Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rouva Presidentti / [Mrs. President]

Fru President. FI © 2012 Helsinki Filmi Oy / Funny-Films Oy. P: Miia Haavisto, Osku Pajamäki. D: Aleksi Bardy. SC: Aleksi Bardy, Osku Pajamäki. DP: Tuukka Temonen, Timo Teräväinen - DCP: James Post. M: Kerkko Koskinen. "Tarja Halonen Song" sung by Namibians. S: Juha Hakanen. ED: Katja Pällijeff. Feat: Tarja Halonen, Pentti Arajärvi. 90 min. Mostly in Finnish. Released by Scanbox Entertainment with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 7, Helsinki, 31 March 2012 (premiere weekend).

A documentary movie about Tarja Halonen's last year of Presidency at the end of her second term, totalling 12 years (maximum duration), the first feature movie of a Finnish President's full working schedule. Previously there have been feature films about Presidential state visits only.

Topics include a state visit to Russia (Medvedev, Putin), a regional visit to Forssa, a Presidential session with the Secretary of State, state visit to Namibia, an environmental summit in Capetown, opening of the Parliament, open doors at the Presidential Palace, the Book Fair, visiting a celebration of the Kallio elementary school (the school of Halonen's own childhood, not far from where she lives now) (I visited the same school for one year 15 years later when we lived two blocks from it at Neljäs Linja), embarking the Presidential boat, the summer residence in Kultaranta (Naantali), the cabinet meeting at Kultaranta, visit of Bruce Oreck the U.S. Ambassador, the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Presidential session with the new prime minister Jyrki Katainen, the Presidential residence at Mäntyniemi, the Presidential New Year's address, packing things including 6000 books at the end of the Presidency, and turning the power to Sauli Niinistö, the new President since 2012.

Tarja Halonen looks relieved during her last year of Presidency, following her tough schedule and summarizing aspects of her worldview. "I am a person of the 1960s. Good values get better with age." Her mother's advice: "The world is not fair. That's why we are here, to make it better." "Presidency is like a shadow or cloak that follows you everywhere." "Poor people are not stupid." "Change the world." "You have to dare to live." "Liberty is attractive, life will carry us." Her daughter's comment six years ago: "You have lost your liberty. You are a President for life."

Based on this movie I don't think Tarja Halonen (67) is retiring anytime soon.

When I was seeing the trailer I was agonizing "do I have to see that". But the movie is actually consistently interesting and an act of democracy, helping us understand a bit better the world of modern politics nationally, locally and internationally.

The attendance in the screening was good, and I heard from the cinema staff that the movie has been consistently popular during the premiere weekend. The audience reaction was strong with many bursts of laughter for the punchlines. Tarja Halonen was a popular President, the real deal, "one of us", still popular.

The visual quality of the 2K presentation has the character of a basic record, the movie having been shot on digital video. But even the archival stock footage of the 1950s has a weak video definition. Yet in a movie like this we are grateful for candid moments of usually inaccessible situations, and there are many such moments that have never been recorded before.

Saunavieras / [A Sauna Guest]

Anssi Mänttäri: Saunavieras (2012) starring Kari Väänänen as Jalo Rautakumpu.

FI 2012. PC: Riskifilmi Oy / Anssi Mänttäri. P+D+SC: Anssi Mänttäri. Poems by Einari Vuorela, William Shakespeare. DP: Dave Berg - DCP: Post Control. Camera: Mauri Lähdesmäki, Paavo Virtanen, Mikko Vähätalo. Lights: Tazu Ovaska, Sampo Laine, Kai Tuomola, Jussi Suokko. Make-up: Terhi Väänänen. M: Asko Mänttäri, with three new songs. Other compositions: "Song of the Indian Guest" ("Песня Индийского гостя") (Rimsky-Korsakov). "Pääskynen" ("La golondrina", 1862) (Narciso Serradell). S: Petri Varpiola, Matias Hakala. ED: Paavo Virtanen. P manager: Heikki Valkama. P secretary: Hanna Onttonen. Script supervisor: Joonas Ranta. Ass D: Sanna-Maari Tyysti. P coordinator: Vesa Hauhia. Loc: Sodankylä.
    C: Kari Väänänen (Jalo Rautakumpu, a best-selling author), Jone Takamäki (Hannu Nieminen, hitman), Ilkka Heiskanen (Ylermi), Raisa Vattulainen (Liisa), Anni Tani (Armi), Sampo Laine (1. taxi driver), Juha Tiuraniemi (2. taxi driver), Urpo Matero (3. taxi driver), Minttu Törmänen (hat check girl), Heikki Valkama (head waiter), Vesa Suomalainen (literary critic), Kaisu Petäjäniemi (companion), Hanna Onttonen (Mervi), Riitta Tauriainen (Jaana), Anssi Mänttäri (Tapsa), Katja Postila (porter), Joonas Ranta (barman), Raimo Mannermaa (customer), Jorma Karjalainen (customer).
    98 min.
    Distributed by Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus. No Swedish subtitles in the screening.
    2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 31 March 2012.

A modern parodistic variation of Don Giovanni and the Stone Guest.

Jalo Rautakumpu, a successful writer (Kari Väänänen) who publishes a popular novel every year, is about to start a relaxing evening in his retreat in the deep forest of Lapland when a stranger with the nondescript name of Hannu Nieminen appears at his home yard. Jalo invites Hannu to the sauna, and when he examines Hannu's clothes he finds the pockets empty.

Jalo and Hannu consume entire bottles of Koskenkorva vodka, and Hannu has to admit to Jalo, quoting Chico Marx, that "you are such a nice guy that I could kill you for nothing". Jalo has been seeing Ylermi's wife, the violent Ylermi has caught them in flagrante, and Ylermi has hired Hannu to assassinate Jalo.

Hannu promises Jalo to call the gig off, and after big cups of black coffee they take the taxi to the Luosto restaurant. Hannu is amazed to discover Jalo behaving like a male chauvinist pig of the worst kind, insulting and abusing every woman in the most disgusting way. Hannu even offers an apology to the nice hat check girl, but when on their departure Jalo renews his insults to her it is the last straw.

There is nothing uplifting in the story and its macabre male protagonists. There are moments of black comedy such as the vignette on the monstrous marriage of Ylermi and his wife. A highlight is when Hannu climbs to the roof of the Luostotunturi hotel to save Jalo by singing him a song. Hannu does not want Jalo to commit suicide or die by accident.

There is a lot of dialogue in the movie. Jalo detects in Hannu "a confidence which can only be based on money". "Matti Nykänen is the collective conscience of the people of Finland". "Money keeps coming from all doors and windows but all I want is respect".

Jalo is proud to be compared with animals such as the blackcock and the male reindeer, but the animal he really resembles is a pig. Jalo's old school macho pig attitudes belong to the pre-Women's Lib era (topical in Mad Men).

There is a confident drive in the narration. The hitman is realistically believable. The viewer feels that Anssi Mänttäri has made this movie because he had to.

Saunavieras has been produced outside all the regular movie and tv production structures of Finland. Until last year Mänttäri worked with his trusted, talented cinematographer Heikki Katajisto, and his low budget films shot on 35 mm looked good. Since his switch to video and digital things have changed.

