Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vähän kunnioitusta / Gimme Some Respect

FI © 2010 Meguru Production. P: Riikka Poulsen. D+S: Pekka Karjalainen. SC: Leena Virtanen - based on an idea by Sami Helle, Sirkka Leikola, Pekka Karjalainen, Leena Virtanen. DP: Heikki Färm - 2,35. AD: Tytti Tiri. Cost: Riitta Röpelinen. Make-up: Riikka Virtanen. M: Heikki Silvennoinen, Pekka Karjalainen. ED: Kauko Lindfors. Cast: Outi Kero (Siiri), Elena Leeve (Suski), Asko Vaarala (Santeri), Kari-Pekka Toivonen (Pate), Svante Martin (Henri), Aapo Ahtola (Pätkä), Sami Helle (Sauli), Heikki Hela (Siiri's father), Lauri Nurkse (social security officer). 91 min. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Finland). A SES screener dvd with English subtitles viewed at home, 18 Jan 2011

The film was developed during four years in a workshop of The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Kehitysvammaliitto).

Vähän kunnioitusta has been nominated for a Jussi Award for the best male supporting role (Asko Vaarala), and I had missed this film that was released in the summer.

Good drama is about encounter, dramatizing an encounter, and this film is about disabled people facing  the world of so-called "normal people". Long in gestation, the film has an educational agenda, each character and episode with a meaning. The film is not patronizing. What I like about the film is that it helps understand life better, more richly, in its variations. The screenplay, the direction and the performances are sensitive. The film does not avoid embarrassing truths about how the disabled can be vulnerable to sexual abuse, and there is a traumatic rape scene early on. In the home for the disabled Pate (Kari-Pekka Toivonen) represents a modern, permissive stance. Henri (Svante Martin) is a representative of the old guard. Henri's insensitive intervention into the relationship of Siiri (Outi Kero) with the guard Santeri (Asko Vaarala) results in their separation. The film is remarkable in letting real disabled people perform. Besides, Elena Leeve creates another bold and gripping performance, here as the sexually wild Suski, born normal, having become disabled in a swimming accident. Kari-Pekka Toivonen is in fine form as the boss of the home for the disabled.

The most poignant image in a Finnish film of 2010: a Sex and the City poster on Suski's wall. For some Sex and the City is a satire, for others, a model.

The most powerful scene in a Finnish film of 2010: Henri's address to Santeri, crushing the delicate relationship between the young beyond repair.

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