Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jörn Donner: The Berlin Report 1958-2008 (a book)

Jörn Donner: Berliini-raportti 1958-2008 (original in Swedish: Rapport från Berlin). Finnish translation by Toivo J. Kivilahti. First edition WSOY 1958. Further editions by Otava 1977, 1989, and 2008.

I read Jörn Donner's acclaimed The Berlin Report for the first time, although I have always been aware of it. The reason for the timing of the reading was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. The value of Donner's book keeps growing. He became a Berlin regular in the 1950s and was able to meet people like Bertolt Brecht and Willy Brandt. He saw the full significance of Berlin as a symbol of the condition of the world during the Cold War.

Myself, I have also "noch einen Koffer in Berlin", and "ich bin auch ein Berliner". The happiest day in my life was the 9th of November 1989. I think it was about 8 pm that a good friend of mine at the YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) newsroom called me and told me about the fall of the wall. As I called some of my best Berlin friends, they heard about it from me, and could not believe it!

This year I heard from Claudia Dillmann, director of the Deutsches Filminstitut in Frankfurt, that she flew to Berlin on the 10th of November in 1989, and the pilot took extra rounds over the city and urged the passengers to have a look as the people of Berlin tore down the wall.

The fall of the wall was not a surprise. I remember having said aloud at the Berlin Film Festival the year before that in ten years, the wall will no longer be there. Those years, I visited the Moscow film festivals twice when the glasnost and the perestroika were at full swing. The writing was on the wall - on The Wall.

When I first crossed East Germany and East Berlin in 1981 by a train bound to West Berlin, my first impression of East Germany was of suspicion and surveillance. The East German border patrol inspected the train with their Schäferhunde so that nobody could escape. I paid only a couple of short visits to East Germany. Even a child could see that it was dead already, and that it was a matter of time when a change would come.

The East Berlin people and professionals were always very sympathetic. As I began watching systematically German film classics in the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (then at the Theodor-Heuss-Platz), there was no problem in accessing film prints from the other side of the wall.

The Berlin people were rude but cordial. That was still the time when they barked "alle aussteigen" and "zurückbleiben" with Prussian military harshness at the subway (U-Bahn). I learned to appreciate the "Berliner Witz", the tough and direct way to deal with hard facts with a sense of humour.

An example is the story about Max Ophuls, who left Germany in 1933. When he returned to Berlin after 17 years to market La Ronde, in Hotel Kempinski the staff at the reception was the same. When he ordered a taxi, the taxi driver was familiar, too. "Where have you been?" asked the chauffeur. Ophuls told him. "You didn't miss much", said the chauffeur. ("Da haben Sie nicht viel verpasst".)

Design Forum Finland (Hannu Kähönen – The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2009 and other exhibitions of 2009)

Design Forum Finland: Hannu Kähönen – The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2009 Exhibition. "Industrial designer Hannu Kähönen (born 1948) has received the Kaj Franck Design Prize 2009. Hannu Kähönen graduated in 1971 from the University of Art and Design Helsinki. He is a versatile expert in design, whose perspective ranges from the practical design work to national design policy. He has helped to develop the field through his work in national and international positions of trust. Hannu Kähönen has also written about design and has taught design at the university level." Among Kähönen's most beloved designs are the low-floor trams of Helsinki.

I visited Design Forum Finland two days after the announcement that Helsinki will be World Design Capital in 2012 (the third one after Torino in 2008 and Soul in 2010).

1. The Helsinki Design Capital showreel. A loop of design samples.

2. Hannu Kähönen – The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2009 Exhibition. "Design today must take note of environmental issues – the requirements of sustainable design and changing needs of people and a population that is ageing. Pure materials, ecological and service design solutions will stay important issues in the future".

3. The Sami Knife Exhibition. Great new designs on the traditional big knife of the wild north of Lapland.

4. The Tunne Väri ["Feel the Colour"] Collection: the new colours of the Tikkurila paint company. – 263 new colours, each with an individual name impossible to translate, such as in the Lapponia series of translucent paints: Joiku, Pälvi, Outa, Seita, Sivakka, Kuukkeli, Ahkio, Suopunki...

5. The Design Forum Shop Christmas Collection: new gift items and toys.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suomenlahden sisaret

Finska vikens systrar / Soome lahen oed / Sisters Across the Gulf of Finland. FI (c) 2009 Film Magica. P: Tiina Butter. D: Imbi Paju. DP: Priit Sooba, Liina Toiviainen, Ants Martin Vahur, Aare Varik. M: Arvo Pärt, Leo Sumera. S: Kirsi Hiltunen. ED: Anders Helle, Riitta Poikselkä. In Swedish, Finnish, and Estonian. 59 min. Digibeta from Film Magica, projection with Finnish subtitles in Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 23 Nov 2009. - A new artistically high profile documentary film from Imbi Paju, revealing aspects of recent history not much discussed publicly. The topic is the collaboration of Lotta Svärd (Finland) and Naiskodukaitse (Estonia) with interviewees such as Elisabeth Rehn, Kyllikki Villa, Hanna Eckert, Greta Kupiainen, Ulla-Marita Rajakaltio, Helvi Hödejärv, Laila Auer, and Helmi Visnapuu. - A film that will merit several viewings.

