Friday, September 25, 2009

Kuulustelu / The Interrogation

Förhöret. FI (c) 2009 Jörn Donner Productions. P: Jörn Donner, Misha Jaari, Mark Lwoff. D: Jörn Donner. SC: Olli Soinio. DP: Pirjo Honkasalo. M: Pedro Hietanen. CAST: Minna Haapkylä (Kerttu Nuorteva), Marcus Groth (Paavo Kastari), Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Pertti Sveholm (Arvo "Poika" Tuominen), Lauri Nurkse, Kristiina Elstelä, Marja Packalén, Mikko Reitala, Markku Maalismaa, Uula Laakso, Rea Mauranen, Ursula Salo. 110 min. Released by Walt Disney Motion Pictures Finland with Swedish subtitles by Janne Staffans. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 5, Helsinki, 25 Sep 2009 (the first public screening).

A digital video look. - Produced for television, this excellent film was taken up for a cinema release. - It is the true story of the Soviet spy Kerttu Nuorteva (born in America 1912, died in Kazakstan in 1963) who was sent to Finland during the war via parachute from Soviet Karelia, caught by the Finnish security police and interrogated. - A strong historical movie casts a light into the circumstances in Stalin's Russia and into the purges in which some 20.000 Finnish communists were murdered in the late 1930s, including almost the whole group of Finnish left-wing intelligentsia who had escaped white terror to East Karelia. - It also shows the struggle for justice in Finland during wartime, when there were German-oriented leaders like Anthoni leading the Finnish state security police. - A film of multiple contradictions and bitter ironies of history. - Kerttu Nuorteva has a mental breakdown as she learns more fully about Stalin's terror from Arvo Tuominen, a former Communist leader, who defected to the West during the war. - Shot in intensive close-ups and medium shots by Pirjo Honkasalo, but apparently in digital video. No other Donner film has looked this shabby on screen. - Pedro Hietanen has created a moving score. - Donner has returned as a cinema film director after a pause of 25 years, and this film may be his best. - This film and Raja 1918 (The Border 1918) are a promising opening in Finnish cinema into really thought-provoking historical films.

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