The magnificent autumn colours of Lapland in September could be an important counterforce in a story like this, and a better visual quality would have helped Saunavieras. Now the visual quality is uneven, with most scenes passable, but some shots should have been retaken.

Mankeli / The Mangel

FI 2011. Short movie before Saunavieras, 2K DCP at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 31 March 2012. I commented on Mankeli in my Tampere Film Festival 2012 notes. Revisited the dark fairy-tale animation by Jan Andersson and Katja Kettu, narrated by Tuomari Nurmio. The death motif links the short to the feature.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vares - uhkapelimerkki / [Vares - the Chip of the Gambler]

Vares - vågspelsmarken. FI 2012 © 2011 Solar Films Inc. Oy. P: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. D: Lauri Törhönen. SC: Mika Karttunen - based on the novel (2007) by Reijo Mäki. DP: Jari Mutikainen. Cost: Janne Karjalainen. Makeup: Hannele Herttua. M: Samuli Laiho, DJ Slow. "Ei aina käy niin kuin haaveillaan" ("You Only Live Twice") sung by Carola. S: Panu Riikonen. ED: Kimmo Kohtamäki. Loc: Turku (including the bars Uusi Apteekki and Esposito; Ruissalo: bird-watching tower; Turku Central Square; the Swan of Finland museum ship). C: Antti Reini (Jussi Vares), Minna Haapkylä (Sole Sulavesi), Maria Järvenhelmi (Anna Huttunen), Ilkka Heiskanen (Inspector Hautavainio), Jasper Pääkkönen (Kyypakkaus ["Viper Antidote"]), Eppu Salminen (Juhani Luusalmi), Matti Onnismaa (Pastor Alanen), Mikko Leppilampi (reporter Ruuhio), Risto Kaskilahti (Timo Petterson), Sari Puumalainen (Suski Petterson), Jouko Puolanto (von Knorr), Kaarina Hazard (Selma Natunen), Jarkko Tamminen (Topi Penkki), Jevgeni Haukka (Stahanov), Tommi Eronen (Keronimo), Kristo Salminen (Erkki Sariola), Tuula Amberla (Maria Rodriques), Maarit Peltomaa (Irene), Teijo Eloranta (Pettinen). 95 min. Released by Nordisk Film. No Swedish subtitles in the screening I visited. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 12, Helsinki, 30 March 2012.

An entertainment film, the seventh movie about the investigations of the Turku-based private detective Jussi Vares. The previous one was perhaps the weakest in the series because the caricatures were so heavy that the viewer started to feel indifferent about the characters. This entry has more gravity and may be the best of the Vares adventures.

For a change, Vares falls seriously in love, and the object of her affections is a deeply depressed woman, Sole Sulavesi (Minna Haapkylä), who has not been able to sustain a long-term relationship and who leaves Vares, too. Soon she is found dead, hanging from her neck at the Ruissalo bird-watching tower, a favourite tryst of hers. I like the seriousness of the performances in the account of this relationship. There is a surprise solution to the mystery of Sole's death.

There is a sense of caricature in the storyline of a big financial fraud that attracts the attention of the economic crime department of the National Bureau of Investigation. Even a Russian hitman is involved in this second parallel storyline. In terms of realism I find this part of the movie impossible to believe. Physical violence is avoided in the economic crime scene of the Western world. Even professional robbers avoid violence. (In a comical dialogue with small-time crooks the concept "a bank job" has a topical double meaning, connecting ordinary robbers and fraud in big finance.) In its unrealistic mode Sole's financier brother's caricatured garden party (its pervasive sense of greed, self-interest, exploitation and lovelessness) is memorable. Its mood is a partial explanation to Sole's depression, alienation and rootlessness. There is also a third storyline about jealousy. Sole's brother Timo (Risto Kaskilahti) seems like a decent guy but he is deeply jealous and hurt when his voluptuous wife Suski (Sari Puumalainen) sleeps with the macho banker von Knorr.

In the 2K presentation the close-ups, the medium shots and the interiors look good but the digital limitations are evident in nature footage and aerial shots.

Kulman pojat / Fanatics

Fanatiker. FI © 2012 Bronson Club. EX: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. P: Jesse Fryckman, Oskari Huttu. D: Teppo Airaksinen. SC: Jaakko Kaján, Teppo Airaksinen. DP: Teppo Högman - RED - 2,35:1. PD: Otso Linnalaakso. Cost: Henna-Riikka Taskinen. Makeup: Saara Räisänen. M: Arto Tuunela. "Me ollaan sankareita". S: Karri Niinivaara. ED: Jussi Rautaniemi. Loc: Joensuu. C: Eero Ritala (Petri), Joonas Saartamo (Commander), Jussi Vatanen (Tuukka Tiensuu), Lotta Kaihua (Emmi), Janne Ravi (Sarttila), Antti Väre (Terho), Ville Tiihonen (Vesander). 85 min. Released by Nordisk with Swedish subtitles by Saliven Gustavsson. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 12, Helsinki, 30 March 2012.

From the official production information:

"A comedy about a bunch of pals brought together by friendship, a rough sense of humour, a common enemy and a burning love for football. The stars are the popular young actors Eero Ritala, Joonas Saartamo, and Jussi Vatanen."

"Petri (Eero Ritala) wastes his future doing odd jobs in a small sports store in a little Eastern Finnish town. His best friends include the big-mouthed Commander (Joonas Saartamo), the bossy leader of the bunch. His pranks are always eagerly executed by Sarttila (Janne Ravi) and the former great white hope of the hometown Terho (Antti Väre). Summer days and nights are spent making mayhem."

"The foursome are passionate fans of the unfortunate football team called Kulman Pallo. Its worst enemy is the candy-ass AC United which manages to hire a national level player, Tuukka Tiensuu (Jussi Vatanen). Tiensuu the dream  prince gets a hero's welcome and gives the boys a chill."

"The boys' football mania annoys endlessly Vesander (Ville Tiihonen), Eero's bitterly nihilistic workmate who prefers the suburban bar counter to the football auditorium."

"Friends and leisure activities have always meant everything for Petri, but his life is turned upside down when he meets Emmi, the woman of his life (Lotta Kaihua). Instantly the girl wins Petri's heart and makes all the other guys jealous. Petri's happiness would be complete if Emmi didn't support the opposite team and if she didn't have a special relationship with the arch-enemy, the dream lover Tuukka Tiensuu."

A coming-of-age story of 30ish young men living a life of prolonged youth. There is a strong current of male energy in the picture. The dialogue is dynamic and spontaneous. The attractive Lotta Kaihua carries very well her role as the woman who changes it all. The clumsy pick-up scene is good and the embarrasing turning-points of the relationship ring true to life. The location is a small town (Joensuu) where the sports store is closed and Petri gets a job at the grinding machine.