The Lotta Svärd on Screen (seminar)

Lottia valkokankaalla -seminaari. Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 23 Nov 2009
Moderator: Tiina Suutala
Tiina Kinnunen (docent, Joensuu University): The Lotta in Finnish Cinema from the 1940s till the 1980s - the years of disregard
Taru Mäkelä (film director): The Lotta in the 1990s Fiction and Documentary - the rehabilitation
Irmeli Lemberg (the chair of the Lotta Svärd Institute): The Origins of the Lotta Movie The Promise
Ilkka Vanne (film director): The Promise - A Journey Into My Own History - his mother was a Lotta, and his father, a career officer
Imbi Paju (film director): The Sisterhood of the Estonian and Finnish Lottas Before the War and the Political Silence After the War - the collaboration of Lotta Svärd and Naiskodukaitse
Movie: Imbi Paju: Suomenlahden sisaret (2009)
The seminar, part of our Lotta Svärd film retrospective, both curated by Tiina Suutala, was a powerful experience of psycho-history on big topics that have been not discussed enough. The Lotta Svärd was essential during the three wars Finland suffered in 1939-1945, and without it Finland would not have survived.

Lotta Svärd and other women's wartime service organizations contributed in a central way to health care, catering, supplies, communication, maintenance and field service (front nurses, front canteens, front communications). They did not carry weapons.

After the wars, the organization was banned and its importance in some circumstances disregarded. Mainly, however, in my experience, it was always highly respected. In my family, for instance. The Lotta Svärd emblem is on the gravestones of my paternal grandmother and my godmother. My maternal grandmother was a Lotta already in the Civil War, and also in WWII, and my mother and her sisters were Lottas or Little Lottas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Marcel Proust: A la recherche du temps perdu 6: Albertine disparue (novel)

Marcel Proust: A la recherche du temps perdu 6: Albertine disparue, also known as La Fugitive. First published: FR 1925. Later, more definitive editions: FR 1954, FR 1962, FR 1987-1989. Read in the Finnish translation, Kadonnutta aikaa etsimässä 9: Pakenija, by Inkeri Tuomikoski, Helsinki: Otava 2003.

Synopsis: Albertine, "the prisoner", is gone. She has left the narrator who has no serious intentions with her, and who tries jealously to guard her from her lesbian passions. The narrator makes ingenious plans to win her back. But, shockingly, he learns that Albertine has died in a riding accident. Even after her death, the narrator continues spying retrospectively on Albertine's lesbian affairs, to learn about her secret life. Everything remains vague. The narrator tries to recover from the pain of losing her via substitutes. Most importantly, he meets his old lover Gilberte, and in a new, sober friendship with her he recovers from the loss of Albertine and is able to visit Venice together with his mother. The voyage to Venice is an experience of transformation and a farewell to youth. The voyage of Venice is also a subjective one, as the sights remind the narrator of his life experiences. On his way back home to Paris the narrator learns that Gilberte is marrying Robert de Saint-Loup. This is the union of the incompatible, and the end of a period in the life that has been depicted. Finally, revisiting Gilberte the narrator learns that from the start she has wanted the same thing that he had not dared to ask.

First impressions of the novel that I had never read before.
1. This novel is a draft that Proust never had the chance to finish. There are repetitions and imbalances due to the manuscript character of the work.
2. It is the portrait of a dandy who is insufferably nestling in his private affairs, not facing the world as a grown-up man. It is impossible to take his lament seriously.
3. His affairs with the young women are superficial. The women are only objects of pleasure for the playboy. There is not even the perspective that he might marry and that the women might become mothers.
4. This obnoxious, self-centered bon vivant is an importunate examiner who delves deep in the psychology of self-deception, and gets lost in the complexities of how much people will lie to keep appearances.
5. There is a strong homosexual and lesbian aspect in the novel, maybe displaced from the narrator himself to other characters such as Robert and Albertine. It has been noted that the narrator's lovers have feminine versions of male names: Albertine and Gilberte.
6. There is also a strong Jewish and anti-semitic theme in the novel, maybe also displaced from the narrator to others, such as Gilberte in this one.
7. Under these superficial and deceptive layers there runs a brilliant line of meditation and reflection.
8. This is one of my life-books. I started reading it, reluctantly, in ca 1970... and when I have finished reading all the volumes in a non-chronological order, I have to read all again.

