Saturday, August 30, 2008


Varghyndan / Tears of April. FI /DE/GR (c) 2008 Helsinki Filmi Oy / Thoke Moebius Film Company / Two Thirty Five. Premiere: 2008. P: Aleksi Bardy. D: Aku Louhimies. SC: Jari Olavi Rantala - based on the novel by Leena Lander (2003). "Der Erlkönig" (J.W. von Goethe). DP: Rauno Ronkainen - digital intermediate: Digital Film Finland, Generator Post - color - 35mm film print 1,2.35. PD: Tiina Pätilä. M: Pessi Levanto. Erik Satie, Beethoven, Chopin. CO: Tiina Kaukanen. ED: Benjamin Mercer. Starring Samuli Vauramo (Aaro Harjula), Pihla Viitala (Miina Malin), Eero Aho (Emil Hallenberg), Eemeli Louhimies (Eino), Miina Maasola (Martta), Riina Maidre (Beata Hallenberg), Sulevi Peltola (Konsta), Mikko Kouki (sergeant major). 116 min. In Finnish, with some lines in Swedish, German, etc. Released by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anitra Paukkula / Joanna Erkkilä. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 2, Helsinki, 30 August 2008. - Bleak digital intermediate look. - The Finnish Civil War of 1918 was a national tragedy. The subject is still sensitive, but films can offer an excellent outlet to discuss the historical trauma. - The film starts in April, as the White Army has already beaten the Red Army. The bloody retribution has started. The film starts with a gang rape and summary executions without trial by the Whites of women caught from the Red side. The White brave Aaro rescues the Red Miina from slaughter and brings her to military court. As Miina tries to escape at sea, they are shipwrecked for a week on an island. At the military court, they meet the mad judge Hallenberg. - The film is brave in its counter-statement to the dominant White version of history. - But of the characters, only Aaro and Miina are three-dimensional. Save Aaro, the Whites are caricatures of evil, grotesque figures of horror, monsters. - T.J. Särkkä was not famous for his subtlety, but his film "1918 - A Man and His Conscience" (1957) was richer in nuance. - The military court episodes are needlessly prolonged. - This is a film about brutalization and moral squalor. I don't think it pays justice either to the Reds or the Whites. - The composition of the shots is powerful. Unfortunately, much of the richness of the cinematography has been lost in the digital transition. The colour is cold and gloomy, as in the antechamber of Hell.


Olli Sulopuisto said...

I think one could easily argue for the washed look as being part of the theme. Then again the degree of desaturation can be said to be overdone.

Antti Alanen said...

Dear Olli Sulopuisto, I agree with you. The desaturation fits the theme, but on a feature-length presentation in a cinema it is too much. And a similar look has become over-familiar during this transitional digital-intermediate period that we are currently experiencing.