Kohta 18 / Almost 18

Snart 18. FI © 2012 Huh-Huh -Filmi. P+D+AD+Cost: Maarit Lalli. SC: Maarit Lalli, Henrik Mäki-Tanila. DP: Jan Nyman, Rauno Ronkainen, Harry Räty - camera: Canon 5 D/7D SLR - resolution at all stages 1920 x 1020 (source: Maarit Lalli, Petteri Linnus, 16.4.2012). Makeup: Anu Rokkanen. M: Kepa Lehtinen. Sportscaster on hockey cd: Antero Mertaranta. S: Pasi Peni. ED: Maarit Lalli, Jenny Tervakari. Loc: Helsinki (Ullanlinna: Kapteeninpuistikko, etc.).
    C: Henrik Mäki-Tanila (Karri), Karim Al-Rifai (André), Anton Thompson Coon (Pete), Ben Thompson Coon (Joni), Arttu Lähteenmäki (Akseli), Mari Perankoski (André's mother), Elina Knihtilä (Karri's mother), Hannu-Pekka Björkman (Pete's father), Tarja Heinula (Pete's mother), Niina Nurminen (Joni's mother), Mats Långbacka (Joni's stepfather), Ilari Johansson (Akseli's mother). 85 min.
    Original in Finnish with some Swedish with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. Released by Nordisk Film, 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, 30 March 2012.

From the production information: "KARRI, 17, takes his last driving lesson with his own taxi-driver mother as the teacher. She wants to discuss serious things in life. The wheel turns into the wrong direction right on the home yard. Finland loses in ice-hockey to Sweden again, and mother smells alcohol in her son's breath.

PETE, 17, soothes his girlfriend who has taken an abortion pill. Guilt for killing a living being does not leave Pete in peace.

ANDRÉ, 17, has to pick up his little brother from the kindergarten for the third time this week. Mother is again "working extra hours". After midnight mother comes home stone drunk and with a colleague from her workplace in her arms.

AKSELI, 17, heads off to spend a weekend in the country with his grandparents who have, unbeknownst to Akseli, invited his father, an ex-alcoholic. Father and son take off deer-hunting in the forest, in a tiny hunters' hideaway where silence has to be total.

JONI, 18, has a summer job at the Linnanmäki amusement park as a wolf who attracts all teenage girls to his furry arms. After hours Joni freelances as a stripper for grown-up ladies to finance his drug habits.

AA: A serious but humoristic multi-character study about five boys growing-up, about to become men. There are interesting observations about contemporary life. Most of the families are broken and the struggling parents have difficulty giving good guidance. Like in Vuosaari the stories are developing into dark directions but the concluding vignettes are more optimistic. Karri for the first time helps his mother to assemble furniture. Pete's parents (the only intact family in the movie) are getting a new baby. André takes care of his little brother. Akseli's father has drowned on a fishing trip, and Akseli inherits his father's knife. Joni the wolf comes home drunk and says he is afraid.

The harridan theme is pronounced in contemporary Finnish cinema but not in the reality of my experience. In the first story Elina Knihtilä gets to play a harridan taxi driver and in the last story it's Niina Nurminen's turn to interpret a harridan mother-wife. I always wonder in these stories why the husband does not get out, and here the stepfather (Mats Långbacka) starts to do so but then the wife regrets. Women are disappointed by men and turn into harridans. No wonder that families get broken.

In the 2K DCP presentation the close-ups, the medium shots and the interiors were fine, and the exteriors were shot in such a way that the digital limitations were not visible for long.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D

Werner Herzog: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010).

CA/US/FR/DE/GB © 2010 Creative Differences, Inc. PC also: History Films / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / Arte France / Werner Herzog Filmproduktion / More4. P: Erik Nelson, Adrienne Ciuffo, Dave Harding, Julian Hobbs, David McKillop.
    D+SC+narrated by: Werner Herzog. DP: Peter Zeitlinger. M: Ernst Reijseger. ED: Joe Bini, Maya Hawke. Original in English; even the Frenchmen speak English.
    A 2K DCP in 3D XpanD viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (3D), 28 March 2012.

La Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc was discovered by three cave explorers in 1994. They found what are held to be the oldest known cave drawings, engravings and paintings, dating from two periods, ca 30.000-27.000 BP (before present) and ca 35.000-32.000 BP.

Professional preservation measures were taken at once, and entry was almost totally forbidden except for scientists for brief visits. The French Government let Werner Herzog document the cave for a movie, and there are plans of a replica cave for the general audience.

The solution to make the documentary in 3D seems strange but is actually well judged because the ice-age image-makers used the three dimensions of the cave walls for their images. The images on the walls have sometimes a sculptural character. Technical experts had to develop new techniques for documentary 3D film-making because special effects could not be used for the documentation of the cave drawings, engravings and paintings. There is also a 3D animation sequence about the total structure of the cave.

There is an intimate diary and essay format in Werner Herzog's movie. We discover the cave and its surroundings from his viewpoint, listening to his reactions. From the matter-of-fact account a sense of awe arises. "The hand of the spirit is painting. The man is a part of the spirit". Herzog is amazed at the 5000 year difference between the oldest and the newest drawings, engravings and paintings in the cave. "We are looking at the abyss of time".

Our screenings were sold out, there was a high intensity in the reaction of the audience, and there was an applause after the movie. People were amused at Herzog's omniscient narration.

I was struck by the shabby quality of the colour in the beginning of the movie, but the palette was probably adequate to the darkness of the cave. The cave drawings, engravings and paintings look stunning in the movie. The 2K 3D projection fails to project the solidness of the mountains and the vitality of nature. But it is strong enough to convey the spirituality of the cave images. I had to sit on the very first row in the sold-out cinema, and the screen filled my field of vision perfectly. I had no problem with the 3D even from that seat.

The drawings, engravings and paintings (the images are mostly drawings) depict almost nothing else but animals. Among the animals represented are the mammoth, the horse, the aurochs, the bison, the megaceros, the reindeer, other cervidae, the cave lion, the panther, other felines, the rhinoceros, the cave bear, the owl, the cave hyena, and the ibex; and there are also butterfly- and beetle- or spider-like signs. There are also abstract markings (lines, dots) (perhaps pointillistic animals, partly erased). There are no full human figures, but there red hand prints and stencils. Towards the end of the cave area there is an image of the pubic triangle next to a feline figure, opposite to which there is a panel of two vulvas. The oldest marks on the wall are claw marks of cave bears. Humans never lived in the Chauvet cave. It had been an animal cave, and there are a lot of bones of many different animals, several of them of extinct species, on the floor. There are no human bones there.

Fascinated by the movie I re-read a favourite book of mine, Arnold Hauser's The Social History of Art, which starts on page one with Paleolithic cave drawings, engravings and paintings. Hauser is struck by the magisterial naturalism of the cave images and the ability of the early image-makers to convey fleeting gestures in the manner of the best impressionists. The images were created by tribes of hunters who were good observers with sharp eyes and whose senses were totally directed outwards to concrete reality. Judging by the high quality of the images Hauser writes that they were not made by dilettanti but by trained professionals.

The images were not made to be seen but to exist. They were not made for aesthetic communication or decoration because they were drawn and painted in hard-to-find caves and hidden in their darkest corners. They had a magical function. The artist-magician captured the spirit, the soul, of the animal in the image for hunting purposes. The magic view of the world was monistic, sensualistic, concrete, centred on the life of this world, portraying things true to life and reality.

Werner Herzog has made his film about cave images that are at least 10.000 years older than the ones that Arnold Hauser could study, but Hauser's points seem valid also with the Chauvet cave. There is also a palimpsest quality (images on top of each other although there is plenty of room on the cave walls) that seems to confirm that these images were not meant to be displayed. There are doubled lines for legs to express movement like in the paintings of Giacomo Balla. There were no figures of hunters or weapons on these walls.