C’est comme si elle m’avait dit: « Tournez à gauche, prenez ensuite à votre main droite, et vous toucherez l’intangible, vous atteindrez les inaccessibles lointains dont on ne connaît jamais sur terre que la direction, que (ce que j’avais cru jadis que je pourrais connaître seulement de Guermantes, et peut-être, en un sens, je ne me trompais pas) le « côté ».

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Foto Signe Brander (exhibition)

Signe Brander (1907): Panoraama Siltavuorensatamaan. Vasemmalla Siltasaarenkatu 1, John Stenbergin konetehdas. Nykyinen John Stenbergin ranta 4 ja Hakaniementori. Vasemmalla Hakaniemenrantaa Kuvattu Siltavuorelta pohjoiseen. -- negatiivi, filmi, mv. Helsinki, John Stenbergin ranta 4. 18 x 35. Collection: Helsinki City Museum. Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q2031357 . Accession number: N8382. Source: Finna: m.HKMS000005:km0038c5 . Permission: (Reusing this file): CC BY 4.0 . Public domain. Please click on the photo to view it on the largest screen.

Foto Signe Brander. Exhibition at the Hakasalmi Villa 14 Oct 2009 – 28 March 2010.

Signe Brander (1869–1942) photographs belong to the treasures of the city of Helsinki.

This time, there are 79 photographs from her cityscapes of 900, covering a cross section of Helsinki a hundred years ago.

The glass plate negatives have been digitized in high resolution.

The most popular section was The Time Machine dia show on a big screen, produced some 10 years ago, with contemporary photographs giving us the opportunity to compare Helsinki then and "now". Many cityscapes were unrecognizable (and interestingly, in the last 10 years, many changes have also taken place... !).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Seminar of the Headmasters of Helsinki

Helsingin kaupungin Rehtoripäivät / The Seminar of the Headmasters of the City of Helsinki. Haikko, 18 Nov 2009.
The topic this year was "Aspects of Security". I gave a lecture on media and violence, about new approaches of media criminology since Columbine.
Myself, I learned a lot about the big change in the circumstances of school during the last decade. The internet and the waking hours have changed everything. There is less respect and discipline at school these days.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Don't Change Your Husband

Älä vaihda miestä / Älä vaihda miestä (liian usein) / Mannen du gav mig. USA © 1918 Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Premiere 1919. Pres: Jesse L. Lasky. D: Cecil B. DeMille. Ass. D: Sam Wood. SC: Jeanie McPherson – based on the novel by David Graham Phillips [Old Wives for New, 1908 or The Husband's Story, 1910]. DP: Alwin Wyckoff. AD: Wilfred Buckland (art director), Howard Higgin (decorations). COST: Margaretta Hoffman. ED: Anne Bauchens. CAST: Elliott Dexter (James Denby Porter), Gloria Swanson (Leila Porter), Lew Cody (Schuyler Van Suthpen), Sylvia Ashton (Mrs. Huckney), Theodore Roberts (the bishop), Julia Faye ("Toodles" Thomas), James Neill (the butler), Ted Shawn (the faun). Print: Jugoslovenska Kinoteka > Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet (reconstructed Swedish titles only):  /22 fps/ 71 min. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 14 Nov 2009. - An incomplete print from a battered source. I realize now that of this film particularly the most brilliant print would have been essential, as this is a glamorization / satire of consumer society. - 22 fps is too fast, we should have screened this at 20 fps. - Revisited a film that is fascinating for many reasons: 1) the launching of the Jazz Age in the cinema, 2) the launching of Gloria Swanson as a new kind of star, 3) the cinema becomes an engine for the consumer society (not just a reflection of it), 4) an important stage in the development of sophisticated erotic comedy, 5) an important step in the comedy of remarriage. - Cecil B. DeMille's visual storytelling is still inspired. Already by 1923 (The Ten Commandments) he was getting more clumsy and awkward. - This film is a great pleasure to see, and it is a story of contradictions. Apparently DeMille was, himself, not happy with this cycle of films, launched by Jesse T. Lasky.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jarno Vesala: The Second Floor, Please! (installations)

Toinen kerros, kiitos!
Kluuvi Gallery, The Helsinki City Art Museum, Unioninkatu 28 B (inner yard, 3. floor)

Three installations: 1. Palaan pian [I'll Be Right Back] (2009). 2. Tänne [Hitherto] (2009). 3. Siellä [There] (2009).

A rough translation of mine from Jarno Vesala's introductory text:
"Welcome to the staircase, to the floors, and between the floors!
I have produced to the Kluuvi Gallery three installations which are tightly interwoven. They are like sets, seemingly stagnant situations or subtle moments, which characters created via different techniques are living. In the moments, a recent or forthcoming change can be sensed. The change can be related with a loss, death, happiness, or perhaps a total loss of self.
In my works the spectator is a character among others, a part of the story.
In my installations, the tension arises from expectation and from silent encounters between characters present or absent. In the gallery, an absurdly atmospheric world is built from sound, projection, lighting, water, and suggestive objects.
Forgotten relatives, invisible friends, unknown neighbours...
Who is present, who has already left?
Who is being observed? Who has been forgotten?"

