Saturday, October 15, 2011

Syvälle salattu / Body of Water

Joona Tena: Syvälle salattu / Body of Water (FI 2011) starring Krista Kosonen (Julia).

Det djupt dolda.
    FI © 2011 Matila Röhr Nordisk Oy. EX: Marko Röhr. P: Mikko Tenhunen.
    D: Joona Tena. SC: Mikko Tenhunen, Pekka Lehtosaari, Joona Tena. DP: Kjell Lagerroos. Special effects: Amin Kassam. Visual effects: Ville Lepistö, Petri Siitonen. AD: Päivi Kettunen. Cost: Anne-Maria Ylitapio. Makeup: Kati Koskela. M: Panu Aaltio. S: Juha Hakanen. ED: Benjamin Mercer. Casting: Tutsa Paananen, Pia Pesonen.
    Cast: Krista Kosonen (Julia), Kai Lehtinen (Leo), Viljami Nojonen (Niko), Peter Franzén (Elias), Risto Aaltonen (Lantto), Kari Hietalahti (Koskela), Ilkka Villi (Julia's ex-husband).
    Loc: Joensuu, Lieksa, Outokumpu.
    105 min.
    Distributed by Nordisk Finland. 2K DCP without subtitles viewed at Tennispalatsi 9, Helsinki, 15 Oct 2011.

A Finnish horror movie with good production values, a strong sense of milieu, effective cinematography, impressive visual ideas, including underwater cinematography, powerful sound effects, and fine actors.

There are affinities with the Japanese horror movies by Hideo Nakata.

The horror element is the fear of the Näkki, a variation of the water spirit of ancient folk tradition: it will come and get the first born son (this story has also been recorded in the Grimm brothers' fairy-tale of the poor miller who sacrifices his son in exchange for a treasure).

Krista Kosonen plays Julia with a sensitivity worth comparing with Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion. There is finally an explanation, a hidden truth behind the macabre experiences, but it means that much of what has been seen has been just a hallucination of Julia's.

Julia is an environmentalist on a tour (with her 9-year old son) to help protect lakes. I had problems with the set-up that Julia is mentally unbalanced in a story like this, and also with the account of the villagers so hostile to her.

There may be many truths about these things, but in my experience local people value their natural surroundings more highly than anybody and have a lot of "silent knowledge" worthy of respect.

Also regarding her responsibility as a single mother Julia's trip to madness leaves an uneasy aftertaste. The basic drive of the movie is to make us identify, sympathize, and root for her as an environmentalist and a single mother, but in the end we are made to feel concerned for her sanity. How much of the hostility of the villagers was just hallucination?

Beyond the jump break: The artworks in the montage during the opening credits (edited by Joona Tena):
Meindert Hobbema: A Watermill (1662-64)
Eero Järnefelt: Raatajat rahanalaiset (1893)
Luke Fildes: Motherless (1914)
Gustave Doré: Jacob Prays for Protection (1866)
Arthur Rackham: The dwarf Alberich steals the Rhinegold watched over by the Rhinemaidens (1910)
Arthur Rackham: Frontispiece: Clerk Colvill (1919)
Akseli Gallén-Kallela: Ad astra (1894)
Edward John Poynter: Cave of the Storm Nymphs (1903)
Herbert James Draper: The Water Nymph (1908)
Guido Reni: A fresco in Palazzo Quirinale (1611)
Andrea Mantegna: Madonna with Sleeping Child (1465-70)
Guido Reni: The Massacre of the Innocents (1611-12)
Valentin de Boulogne: Judgement of Salomon (c. 1620)
Peter Paul Rubens: Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon (1636-38)
Anonymous: Offering to Moloch (1897)
Gustave Doré: The Deluge (1866)
Cabiria movie poster (1914)
Newell Convers Wyeth: The Treasure Cave (1911)
Quinten Matsys: The Moneylender and his Wife (1514)
Pieter Claesz: Still Life with Turkey Pie (1627)
Pieter Aertsen: The Vegetable Seller (1567)
Pieter Claesz: Fruit Still Life with Basket of Cheese (1624 1625)
Antonio de Pereda: The Knight’s Dream (1655)
Caravaggio: Sacrifice of Isaac (1635)

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