Supreme value was given to magic images that were not meant to be seen and that even we may now also only see via reproductions.

The movie is proof that talent for great art (although the concept did not exist 30.000 years ago) is innate to humans. The official Chauvet website linked above is worth visiting as a complement to this movie of lasting value.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christmas Holiday

Robert Siodmak: Christmas Holiday (US 1944) starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.

US 1944. PC: Universal. A Universal Studios print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Robert Siodmak's film noir cycle), 27 March 2012.

I have already blogged about my 1998 viewing of Christmas Holiday, and it was now rewarding to revisit it in the context of a Siodmak noir retrospective, a revelation of which is how different his films noirs are from each other.

Deanna Durbin was a superstar at Universal Studios, hugely popular as a singer and a girl next door type in light entertainment movies. Tired of being stereotyped, Deanna Durbin welcomed Christmas Holiday, a film noir about deranged love, as her personal favourite film.

The story is about a Christmas midnight mass meeting of two people profoundly disillusioned in love. Ltn. Charles Mason (Dean Harens), about to fly to San Francisco on Christmas Eve to get married, gets a telegram from his fiancée announcing that she has just been married to another man (an instance of cinema's obsession with the cancelled wedding).

Jackie Lamont / Abigail Manette has survived a traumatic marriage to the pathological liar, gambler, robber, murderer and convict Robert Manette (Gene Kelly). Thanks to the Production Code Administration Charles and Jackie's meeting place in New Orleans has been turned into a nightclub (in W. Somerset Maugham's novel, it was a brothel), and Jackie into a dancing hostess (in the novel, she was a prostitute).

Gene Kelly is memorable in the only sinister role in his career. Deanna Durbin has turned Southern Gothic, and the shock is comparable to what Helena Bonham Carter did with her original wholesome persona long ago. Gladys George is convincing as Valerie de Merode, owner of the nightclub.

There are touches of Expressionism but also of Surrealism in the juxtaposition of the nightclub and the midnight mass and in the ending influenced by Un chien andalou: the Liebestod to the strains of Wagner, the night clouds parting as the final image.

The print viewed was fair to good; in my recollection the NFTVA print seen in 1998 was brilliant.

Forthcoming: War and Peace (1965-1967) in 70 mm

Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (FR 1927) is being shown to great acclaim in the USA in the definitive Kevin Brownlow - Carl Davis version. On the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's campaign to Russia we in Helsinki are screening a rare long 70 mm version of War and Peace (SU 1965-1967)  based on Leo Tolstoy's classic novel. The most shattering sequence of the movie is dedicated to the biggest battle of Napoleon's wars, the battle of Borodino, followed by the fire of Moscow.

There is a historical Helsinki connection: 200 years ago the little fishing port of Helsinki was elevated to the status of the capital of the grand duchy of Finland, which had just been annexed to the Russian Empire as a part of Napoleon's deals with the kingdom of Sweden.

Six years in the making (1962-1967), shot on 168 locations, and with a cast of 120.000, War and Peace, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk who also plays the central role of Pierre Bezukhov, may still be the most expensive movie of all times.

War and Peace is a conventional illustrated classic with redeeming features. The performances of the actors are sophisticated, and the battle sequences are unforgettaby magnificent. The epic, majestic camera movements and the long takes from the helicopter, moving through clouds to witness giant armies clash against each other in the heat of combat have to be seen to be believed. The vision of the chaos of the forces of destruction and the underlying order unfathomable to the warlords contributes cinematic insights to Tolstoy's philosophy of history.

In the digital age such battles are being created in the computer, in War and Peace the soldiers are real. It was shot to be experienced on a 70 mm cinema screen which only can do full justice to its epic vision. There is a unique sense of solidness and fine detail in a good 70 mm image.

We screen it with three breaks. The movie is in Russian with electronic subtitles in Finnish.

[Update 9 April 2012: the version on display was after all the standard Finnish theatrical version of 362 min / 6 hours 2 minutes.]

Bio Rex, Helsinki, Easter Sunday, 8 April, joint ticket 15 E for all four parts
15.00 War and Peace 1: Andrei Bolkonsky (SU 1966)
War and Peace 2: Natasha Rostova (SU 1966)
War and Peace 3: The Year 1812 (SU 1967)
War and Peace 4: Pierre Bezukhov (SU 1967)
23.00 approximately: ending of the show.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Phantom Lady

Aavenainen / Döden kan ej vittna. US © 1944 Universal. P: Joan Harrison. D: Robert Siodmak. SC: Bernard C. Schoenfeld - based on the novel (1942) by William Irish (= Cornell Woolrich). DP: Elwood Bredell. AD: John B. Goodman, Robert Clatworthy. M dir: Hans J. Salter. Song: ”Chick-Ee-Chick” (comp. Jaques Press, lyr. Eddie Cherkose – perf. Aurora Miranda). Choreo: Lester Horton. ED: Arthur Hilton. C: Franchot Tone (Jack Marlow), Ella Raines (Carol "Kansas" Richman), Alan Curtis (Scott Henderson), Aurora Miranda (Estela Monteiro), Thomas Gomez (inspector Burgess), Fay Helm (Ann Terry), Elisha Cook, Jr. (Cliff March, drummer), Andrew Tombes (Mack the bartender), Regis Toomey (detective chewing gum), Joseph Crehan (detective Tom), Doris Lloyd (Miss Kettisha, hat designer), Virginia Brissac (Dr. Chase, Ann Terry's psychiatrist), Milburn Stone (D.A. [voice]). 2350 m / 87 min. A Universal studios print viewed at Cinema Orion (Robert Siodmak's film noir cycle), Helsinki, 25 March, 2012

There is a new kind of bite, a more personal and profound tone in this movie that launched the greatest period in Robert Siodmak's long career. There is a murder mystery but also an even more compelling dimension about alienation and disappointment. It's evident already in the meeting of the two strangers in the bar. In a medium shot we see the troubled faces of "the phantom lady" Ann Terry (Fay Helm) and Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) about to be accused of the murder of his wife. Nobody admits having seen the lady in the company of Scott who loses his alibi and gets so totally depressed that he loses his fighting spirit in death row. But his secretary Kansas never gives up, and she becomes the second phantom lady of the movie, solving the mystery against all odds: the witnesses who had at first denied having seen the phantom lady are now being eliminated one by one. The Hawksian discovery Ella Raines carries the picture. She was good with John Wayne, too, in Tall in the Saddle.

The anthology piece of the movie, the jazz cellar sequence with Elisha Cook, Jr.'s drum solo, has lost none of its power. There are memorable visual touches based on reduction. A trial scene where we see only the reactions of the audience. A subway station scene where we don't see the train. The final prison meeting where the characters are reduced to shadows. There is a continuity in the "phantom" approach of such solutions.

This is a film noir about a desperate experience, but the counterforce is Kansas, whose love and trust are unconditional and who will never give up even when the innocently accused man himself has given up hope. There is a personal sense of humour and satire in the movie, and a droll sense of vitality.

A high contrast print from a source far removed from the original camera negative. An experience visually probably more stark and graphic than intended.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stefan Drössler: The History of 3D (a lecture show)

140 min. 2K DCP, 3D XpanD. Cinema Orion, Helsinki (3D), 24 March 2012.