A stark and haunting exhibition. The statue of a human being is a projector projecting a moving video image of a staircase with an elevator going up and down. In a reception cubicle there is a surveillance monitor on the screen of which we see ourselves and the reflection of the staircase with the elevator. In another room, there is a large black mirror on the floor, in which is reflected a woman lying face down. We look up and see the statue of the woman nailed to the ceiling face up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

4K demonstration

Kino Tulio, Kansallinen audiovisuaalinen arkisto, Sörnäisten rantatie 25, Helsinki.

We have installed Finland's first 4K projector (Sony) in our Kino Tulio screening room at our new premises. We saw samples of blu-ray discs and a 4K test programme.
- Flowers in the Netherlands
- A sample of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- Monkeys in a hot spring on a snowy hillside
- A volcano
- Time lapse photo of New York traffic shot from a skyscraper
- India
- Mecca

The blu-ray: I have never seen a better presentation of a home viewing format. But a great 16mm presentation is equally good.

4K: the image is ultra-sharp.
Depth of focus is excellent.
The image can carry great detail from a long distance: a street of New York seen from the top of ?Empire State Building?, ?the Himalaya?, the pilgrims at Mecca.
But the colour in the test is highly saturated, artificially bright and unnatural.
A sense of atmosphere and temperature is missing.
Even the summer scenes feel cool.

We discussed that test shows are produced by engineers, not by artists. Engineers seem to emphasize sharpness and focus and neglect other important parameters.

Une femme douce

Suloinen nainen / En ljuv kvinna. FR © 1969 Parc Film / Marianne Productions. P: Mag Bodard. D+SC: Robert Bresson – based on the short story "Krotkaya" (1876) by Dostoevsky. DP: Ghislain Cloquet – Eastmancolor – 1:1,66. AD: Pierre Charbonnier. COST: Renée Miguel. M: Jean Wiener. M excerpts: Henry Purcell's overture ”Come Ye Sons Of Old”; W.A. Mozart. ED: Raymond Lamy. S: Jacques Maumont, Jacques Lebreton, Urbain Loiseau. CAST: Dominique Sanda (woman), Guy Frangin (man), Jane Lobre (Anna). LOC: Paris and its surroundings 2 Sep-12 Nov 1968. 2435 m / 88 min.
    Print: La Cinémathèque française. E-subtitles by Lena Talvio, Hamlet dialogue by Paavo Cajander. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 12 Nov 2009.

A brilliant print with a perfect definition of colour. - This film has not in my knowledge been seen in Finland since the 1970s. - Revisited a masterpiece by Bresson which I had seen twice in the 1970s and not since. - A strong, compact, lucid film: the husband's regret over his wife's corpse after she has committed suicide. The story of their relationship through flashbacks. - Interspersed, without confusing the strong central tension, are cultural references. The woman is an avid reader, interested in many things, for instance in birds, in zoology, in bones, in the unity of all living, the raw matter is the same with all animals and humans. She is also a music lover, who switches abruptly like a dj from rhythm music to Mozart. They visit an art gallery with mobiles and kinetic art. They visit the theatre and see the final scene of Hamlet. They visit the cinema and see a historical epic with Pierre Clémenti. On tv, there is car racing, horse racing, and other sports. - There is no or little score music. Instead, the traffic noise is ubiquitous. - This is the story of the meeting of two incompatible people. Yet the relationship is ardently sexual. - The story is profoundly mysterious, yet not mystifying nor absurd. - This affair is a matter of life and death. - "I'll give you all, you'll get paradise". But it is too late.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terje Vigen

Terje Vigen. Skådespel i fyra akter
Terje Vigen

SE 1916. PC: Svenska Biografteatern. P: Charles Magnusson. D: Victor Sjöström. SC: Gustaf Molander, Sjöström – based on the poem by Henrik Ibsen (1852). DP: Julius Jaenzon. AD: Axel Esbensen, Jens Wang. COST: A. Bloch.
M for the cinema: Rudolf Sahlberg. CAST: Viktor Sjöström (Terje Vigen), Bergliot Husberg (his wife), August Falck (the Lord), Edith Erastoff (the Lady). Originally 1129 m. The new restored edition from Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet (2005), 1031 m /17 fps/ 53 min * norske tekster * e-subtitles in Finnish by Saara Villa, operated by Lena Talvio * viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 10 Nov 2009

Revisited: Victor Sjöströms noble, magnificent film, the first masterpiece of the Golden Age of Swedish cinema, also a contender for Sjöström's best film. The grip is vigorous, more dynamic than in certain later films by Sjöström. - This Swedish film is in Norwegian. We screened this film for the first time in our cinema with Finnish subtitles. Henrik Ibsen's poem has never been translated into Finnish before, and now Saara Villa had created a poetry translation that enhanced the experience.

