary Pickford Foundation.

US © 1933 The Pickford Corp. P+D: Frank Borzage. SC: Frances Marion – based on the play by Rudolf Besier and May Edginton (1922). DP: Ray June. PD: Richard Day. COST: Adrian. M: Alfred Newman. "Oh, Susannah" (Stephen Foster).
    Starring Mary Pickford (Mary Carlton), Leslie Howard (John Carlton), Ned Sparks (Sunshine), Mona Maris (Señora Lolita Martinez). 82 min.
    A print of beautiful definition from La Cinémathèque francaise.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 4 March 2005 (previously unshown in Finland).

The final "secrets" speech by Pickford the eternal girl now as an old lady is the raison d'être of the film. Another high point: Pickford confronts her rival (Mona Maris) and puts the words in her hubby's mouth that even as he was at his most unfaithful "I was always everything"; the eternal story resonates even in the era of Clinton.

A better film than Borzage's first adaptation, 1924, with Norma Talmadge. An epic story covering the years 1865–1932, often with bold montage sequences. I like the way the film feels like a summing-up of Mary Pickford no longer the child but all woman with many aspects. It has the feel of a tribute to Griffith with whom Pickford first blossomed, and also to the high silent era of the late 1920s with forceful use of the close-up and montage. Too hurried and stereotyped to be a masterpiece, yet at least ***

Thursday, March 03, 2005

No Greater Glory

US © 1934 Columbia Pictures. P+D: Frank Borzage. SC: Jo Swerling – based on the novel A Pál-utcai fiúk (1907) by Ferenc Molnár (in Finnish Koulupoikia: Kirja Pál-kadun pojista (1913, Otava; trans. Matti Kivekäs). New trans. Koulupoikia by Outi Hassi. Otava, 2012. DP: Joseph August.
    Starring George Breakston (Nemecsek), Frankie Darro (Feri), Jackie Searl (Gereb), Jimmie Butler (Boka). 74 min.
    A print with beautiful definition from La Cinémathèque francaise.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 3 March 2005 (first time in Finland after the Filmistudio Projektio screening 25 Feb 1936).

The classic Ferenc Molnár novel on the warfare of two college boy gangs (the Pal Street Gang and the Red Shirts) in Pest is well handled by Borzage. It's still a valid account on boyhood psychology: group mentality, bravery, leadership, sacrifice. Fine sense of the ridiculous and the noble. The explicit anti-war statements are superfluous. The whole movement of the film is pacifist, yet Borzage makes us feel and understand the warrior's psyche. Relevant in understanding Hitler-Jugend, or today's suicide bombers. Excellent performances, fine direction of battling gangs, strong feeling of sorrow and irony as the film ends. ***+


A discussion in the series "Six scenes in the media" by Laajakuva ry (organization of the media culture students), Vostok ry (organization of the students of communication studies) and the film society Monroe. The speakers were I and Lasse Saarinen, Chairman of The Central Organisation of Finnish Film Producers. Hosted by Anton Asikainen, with Sanna Kyllönen and Liina Härkönen. At the Old Tampere Library, 2 March 2005. The discussion took place next to the Mäkelä Cabinet, where the 1950s Mäkelä Circle met, with decisive inspiration to Väinö Linna. - During the last ten years Finnish cinema has enjoyed a long wave of success among the audiences. There is a range of young talent available. However, the financing is frugal, and the current situation is threatening: less films are being made, and under more impoverished conditions. The budgets of films in Finland are a half of Sweden's and a third of Denmark's.