Stefan Drössler opened our first 3D retrospective with his already legendary lecture show which he presented for the first time in the FIAF Tokyo Congress in 2007. I saw it then and was already impressed, and now the lecture show has grown and expanded a lot. The 2K digital reformatting of 12 different historical 3D systems or formats has been very successfully realized.

The contents included: - How does 3D work? - Paper prints, FR 1900s (mildly erotic). - The unintentional 3D impact of Georges Méliès movies which were shot on a double camera which produced two negatives with the proper angle difference (Le Chaudron infernal [FR 1903], L'Oracle de Delphes [FR 1903]). - Max Skladanowsky: Plastische Weltbilder, DE 1900s. - Louis Lumière 1935: L'Arrivée d'un train 3D, FR 1935, Mother and baby 3D, FR 1935, A beach scene with playing children 3D, FR 1935. - The 1936 Paris programme around L'Ami de monsieur, FR 1936, the first 3D sound movie: L'Ami de monsieur outtake, ski scene on a hill slope. - Raumbilder: the Berlin Olympics, DE 1936, running, cycling. - 6 Mädels rollen ins Wochenend, DE 1939. - 3D military films of WWII (DE 1940s). - Boehner Film after WWII: Volkswagen commercials, Oktoberfest commercial, DE 1950s. - In Russia: many experiments with Stereokino, the first 3D feature films. Aleksandr Andriyevsky: Robinson Crusoe / Robinzon Kruzo (SU 1946), a 3D masterpiece according to Sergei Eisenstein. - Hungary: Plasztikus Films. Allatkerti seta (A Walk in the Zoo), HU 1950s, Felix Bodrossy. - The Festival of Britain, South Bank Exhibition, Telekinema, 3D Technicolor, GB 1951. Norman McLaren: Now Is the Time, CA 1951 *. The Festival of Britain show toured internationally and probably inspired the 3D wave of Hollywood in the 1950s. Bwana Devil was stupid but made a lot of money. - It Came from Outer Space trailer (US 1953). - Dial M for Murder (US 1954). - Inferno (US 1953). - Walt Disney: Melody (US 1953) *. The Creature from the Black Lagoon was the last in this wave. - 70 mm film could be used for a dual 3D image. Stereokino 70. In the USSR, Parad attraktsionov (SU 1960s) still by Aleksandr Andrieyevsky. - USA: Stereovision, anamorphic, mainly for sex movies. The Stewardesses (US 1970) with psychedelic layers. - Space vision for Flesh for Frankenstein, Jaws 3D, etc. Arch Oboler was still at it with The Bubble (US 1966) with its visions of a strange town with hovering beer trays. - Spacevision 2 was in use in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Spain, France, and India. Dynasty / Qian dao wan li zhu (TW/HK 1977). - With the digital era, dimensionalization became possible for movies shot in 2D. Even of classical paintings 3D versions have been attempted. - John Lasseter: Knick Knack (US 1989)* - Resident Evil: Afterlife (DE/FR/US 2010). - U2 3D (US 2007, D: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington), one of the best 3D movies). - Pina (DE/FR/GB 2011).

Stefan listed his 3D favourites: U2 3D, Coraline, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Some artists have a sense for space. Why didn't Roman Polanski shoot Carnage in 3D like Hitchcock did in Dial M for Murder? Digital 3D was meant to be unique for the cinema experience, but big movies are dependent on tv and other money-making windows, and 3D cinema tickets are felt to be too expensive.

Bonus extracts from The French Line (US 1953): Jane Russell in the big production numbers "Any Gal From Texas" and "Looking For Trouble", sexy and humoristic, with a sense of play (yet not reaching the level of the wit and style of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).

One of the best film historical lecture shows I have seen. There was a lot of interesting information not to be found in film history books or even well-known databases. Technically it worked very well. My favourite samples were of the animations of Norman McLaren (Now Is the Time), Walt Disney (Melody), and John Lasseter (Knick Knack).

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Suspect

Sinun ei pidä… / Du skall icke… [in Finland] / Misstänkt [in Sweden]. US © 1945 Universal Pictures Co., Inc. First screened: San Francisco 22.12.1944, released: 26.1.1945. [EX: Howard Benedict.] P: Islin Auster. D: Robert Siodmak. Asst. D: William Tummel. SC: Bertram Millhauser – adaptation: Arthur T. Horman – based on James Ronald's novel This Way Out (1939). DP: Paul Ivano. [2nd camera: William Dodds.] AD: James B. Goodman, Martin Obzina. Set dec: Russell A. Gausman, E. R. Robinson. Cost: Vera West. M: Frank Skinner. S: Bernard B. Brown (director of sound) – Charles Carroll (sound technical) – Ronald K. Pierce (re-recording and effects mixer) – Western Electric Recording. ED: Arthur Hilton. C: Charles Laughton (Philip Marshall), Ella Raines (Mary Gray), Dean Harens (John Marshall), Stanley C. Ridges (inspector Huxley), Henry Daniell (Gilbert Simmons), Rosalind Ivan (Cora Marshall), Molly Lamont (Edith Simmons), Raymond Severn (Merridow), Eve Amber (Sybil), Maude Eburne (Mrs. Packer), Clifford Brooke (Packer). Helsinki premiere: 29.11.1946 Bio-Bio, dist: Oy Filmiseppo – PCA 10564 – VET 26500 – K16 – 7653 ft / 85 min. A Universal Studios print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Robert Siodmak's film noir cycle), 23 March 2012

A character-driven movie about a mild-mannered, middle-aged tobacco-shop owner named Philip Marshall (Charles Laughton) chained in a loveless marriage. His grown-up son moves away from home, and Philip starts to see the lovely young Mary (Ella Raines). Although "nothing" happens and they discontinue their friendship, Philip's wife makes devastating threats on Christmas Eve. After the murder Philip is blackmailed by his wife-beating neighbour (Henry Daniell). This subtle crime story is dominated and distinguished by a superb performance by Charles Laughton.

According to the Production Code Administration no crime could go unpunished in a movie, but the screenwriter Bertram Millhauser, the director Robert Siodmak and Charles Laughton have created an open ending satisfactory both to the demands of the PCA and the artistic integrity of the movie.

Jacques Lourcelles has written that The Suspect is a special suspense thriller because the suspense is of an essentially moral character, not so much related to the external action of the story.

Matti Salo, on the other hand, pays attention to the highlight of the story, the surprise party scene during which Philip Marshall has to play the generous host while the corpse of the blackmailer lies hidden behind the sofa. Matti Salo sees this powerful sequence as a predecessor to Hitchcock's Rope.

Ella Raines was the inspiration, the breath of fresh air, in three Robert Siodmak movies (Phantom Lady, The Suspect, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry). She does not get very much to do in The Suspect, but her very presence is enough to convince us that Philip may want to risk everything to start a new life.

The brilliance of Paul Ivano's cinematography was evident in much of the print, but at times the definition of light seemed to be on autopilot, low contrast shots alternating with brilliant ones.