I lifvets vår

I livets vår / Första älskarinnan / I vårens tid
Elämän keväänä / Elämän keväässä

FR/SE 1912. PC: Pathé Frères Filial. D: Paul Garbagni. SC: Abdon Hedman – based on the novel Första älskarinnan (1848) by the Swedish author August Blanche. DP: Julius Jaenzon. M for a cinema orchestra: Gustav Erbs (Röda Kvarn, Tukholma), Axel Broberg (Fenix, Tukholma). CAST: Victor Sjöström (Cyril Alm), Anna Norrie (Cyril's mother), Georg af Klercker (commercial counselor von Seydling), Selma Wiklund af Klercker (Gerda von Seydling, his daughter), Mauritz Stiller (lt von Plein), Astrid Engelbrecht (Sara Andersson, widow, Gerda's "substitute mother"), Victor Arfvidson (Brooms, a shady character). 1052 m / 17 fps/ 54 min
Restored: Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet (2008) - based on the original negative at La Cinémathèque française - tinting based on original colour information.
E-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 10 Nov 2009.

Revisited one of the earliest Swedish feature films, for generations believed lost, last year miraculously restored from the original negative. For the aficionado of the golden age of the Swedish cinema, it's a treat with fine cinematography by Julius Jaenzon, the unique chance to see the three top directors Sjöström, Stiller and Klercker as actors in the same film before they become directors, and the only extended surviving sample of Stiller as an actor. - While the film is professionally made, it is not, however, particularly remarkable. - It is notable, though, that the acting is pretty restrained already.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Helena Westermarck (exhibition)

Helena Westermarck (1857-1938)
Amos Anderson's Art Museum, Yrjönkatu 27

From the Museum's presentation:

"Finnish artist Helena Westermarck's paintings, literary oeuvre and social conscience indicate a rare gift. Few have paved the way for women in the late 1880s in Finland with such versatility and steadfastness than Westermarck through her life's work. As a painter she was radical for her time: depicting maids and servants naturalistically, to the utter dismay of some. Helena Westermarck was faced with the dilemma of having to choose between painting and writing. As time passed, the writer in her took the upper hand. Her considerable literary production encompasses art historical essays as well as women's rights and other social issues.

Westermarck is not as well-known as her closest colleagues the so-called "painter sisters" – e.g. Helene Schjerfbeck or Maria Wiik – who studied art at home and in Paris in the 1880s. For many, Westermarck is better known as an author and advocate for women's rights. Most of her works belong to private collections and are thus seldom exhibited rarities.  The exhibition at Amos Anderson Art Museum is therefore a rare opportunity to familiarise oneself with Westermarck's moving depictions of people and landscapes.

Some sixty of her oil and water colour paintings will be displayed, among them the striking Abyssinian, a study of a model painted in Paris in the 1880s, as well as her most polemical painting An Important question (later known as the Ironers). The exhibition also presents paintings by her contemporaries, e.g. Gunnar Berndtson and Albert Edelfelt who painted subject-matter related to Westermarck´s Ironers. Her relation to the so-called "painter sisters" is elucidated with paintings from Brittany and Paris by Helene Schjerfbeck and Maria Wiik and others."

Fine art in the traditional realistic vein, genre scenes, portraits, showing a new consciousness in the contents but not in the form. Westermarck was an artist all her life, but in later life she focused more on writing and political action. Her brother was the father of Finnish sociology, Edvard Westermarck.

Marko Vuokola (exhibition)

Galerie Anhava, Mannerheiminaukio 3
Digital C-prints, Diasec

Big landscape photographs of shores, surges, islands, dawns. For meditation and imagination.

Veikko Huovinen and the Forest (seminar)

A tribute to Veikko Huovinen at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 6 Nov 2009.
Together with the Veikko Huovinen Society, as a part of the Metsäpäivät (The Forest Days).
Together with Metsähallitus (The Finnish Forest Administration), bringing to finish our celebration of their 150th Anniversary. The curator of the special series was Tuulikki Halla.

Veikko Huovinen (b. 7 May 1927, d. 4 October 2009, Sotkamo) was to be the guest of honour, himself. In August we got word from him that his presence should not be announced. After a quick and devastating illness he died in early October.

The main speaker was Asko Alanen, my brother, an avid Veikko Huovinen reader since childhood. He spoke about the cinema and television adaptations based on the work of Veikko Huovinen. The first cinema film, Lampaansyöjät [Mutton Eaters] was a disappointment, but the second one, Koirankynnen leikkaaja [Dog Nail Clipper] hit the bull's eye. The third one, Havukka-Ahon ajattelija [The Thinker from the Hawk Meadow] [sorry about the terrible direct translations], on Huovinen's signature protagonist Konsta Pylkkänen, is forthcoming in a few months.

