Thursday, September 03, 2009

Haarautuvan rakkauden talo

Den kluvna kärlekens hus / [The House of Forking Love]. FI (c) 2009 Marianna Films. P+D: Mika Kaurismäki. SC: Mika Kaurismäki, Sami Keski-Vähälä - based on the novel by Petri Karra (2008). DP: Rauno Ronkainen - colour. CAST: Hannu-Pekka Björkman (Juhani Helin), Elina Knihtilä (Tuula Helin), Kati Outinen (Yrsa), Antti Reini (Wolffi), Tommi Eronen (Pekka), Irina Björklund (Marjut), Maria Järvenhelmi (Kitty), Kari Väänänen (Niilo), Anna Easteden (Nina), Ilkka Villi (Marco), Antti Virmavirta (Timo), Mari Perankoski (Tiina), Timo Torikka (PK), Jevgeni Haukka (Vidar), Wanda Dubiel (Sanna), Sakari Kuosmanen (Boogie), Kari Heiskanen (neighbour), Aino Seppo (neighbour's wife), Martti Syrjä (taxi driver), Pertti Sveholm (fireman), Clas-Ove Bruun (tall crook in the bar). 107. A FS Film release with Swedish subtitles by Markus Karjalainen. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 5, 3 Sep 2009. - The print has a digimastered look. It is not jarring in close-ups and medium shots. - The story belongs to the comedy / drama of remarriage tradition (The Awful Truth), complete with the fake escorts to make the ex-partner jealous. - Redeeming features: the actors are good, and there are interesting performers even in small parts - there are funny scenes with Juhani's paid escort Nina - "my wife has to think you're my girlfriend, although you are not" - "usually it's the other way around" - yet they start genuinely to like each other, and Nina introduces fresh ideas of her own to fool Tuula - they annoy Tuula with sounds of simulated sex but end up being genuinely aroused by their play-acting - there are also funny scenes with Juhani's playboy friend Pekka - his self-confident double pick-up procedure in the bar in the company of the timid divorced Juhani is a humoristic and realistic record of the manners of today - Pekka is also a humoristic commentator to the tortuous divorce process ("no mites teillä on täällä eroaminen sujunut", this line is difficult to translate). - Unfortunately the film is not as good as its best elements. There is too much: the criminal world, the world of prostitution, the topic of childlessness. Too often the characters just display their shallow, indifferent, and ugly characteristics. Then the viewer ceases to care. - This is one of the several Finnish divorce films of the decade where the wife is such a total harridan that the viewer is puzzled why the man is not simply celebrating his freedom!

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