Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Marja pieni!

Marja liten! / Poor Little Maria!. FI (c) 1972 Jörn Donner Productions. D+SC: Eija-Elina Bergholm. DP: Kari Sohlberg, Pirjo Honkasalo. Starring: Liisamaija Laaksonen (Marja Maronen), Hannu Lauri (Jukka Nyholm), Elvi Saarnio (Irja Maronen), Leena Häkinen (Mrs. Talviainen), Irma Martinkauppi (Eila Mäkinen), Selma Miettinen (grandmother, Maija Takala). Vintage 35mm print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 9 Jan 2008. I hadn't seen this film since its run of first release, and I had a memory of a somewhat jarring and tendentious story curve. Eija-Elina Bergholm is a fine director of actors. I ignored the story and enjoyed the excellent performances, especially Liisamaija Laaksonen in the leading role as the narcissist young woman with dreams of upward mobility. She falls both emotionally and economically, having betted on superficial values. It's not really that she's been cheated, her rich and egoistic boyfriend (Hannu Lauri) having been honest with her, but she has not been listening. Liisamaija Laaksonen portrays the highs and the lows of her character with force. It's the story of three generations of women, Elvi Saarnio as the mother who has always been ignored, and Selma Miettinen as the grandmother with the heart of gold who is brutally institutionalized. Vibrant cinematography by Kari Sohlberg and Pirjo Honkasalo.

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