On tv, Veikko Huovinen has been quite well treated, thanks to the inspired direction of Pauli Virtanen and the insight of Heikki Kinnunen as the spirit of Huovinen and also as Konsta Pylkkänen.

The tv miniseries Havukka-ahon ajattelija (1971), Hamsterit (1982), Veikko Huovisen lyhyet erikoiset (1984-1986), Lentsu (1990), and Konstan Pylkkerö (1994) have all been worthy, and the four last-mentioned have been coincidentally published on dvd this year.

Asko emphasized with insight the great question of language. Veikko Huovinen's stories are language-driven, and Pauli Virtanen, for instance, has met the challenge successfully, acknowledging the primacy of the word.

Because of the emphasis on language, Veikko Huovinen belongs to the hidden treasures of Finnish culture. His sense of humour is of the kind that can launch incredible fits of laughter, but only in Finnish.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cretinetti As a Master of Italian Comedy

Cretinetti italialaisen komedian mestarina / Cretinetti som den italienska komedins mästare
From: Il Cineteca di Bologna. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 4 Nov 2009

Cretinetti re dei ladri
[Cretinetti, varkaiden kuningas]
IT 1909. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti). 100 m /16 fps/ 6 min
Restored: L'Immagine Ritrovata (2007) in the project of restoring Italian films at Filmoteca de Catalunya, financed by Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Cineteca di Bologna ja Cineteca del Friuli. No titles.
Cretinetti fails as an amateur thief.

Cretinetti ficcanaso
[Cretinetti työntää nenänsä joka paikkaan]
IT 1909. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti). 99 m /16 fps/ 6 min
Restored: L'Immagine Ritrovata (2005) from a nitrate print.
Cretinetti meddles with things and lands into trouble every time, having his head forged on an anvil and falling into a pit on a construction site.

Cretinetti distratto
[Cretinetti hajamielisenä]
IT 1910. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti). 168 m /16 fps/ 9 min
Source of preservation: American Film Institute. No titles.
Cretinetti wakes up in the middle of his sleep and finds himself in outlandish situations, walking through a mirror and falling through the roof.

Come fu che l'ingordigia rovinò il Natale a Cretinetti
[Cretinetti ja ahneuden palkka]
IT 1910. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti). 237 m /16 fps/ 13 min
Source of restoration: Museo Nazionale del Cinema. Dutch titles.
The greedy boy Cretinetti eats up all his Christmas pastries before Christmas. In Cretinetti's nightmare, Santa Claus takes him into Heaven, where he wreaks such havoc that God commits him into Hell.

Il regalo di Cretinetti
[Cretinettin lahja]
IT 1911. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti), Valentina Frascaroli. 164 m /16 fps/ 9 min
Source of restoration: Archivo Nacional de la Imagen - Sodre (Montevideo). Didascalie italiane
Cretinetti tries to bring a gift to his sweetheart. He loses the flowers. The tableware set breaks into pieces. Finally he buys a piano, but in the great chaos he is stuffed inside it.

Cretinetti s'incarica del trasloco
Müller übernimmt den Umzug / [Cretinetti muuttaa]
IT 1911. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti), Valentina Frascaroli. 150 m /16 fps/ 8 min
Deutsche Zwischentitel
Moving Cretinetti style: a tornado of furniture.

Il Natale di Cretinetti
[Cretinettin joulu]
IT 1911. PC: Itala Film. Starring André Deed (Cretinetti), Valentina Frascaroli. 132 m /16 fps/ 8 min
Source of restoration: Archivo Nacional de la Imagen - Sodre (restored 2002). Didascalie italiane
Cretinetti carries an immense load of gifts, including a Christmas tree, a rifle and a wooden horse. He bumps onto a mailman, and accidentally get with him a package with three bottles: elixir of fear, elixir of mirth, and elixir of fury. At the Christmas party, first Cretinetti and soon everybody else is going amok with the elixir.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Comique et drames de la Collection Will Day

That Fatal Sneeze (GB 1907). PC: Hepworth Manufacturing Co. D: Lewin Fitzhamon. C: Thornton Harris. An apocalyptic comedy based on the concept of the devastating sneeze.