Sketches of Frank Gehry

Hahmotelmia Frank Gehrystä. US/DE © 2006 Mirage Enterprises / SP Architecture Productions LLC. Series: American Masters. EX: Susan Lacy, Sydney Pollack, Hiro Yamagata, Maya Hoffmann, Stanley F. Buchthal. P: Ultan Guilfoyle. D: Sydney Pollack. DP: Marcus Birsel, Claudio Rocha, George Tiffin. Video photography: Sydney Pollack, Ultan Guilfoyle. M: Claes Nystrom, Jonas Sorman. S: Jon Oh. ED: Karen Schmeer. Research: Heidi Druckemiller, Hope Hall.
    Featuring: Frank O. Gehry, Michael Eisner, Bob Geldof, Dennis Hopper, Philip Johnson, Sydney Pollack, Eddie Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Chuck Arnoldi, Mildred Friedman, Michael Ovitz, Craig Webb, Charles Jencks, Jim Glymph, Svenn Neumann, Edwin Chan, Tim Paulson, Thomas Krens (Director, Guggenheim Foundation), Rolf Fehlbaum, Milton Wexler (Gehry's analyst), Norman Rosenthal, Juan Ignacio Vidarte (Director, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao), Nerea Abasolo, Hal Foster, Herbert Muschamp, Peter Lewis, Esa-Pekka Salonen. 83 min.
    A 35 mm print from Fortissimo viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Cinema and Architecture), 23 March 2012

Works on display:
Spiller Residence – 1979, Venice, California
Norton Residence – 1984, Venice, California
Wynton Guest House – 1987, Wayzata, Minnesota
Sirmai Peterson Residence – 1988, Thousand Oaks, California
Vitra Furniture Museum – 1989, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Disney Ice – 1995, Anaheim, California
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – 1997, Bilbao, Spain
Richard Serra, Snake – 1997
Gehry fish lamps – 1980s
Fish – 1992, Barcelona, Spain
O’Neill Hay Barn – 1968, San Juan Capistrano, California
Davis Residence – 1972, Malibu, California
Gehry Residence – 1978, Santa Monica, California
Studies for the Lewis mansion, 1991-1995
Maggie’s Place – 2002, Dundee, Scotland
Walt Disney Concert Hall – 2003, Los Angeles, California
DG Bank – 2001, Berlin, Germany

Sydney Pollack's last movie and his only documentary is a great movie on architecture and a fine study of an artist by a fellow artist and friend. Pollack had privileged access with his video camera to Gehry's creative process. The buildings and their enviroments and several interviews were shot on glorious 35 mm.

Topical in Finland because of the hotly debated project to establish a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki. I think it should be done in a spirit of good networking with the Finnish art scene and strengthening the art route from Saint Petersburg (Eremitage) to Helsinki, Stockholm (Moderna Museet), and Denmark (Louisiana).

Pollack and Gehry shared the dilemma of personal expression in a field that makes stringent commercial demands.

"Talent is liquified trouble". Gehry tells candidly of his difficult path. He has even had a therapy of 35 years with Milton Wexler to learn to understand himself better.

Gehry tells that Alvar Aalto was his greatest inspiration in his student years. There is a quick, beautiful Alvar Aalto montage emphasizing the Gehry connection.

The movie is Jewish relevant. Because of anti-semitism Frank Goldberg had to develop a fighting spirit.

"If you go back why stop at the Greek. Go to the fish." "The most important influence is the client". "By the time I get to the building I don't like it". "A building is like one of my children".

I like the playful score by Claes Nystrom and Jonas Sorman.

The visual centerpiece of the movie is Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Made primarily for tv, this movie on architecture works ideally on a cinema screen

The 35 mm print does justice to the visual beauty of the cinematography.

The Style History of Cinema and Architecture from Art Nouveau to Post-Modernism (a lecture)

My lecture in the series "Cinema and Architecture" organized by the Film Society of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) / Academy of Finland / a World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 event at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 23 March 2012.

Introduction: Alvar Aalto and the cinema - Aalto was the soul of the first Finnish film society, Projektio (1934-1936)
Introduction: style periods of architecture during the film age in Helsinki and its surroundings
1. Art nouveau, Jugend, national romanticism
2. Expressionism
3. Constructivism, Futurism, machine romanticism, montage
4. Art Deco
5. Modernism, Functionalism, Brutalism
Excursion: Jacques Tati - in Mon Oncle and Play Time architecture is the clown
6. Totalitarianism
7. Post-modernism
8. High tech
The movie to follow the lecture: Sketches of Frank Gehry

Books on architecture and the cinema

Some books I read preparing my lecture on the style history of architecture and the cinema:

Kirmo Mikkola, Timo Keinänen, Marja-Riitta Norri (ed.): Funkis. Suomi nykyaikaa etsimässä / Der Durchbruch der Moderne in Finnland. Pekka Suhonen among the writers. 3. revised edition. Helsinki: Grafitex, 1985.

Göran Schildt: Nykyaika. Alvar Aallon tutustuminen funktionalismiin / Moderna tider. Alvar Aaltos möte med funktionalismen / Alvar Aalto: The Decisive Years. Translated from Swedish by Raija Mattila. Helsinki: Otava, 1985.

Donald Albrecht: Designing Dreams. Modern Architecture in the Movies. London: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

Charles Jencks: The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (First edition 1977). The Sixth Edition. New York: Rizzoli, 1991.

Dietrich Neumann (ed.): Film Architecture: Set Designs from Metropolis to Blade Runner. Munich - New York: Prestel, 1996.

Mikael Sundman (ed.): Elokuva ja arkkitehtuuri [Cinema and Architecture]. Helsinki: Edita, 1996. With contributions from Markku Komonen, Mikael Sundman, Peter von Bagh, Juhani Pallasmaa, Antti Ahlava, Jaakko Ylinen, Joona Tena, Kari Salminen, Henry Bacon, Juha Ilonen, Jouko Koskinen, Sirpa Tani, Putte Wilhelmsson, Sven Hirn, and Timo Keinänen (on Cinema Orion).

François Penz, Maureen Thomas (ed.): Cinema & Architecture. Méliès, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia. London: British Film Institute, 1997.

Bevis Hillier: The Style of the Century (First Edition 1983). Second Edition. New Chapter by Kate McIntyre. London: The Herbert Press / A & C Black (Publishers) Limited, 1998.

Bob Fear (guest ed.): Architecture + Film II. London: Architectural Design Vol 70, No 1, January 2000.

Juhani Pallasmaa: The Architecture of Image. Existential Space in Cinema. Helsinki: Rakennustieto, 2001.

Jean-Pierre Berthomé: Le Décor au cinéma. Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 2003.

Kenneth Frampton: Modern Architecture. A Critical History (First edition 1980). Fourth edition, revised, expanded and updated. London: Thames & Hudson (World of Art), 2007.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Metropolis (2010 restoration) (live cinema event: RSO Helsinki, Frank Strobel)

DE 1927. PC: Ufa. D: Fritz Lang. 147 min

The 2010 restored version (Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung / Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin), restored by Martin Koerber, Anke Wilkening, and Frank Strobel.

Live cinema concert at Helsinki Music Centre, 16 March 2012 (Finnish premiere of the Gottfried Huppertz music played live, Helsinki premiere of the 2010 restored version of Metropolis).

The movie was projected on 35 mm, and the Finnish subtitles were by Marjukka Eronen.

The Gottfried Huppertz score was conducted by Frank Strobel, who made the arrangement to the 2010 restoration of Metropolis. The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Finland played at the strength of 80 players.

