Sunday, December 02, 2007

Raja 1918 / [The Border 1918]

Gränsen 1918. Finland / Russia (c) 2007 Border Productions / Studio 217. P: Jörn Donner, Jarkko Hentula. D: Lauri Törhönen. SC: Aleksi Bardy - based on the story by Jörn Donner - based on the diaries of Kaj Donner. DP: Esa Vuorinen. PD: Sergei Kokovkin. CO: Marjatta Nissinen. M: Sergei Jevtushenko. Starring Martin Bahne (Captain von Munck), Minna Haapkylä (teacher Maaria Lintu), Tommi Korpela (Kiljunen), Hannu-Pekka Björkman (sergeant major Muranen), Lauri Nurkse (lieutenant Suutari), Leonid Mozgovoy (major Gentsch). 117 min. In Finnish (main language), Swedish, German, and Russian, the print viewed with Finnish subtitles. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, 1 December 2007.

An exciting, new and bold approach at the tragic events on the Finnish-Russian border in 1918 after the Russian Revolution and the bloody Finnish civil war. The screenplay by Aleksi Bardy based on a story by Jörn Donner based on the diaries of Kaj Donner, his father, discards clichés and looks unflinchingly at the chaotic and messy reality in a turning-point of history. There is something Tolstoyan in Donner's sense of the interplay of history and the fates of individuals with their complex and divided interests. The film faces the brutality of the times both on the sides of the Reds and the Whites, the duplicity, the complicity of many, but also the nobility and the generosity whenever possible. The actors and the historical atmosphere are convincing. Lauri Törhönen's best film as a director. A film worth revisiting, one would welcome further historical films of such complexity. My favourite Finnish film of 2007. - The print viewed was from a digital intermediate with a denatured, lifeless look, which resembled weak Sovcolor prints of the 1970s.

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