Comic Films and Dramas from the Will Day Collection / Komediaa ja draamaa Will Dayn kokoelmassa
1901–1913. Compilation: FR 1997. Archives Françaises du Film / Centre National de la Cinématographie. 35 mm, 609 m /20 fps/ 26 min. Titres français / English titles
Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 3 Nov 2009 (History of the Cinema / AFF 40th Anniversary)

The Devil in the Studio
GB 1901. PC: Paul's Animatograph Works. D: Walter R. Booth. 33 m
How To Stop a Motor Car
GB 1902. PC: Hepworth Manufacturing Co. D: Percy Stow. Cast: Cecil Hepworth, T.C. Hepworth, Claude Whitten. 54 m
The Village Fire Brigade
GB 1907. PC: Williamson Kinematograph Co. D: James Williamson. 96 m
That Fatal Sneeze
GB 1907. PC: Hepworth Manufacturing Co. D: Lewin Fitzhamon. Cast: Thornton Harris, Gertie Potter. 75 m - the biggest laugh of the programme!
Why Girls Leave Home
US 1908. PC: Edison Manufacturing Company. Cast: Thornton Harris, Gertie Potter. 75 m
[If We Only Knew]
US ?1913. PC: American Biograph. D: attributed to Anthony Sullivan. Cast: Blanche Sweet, Henry Walthall, Dolores Costello, Harry Carey. 231 m

Will Day loved comedy and preserved Walter Booth's 1901 trick film, The Devil in the Studio, pro-duced by Robert W. Paul, and two wonderfully inventive notions from the Hepworth studio, Percy Stow's How To Stop a Motor Car (1902) and Lewin Fitzhamon's That Fatal Sneeze (1907), as well as James Williamson's delicious A Village Fire Brigade (1907). From America comes a witty Edi-son parody of a stage melodrama, Why Girls Leave Home (1909) and in a startling contrast a 1913 drama from Biograph, If We Only Knew, distinguished by Billy Bitzer's spectacularly photographic effects. (David Robinson, Pordenone 1997)

Revisited a funny and touching compilation from the Will Day collection. - In the prints sent to us, the first three films were also included in the Points de vue compilation.

Le Cinéma des origines dans la Collection Will Day

William Friese-Greene: Hyde Park, London (GB ca 1890). Original format 65 mm, ca 1,9 meters.

The Origins of the Cinema in the Will Day Collection / Varhainen elokuva Will Dayn kokoelmassa

1890-1912. Compilation: FR 1997. Archives Françaises du Film / Centre National de la Cinématographie. 35 mm, 230 m /20 fps/ 10 min. Titres français / English titles
Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 3 Nov 2009 (History of the Cinema / AFF 40th Anniversary)

Hyde Park, London
GB ca 1890. P+D: William Friese-Greene. Original format 65 mm, ca 1,9 m
Kings Road, Chelsea, London
GB ca 1890. P+D: William Friese-Greene. Original format 60 mm, ca 2 m
Stereoscopic Film: Hyde Park
GB ca 1890. P+D: William Friese-Greene. Original format 166 mm, 4,55 m
Station Ménilmontant, Chemin de fer de ceinture
FR 1896. P: Gaumont-Demenÿ, Comptoir Générale de Photographie. D: Georges Demenÿ. Original format 58 mm
Dancing Girl No. 2
FR 1896. P: Gaumont-Demenÿ, Comptoir Générale de Photographie. D: Georges Demenÿ. Original format 58 mm
Debarcadère du bateau à vapeur Wilhelm Tell
FR 1896. P: Gaumont-Demenÿ. D: Georges Demenÿ. Original format 58 mm
Dispute espagnole
FR 1896. P: Gaumont-Demenÿ, Comptoir Générale de Photographie. D: Georges Demenÿ. Original format 58 mm
[Halle au vin, No 1]
?FR ?GB 1897. PC: Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Original format 68 mm
[Halle au vin, No 2]
?FR ?GB 1897. PC: Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Original format 68 mm
[La Cachette]
?FR ?GB 1897. PC: Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Original format 68 mm
Bain de mer No. 1
GB 1898. Filmed on Biokam camera, 17,5 mm
Bain de mer No. 2
GB 1898. Filmed on Biokam camera, 17,5 mm
The Rival Clothiers
GB 1900. PC: Warwick. D: G. Aubrey Smith. Filmed on Biokam camera, 17,5 mm
[Trichrome Experimental Film]
GB 1903. PC: Jumeaux-Davidson. D: Benjamin Jumeaux, William Norman Lascelles Davidson. Original format 82 mm
[Posters on Hoarding]
GB 1912. PC: Friese-Greene-Lascelles-Davidson. D: William Friese-Greene
Engineer's Shop at Nelson Dock
GB 1896. ?Robert William Paul?. 15 m
GB 1896. Robert William Paul. 13 m
Blackfriars Bridge
GB 1896. Robert William Paul. 15 m
Troops Passing Over Mooder River
GB 1899. PC: Warwick. D: John Bennett-Stanford. 20 m
Children Paddling
GB 1896. D: Esme Collings. 20 m
Arrival of Train-Load of Visitors at Henley Station
GB 1899. PC: Hepworth Manufacturing Company. D: Cecil Hepworth. 12 m