A dream come true: since over 20 years we have tried to convince the decision-makers of the Helsinki concert scene to arrange a Metropolis live concert with the original music, and now it was finally realized, thanks to the RSO Finland and Tuula Sarotie.

I have seen Metropolis with perhaps 15 different music solutions, but ever since I saw Metropolis with the original score in the Metropolis Centenary of the Cinema concert during the 1995 Berlinale at Konzerthaus Berlin: Schauspielhaus am Gendarmenmarkt, Berndt Heller conducting his own 1988 arrangement performed by Filmorchester Babelsberg, it has been the only true Metropolis music for me. A memorable feature of that powerful concert was the experience of "the Metropolis organ". A recurrent, punctuating motif of Metropolis is the image of the factory sirens, and the concurrent sound is from the thundering magnificent organ playing at full blast, making the house rock, letting us feel the pressure of the air, and making the chairs tremble. An effect like in a rock concert, but totally justified in Metropolis, which is about the day of judgement.

My number two favourite music for Metropolis is Die Mensch-Maschine by Kraftwerk (1978), and I find certain passages and solutions in Giorgio Moroder's 1984 Metropolis restoration excellent. I also agree with Moroder that colour is necessary for Metropolis. Certain scenes and images are meant to be tinted and toned.

Hosted by Olli Alho, Strobel talked about Metropolis and its music for 40 minutes before the concert. Strobel reflected on the fact that a traditional late Romantic music style was selected for the futuristic movie, although there were also avantgarde composers available. But he stated that even for today's science fiction films a similar traditional late Romantic style is often selected.

I had seen Strobel conduct the 2010 restoration of Metropolis in Bologna, and I found the experience the best ever of Metropolis for me.

This RSO performance at Helsinki Music Centre was musically even better. A great concert hall is the ideal place for music (the Bologna performance was at the city square). Strobel arranged the music and participated in the restoration based on the 1028 synchronization points of the original score. Now he told that he has as many as 2000 synchronization points in the arrangement. The image and the music fit perfectly and powerfully. Minor comments: 100 players would be justified for the great crescendo and climax effects. There is for the moment no real organ at the Helsinki Music Centre, and the substitute solution failed to create the awesome, thundering impact needed. The Metropolis score has a great dynamic range, and everything else worked like in a dream.

The music critic Lauri Otonkoski wrote an interesting review on the concert, published in Helsingin Sanomat on 18 March 2012. He comments that as uninhibitedly as Lang swarms us with references to myths and creeds, as openly Huppertz refers eclectically to historical layers of European music history. According to Otonkoski, the Huppertz score is a single compendium of stylistic references, challenging the listener to a constant effort to recognize Wagner, Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mendelssohn, and Puccini references. Finally Otonkoski was deeply impressed by the powerful Gesamtkunstwerk created by Lang and Huppertz.

Myself, a layman in the world of music, clearly recognized only the Gregorian hymn "Dies irae" / "The Day of Wrath" (from the 13th century, and still included in the official Finnish Lutheran psalm book: "Vihan päivä kauhistava"), which is about the Day of Judgment, and which links Fritz Lang's movie to the later works of Dreyer (Vredens dag / The Day of Wrath) and Kubrick (The Shining begins with a Wendy Carlos synthetizator arrangement of it). It would be interesting to read a full account of the music references of Metropolis.

Metropolis the movie is an architectonic vision, and so is the music: it is meant to build in space, and especially the Metropolis / Babel main theme with its rising stair impact works ideally in a big concert hall. It is great that the Helsinki Music Center has taken such ambitious work in its programme. The visual circumstances of the film projection are not yet ideal (the presentation did not pay justice to the vision of Fritz Lang and his fellow artists), but everybody is looking forward to improvements in the next future.

Cinema and Psyche 7: The Tree of Life (a symposium)

Arranged by Suomen Psykoanalyyttinen Yhdistys / The Finnish Psychoanalytic Association, Helsingin Psykoterapiaseura / The Helsinki Society of Psychotherapy, and National Audiovisual Archive (Finland).

Friday, 16 March, 2012
08.55 Opening: Antti Alanen
09.00 Movie: Kenji Mizoguchi: Ugetsu monogatari (1953), 97 min
11.00 Introduction: Riitta Tähkä – discussion, chair: Aune Raitasalo
12.00 Lunch break
13.30 Introduction: Susanna Välimäki: The Tree of Life – Its World of Music – discussion, chair: Christel Airas
14.30 Coffee break
15.00 Movie: Darren Aronofsky: Black Swan (2010), 108 min
17.00 Introduction: Riitta Kellosalo – discussion, chair: Anne Eronen
18.00 Evening party: Dubrovnik

Saturday, 17 March, 2012
08.45 Movie: Lars von Trier: Dancer in the Dark (2000), 140 min
11.05 Introduction: Eija Repo – discussion, chair: Vesa Manninen
12.00 Lunch break
13.30 Movie: Peter von Bagh: Sodankylä Forever: The Longing of the First Cinema Experience (2010), 60 min
14.30 Introduction: Peter von Bagh: Movies Look at Our Childhood – discussion, chair: Antti Alanen
15.30 Coffee break
16.00 Movie: Carlos Saura: Bodas de sangre / Blood Wedding (1981), 72 min
17.20 Introduction: Henrik Enckell – discussion, chair: Aune Raitasalo

Elokuva ja psyyke 3: Tarinan lumous / [Cinema and Psyche 3: The Enchantment of the Tale] (a book)

Helsinki: Minerva, 2012.

Today, on the occasion of our seventh Cinema and Psyche symposium, a third book with the same title was published, its title inspired by Bruno Bettelheim's classic The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1975), the Finnish title of which is Satujen lumous [The Enchantment of the Fairy-Tales]. We cover some of the oldest tales (One Thousand and One Nights, Beauty and the Beast) and enter the Twilight era of contemporary vampires.


Peter von Bagh: Movies Look at Our Childhood
Víctor Erice: La Morte Rouge

Riitta Tähkä: Face to Face - Reflections on The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky
Juha Siltanen: 10 and 1 Paths into Pasolini's Garden: Asides on Pier Paolo Pasolini's Movie One Thousand and One Nights
Christel Airas: The Beauty and the Beast
Riitta Kellosalo: Black Swan
Maria Häkkinen: Harry Potter and the Riddle of the Sphinx
Jukka Tervo: A Rebel without a Cause - In Search of the Father
Susanna Välimäki: Moments of Choice - Existential and Psychoanalytic Listening to The Hours

Mikael Enckell: Nosferatu
Aune Raitasalo: On Vampires
Outi Hakola: Vampires of a New Generation: the Revolution of the Romantic Vampire

Antti Alanen: Four Letters from an Unknown Woman (Abel, Stahl, Leminen, Ophuls)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sodankylä Forever 1-4

Sodankylä ikuisesti: Elokuvan vuosisata / A Century of the Cinema, Ensimmäisen elokuvamuiston kaiho / The Longing of the First Cinema Memory, Ikuinen aika / Eternal Time, Valon draama / A Drama of Light. FI 2010–2011. PC: Nosferatu Oy / Bufo Film Production Company. P: Ilkka Mertsola, Mark Lwoff. D+SC: Peter von Bagh. DP: Arto Kaivanto. S: Martti Turunen. ED: Petteri Evilampi. 270 min. Screening format: Digital Betacam. A dvd viewed at home, 12--15 March, 2012

A Century of the Cinema: Milos Forman, Marlen Khutsiev, Robert Parrish, Ettore Scola, Jacques Demy, Samuel Fuller, Mario Monicelli, Elia Suleiman, Youssef Chahine, Francis Ford Coppola, John Sayles, Amos Gitai, John Boorman, Michael Powell, Freddie Francis, Roy Ward Baker, Val Guest, Joseph H. Lewis, Claude Sautet, Sergio Sollima, Vittorio De Seta, Miklós Jancsó, Andrei Konchalovsky, Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrei Smirnov, István Szabó, Ivan Passer, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Francesco Rosi, Dino Risi, Victor Erice, Dušan Makavajev, Krzysztof Zanussi, Richard Fleischer, André De Toth, Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Aleksei Guerman, Agnieszka Holland, Bob Rafelson, Jonathan Demme.

