Friday, August 15, 2008

Helsinki, ikuisesti

[Helsingfors, för evigt][Helsinki Forever]. FI (c) 2008 Illume. P: Jouko Aaltonen. D+SC: Peter von Bagh. ED: Petteri Evilampi. Format: Digibeta. 75 min. Helsinki Festival Gala Premiere, presented by Jouko Aaltonen, in the presence of many members of the team. Digibeta projection in Bio Rex, 15 August 2008. - A personal, poetic compilation essay about Helsinki, with inserts, paintings, artworks, poems, etc. from ca one hundred artists. - The icebreaker comes to Helsinki a hundred years ago. - The Sokos traffic circle as the magical center of the city as seen by many film artists, most hauntingly by Eino Ruutsalo. - How a person moves, how a star brings a special feeling to the milieu. - Heikinkatu / Mannerheimintie (the main street of Helsinki) is never finished. - Kino-Palatsi the most magnificent cinema in Finland (demolished in 1965) where the everyday was transformed into holiday. - Munkkiniemi and Leif Wager, Katajanokka and Nyrki Tapiovaara, Punavuori and Ventti-Ville. - The Kafkaesque vision of Tulio in Olet mennyt minun vereeni (You Have Gone Into My Blood). - The 1930s, the last decade when big bands played in restaurants. - Urban solitude. - The Zeppelin over Helsinki a hundred years ago, when the newsreel photographer's camera was as big an attraction as the flying miracle. - The Market Square in the movies. - The Senate Square in the movies: The February Manifesto, the people's demonstration crushed by mounted Cossacks in 1899 (fiction reconstruction), the turning-points of 1918, 1929, 1931, 1940, 1956 with big crowds. - So-called war criminals convicted in 1946. - The Dostoyevskyan view of the queue to the state-monopoly alcohol store. - The sportsmen and their quasi-holy veneration by impossibly large crowds. Paavo Nurmi bringing the torch to the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, "the last real Olympics". - The swimming beach of Hietalahti. - The worker's district Kallio: Tauno Palo (Onni pyörii / Luck Turns). Sacy Sand brings rock'n'roll into Finnish movies in 1957. The symbolic landmark Pitkäsilta (The Long Bridge) connecting Unioninkatu (the street of power) to Siltasaarenkatu (the street of workers). Visions of the Hakaniemi Square. The utopia breathing from the pavement. The bygone days of a common First of May celebration. The left-wing parties' parade in the snow, shot by Mikko Niskanen (Lapualaismorsian). And the students' "after the party" mood also shot by Niskanen. - The Parliament House and Le Grand Circus du Nord. - The central depots (Makasiinit) from 1860 until 2006, dubbed "The Heart of the Nation" by Antti Peippo in his final film. - The legendary Kämp, hotel and restaurant, the spirits of Sibelius and Leino still there. - Havis Amanda, the Aphrodite of Helsinki. - The best Finnish musical SF-Paraati, shot in 1939, during the last summer of peace, with the most beautiful camera movement over Helsinki (the view of Ansa Ikonen). - The sea and the sky. The fountains and the parks. - The Railway Square: Täältä tullaan elämä (1980 by Tapio Suominen). The record of Risto Jarva of the cavernous building site of the Makkaratalo ("The Sausage Building"): a symbol of concrete brutalism. - Red prisoners on their way to the Suomenlinna fortress island 90 years ago: history looking at us. - Before this, the best Helsinki film was Yhdeksän tapaa lähestyä Helsinkiä (Nine Ways to Approach Helsinki, directed by Jörn Donner, with remarkable cinematography by Pirjo Honkasalo). Now Peter von Bagh's film rises to the same level. - This inspiring film would deserve to be processed and made available on 35mm film, as a tribute to the many magnificent cinematographers on display.

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