This group includes the greatest treasures of the Will Day film collection. The fragments of the films made by William Friese-Greene with his cameras of 1889 and 1890 probably represent the world's first films on celluloid and certainly the first perforated films and the first films shot on out-side locations. In addition there are fine groups of large-format films made by Georges Demenÿ and by the Mutoscope and Biograph Company in 1896-1897, and small-format films shot with the Bio-kam, the earliest home movie device. Also natural colour films made by the 1903 Jumeaux-Lascelles Davidson Trichrome process in 1903, and by the William Friese-Greene and Norman Lascelles Davidson process in 1912; and finally a group of hitherto unknown films from the first days of British cinema, shot by Robert William Paul, Esme Collings, Cecil Hepworth, and the Warwick Company. (David Robinson, Pordenone 1997)

Revisited: the most precious of the Will Day programmes... at least some of the films have been digitally restored, and they look like it, but still it's one of the most marvellous film historical presentations, with excellent editing and introduction work.

Points de vue sur le monde à travers la Collection Will Day

The World Seen Through the Will Day Collection / Maailman kuvia Will Dayn kokoelmassa

1897-1913. Compilation: FR 1997. Archives Françaises du Film / Centre National de la Cinématographie. 35 mm, 587 m /20 fps/ 23 min. Titres français / English titles
Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 3 Nov 2009 (History of the Cinema / AFF 40th Anniversary)

The Prince of Wales on the Deck of the "Britannia" on the Riviera
GB 1897. D: John Tester. 16 m
Queen Victoria's State Visit to Ireland
GB 1900. 38 m
Panoramic Views on the Thames. - Panoramic Views of the Paris Exhibition
GB 1900. Cecil Hepworth. 25 m
London Prepared to Make the Coronation of Edward VII a Wonderful Spectacle
GB 1901 or 1902. 25 m
Edward VII's Delhi Durbar
GB 1902. 33 m
Memorial to Indian Prince at Bexhill
GB 1910. PC: Gaumont Graphic. 24 m
St. Martin-De-Ré. A Convoy of Convicts Departs for a French Penal Settlement.
GB 1912. PC: Pathé's Animated Gazette. 25 m
The War of the Five Nations
GB 1912. PC: Pathé's Animated Gazette. 33 m
State Visit of Their Majesties to Berlin for the Wedding of the Kaiser's Daughter
GB 1910. PC: Gaumont Graphic and others. 78 m
French Train Disaster at Melun
GB 1913. PC: Gaumont Graphic. 27 m
London Wants a Dreadnought. The Great Demonstration in Trafalgar Square
GB 1913. PC: Gaumont Graphic. 22 m
A Trip to the White Sea Fisheries
GB 1909. PC: Rosie Films. 228 m

Will Day (1873-1936) was not only the world's first and greatest collector pertaining to archaeology and beginnings of cinema, but also a pioneer collector of actual films. His collection, in 1997 restored by Archives Françaises du Film / Centre National de la Cinématographie, is seen publicly for the first time at Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto. This selection from the film collection of Will Day consists of a group of early actuality films beginning with John Tester's 1897 film of the Prince of Wales on the Royal Yacht, a 1900 montage of Queen Victoria's state visit to Dublin and Cecil Hepworth's impressive panoramas of the Thames and the Paris International Exhibition. Later films include Joseph Rosenthal's visually handsome record of A Trip to the White Sea Fisheries. (David Robinson, Pordenone 1997)

Revisited the Will Day collection of actuality films revealing the past as a foreign country. The films have been professionally edited with introductory titles.

Autour de Will Day

About Will Day / Will Day ja elokuvan kehitys
1914-1924. Compilation: FR 1997. Archives Françaises du Film / Centre National de la Cinématographie. 35 mm, 603 m /20 fps/ 25 min. Titres français / English titles
Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 3 Nov 2009 (History of the Cinema and AFF 40th Anniversary)

The Evolution of Film
GB 1924. PC: Pathé Pictorial. With: Will Day. 226 m
The Inventor of Kinematography
GB 1921. PC: Gaumont Graphic. 69 m
Whitewashing the Ceiling (extract)
GB 1914. P: Will Day. D: Joe Rosenthal. SC: Will Evans. Cast: Will Evans, Arthur Conquest
[Will Day With His Family and Pets]
[Will Day Outside His Shop at 19 Lisle Street, London W]
GB ?1914. 29 m
In a 10-minute Pathé Pictorial of the early twenties, Will Day shows off some prize items from his collection, with the cameraman achieving remarkable success in animating some of the archaic moving picture devices. Day is also seen as a bearer at the impressive 1921 funeral of his hero Wil-liam Friese-Greene; and in home movies, with his family, ca 1910, and outside his shop. Also Day's first effort as a film producer, the knockabout farce Whitewashing a Ceiling. (David Robinson, Pordenone 1997)

Revisited the wonderfully edited programme with pre-cinema treasures from the Will Day collection edited with good introduction titles.