The Longing of the First Cinema Memory: Maud Linder, Jean Dréville, Roy Ward Baker, Francesco Rosi, Costa-Gavras, Claude Goretta, Victor Erice, Vincent Sherman, Val Guest, Jean Rouch, Dino Risi, Jerry Schatzberg, Bob Rafelson, Wim Wenders, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Stanley Donen, Andrei Konchalovsky, Francis Ford Coppola, Irvin Kershner, Richard Fleischer, Emir Kusturica, Claude Chabrol, Agnès Varda, István Szabó, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jacques Demy, Terry Gilliam, John Boorman, Milos Forman, Manoel de Oliveira.

And many other directors in the two other parts of the movie.

Every morning for 25 years at the Midnight Sun Film Festival Peter von Bagh has interviewed masters of the world cinema at length. The interviews have been video-recorded, they have been published in extenso in the Filmihullu magazine, and a book has been published on them, also called Sodankylä ikuisesti / Sodankylä Forever.

Continuing themes emerge. A historical view where the WWII is a central common experience. Some directors are fatherless as a consequence of the war or the persecution by Hitler and Stalin. The festival started during the glasnost period in Eastern Europe, and the fall of the wall happened early on during its existence. Russian and Eastern European artists from Kieslowski to Khutsiev commented openly on experiences of tyranny, censorship, and stagnation. A great Italian panorama from the era of liberation and reconstruction till the end of the golden age in the 1970s emerges from the interviews. A special continuum is about the Roger Corman school with Demme, Sayles, Coppola... and Corman, himself. Certain directors (Maud Linder, Jean Dréville, Robert Parrish) hark back to first hand experiences with masters of the silent era. There is also a continuum of the masters of Iranian cinema, including Kiarostami, Panahi, and the Makhmalbaf family. The first question is always "what was the first movie you saw", and a definitive reaction was by Víctor Erice, leading ten years later to his movie La Morte Rouge.

This mosaic is a unique introduction into the history of the cinema, shot during the white nights of Lapland when the sun never sets, by the river Kitinen, the flow of which is a central visual motif. Most of these discussions I have experienced first hand, taking extended notes, and reading the full transcripts in the Filmihullu magazine. For me they are primary, but these four movies with the commentary by Peter von Bagh make new connections and offer new insights. In an atmosphere of unconditional respect the artists have often revealed something of the innermost, secret sources of their creativity. This set of movies is a valuable record for world culture.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Books on my coffee table

1. Thomas Elsaesser: Metropolis. BFI Film Classics. London: BFI Publishing, 2000. In anticipation of the first Helsinki screening of the 2010 restoration and the first Finnish live performance of the original score for a cinema orchestra: written before the two most recent reconstructions of Metropolis, the book is still very much worth reading. The most impressive insight is Elsaesser's comment on Fritz Lang's attitude in Metropolis of "a kind of relativising 'knowledge' about itself" which has granted Metropolis immunity to ridicule and made it feel actually more contemporary since the 1980s than it was in the 1920s.

2. Fritz Langs Metropolis. Herausgegeben von der Deutschen Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen. München: Belleville / Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, 2010. In the center of this impressive coffee table book is the account of Martin Koerber, Anke Wilkening and Frank Strobel on the 2010 reconstruction of Metropolis. The magnificent book has 600 illustrations of stills, posters, photographs, sketches, musical notes, etc.

3. John Kerr: A Most Dangerous Method. The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein (1993). Read in the edition of: New York: Random House: Vintage Books, 2011. Read as a companion to David Cronenberg's movie, this is a critical study about the early years of psychoanalysis. Freud credited Spielrein as the inspiration for his introduction of "the death drive" in the expanded version of psychoanalysis, but Kerr reports that Freud's reading of Spielrein was based on a misunderstanding. In Kerr's opinion Jung and Spielrein had a passionate relationship after Spielrein's cure from hysteria, but it was not a sex relationship in the contemporary sense, although the first impression from their correspondence would imply so. The sex scenes in Cronenberg's film are based on imagination.

4. Seppo Konttinen: Suomalainen ruokalasku [The Finnish Grocery Bill]. Helsinki: Siltala, 2011. An exposé about the Finnish cartel of the grocery retail scene where two big chains, the K chain and the S chain have achieved a situation where Finns pay 20% more for groceries than other Europeans, yet producers get less, often so little that they barely survive. The Finnish system is also based on a tight system of collaboration with politicians on the national and municipal levels. Under scrutiny are also issues of food quality and environmental responsibility.

5. Laura Gustafsson: Huorasatu [A Whore Fairy-Tale]. Helsinki: Into, 2011. One of the six candidates for the acclaimed Finlandia Prize last year, all by women authors. I failed to connect with the outburst of gross carnality and I failed to detect a literary quality in the flow of words.

6. Tommy Hellsten: Virtahepo työpaikalla [A Rhinoceros at the Workplace] (1998). Helsinki: Kirjapaja, 2007. Reread a Finnish classic of workplace psychology: what happens for instance when there is an alcoholic at the workplace. Everybody denies any problem, everybody looks the other way, others take over neglected tasks, bypasses are created to avoid confronting the situtation, temporary arrangements are introduced, and a real structure besides the nominal one is established to do things. Having read the 2007 edition I learned there is an even newer one from 2012.

7. Kirsti Ekonen, Sanna Turoma (ed.): Venäläisen kirjallisuuden historia [A History of Russian Literature]. Helsinki: Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press, 2011. A magnificent overview from the era of the bylina to the present day. No tradition of literature is more profound than the Russian one. For a man of the cinema this book is full of cinema connections, from Ilya Muromets to Solzhenitsyn. There is also a bias of political correctness: women authors of easy reading are highlighted but male authors of similar genres are justly forgotten. The bias is so blatant that there is little harm done.

8. Martti Anhava: Romua rakkauden valtatiellä: Arto Mellerin elämä [Junk on the Highway of Love: The Life of Arto Melleri]. Helsinki: Otava, 2011. Martti Anhava was the editor and a friend of the poet Arto Melleri (1956-2005). Anhava has done the ultimate service to his friend by editing Melleri's collected poems (2005) and prose (2010) and now publishing a third sizeable volume, on Melleri's life. Melleri's notebooks and correspondence play a big part in this book and they are its major raison d'être: Anhava has rescued Melleri's remarks (often poetic, often witty) for us to study. As a biography it's warts and all about a poet who lived and died the rock dream. There is no idealization, no glorification, and no sensation, either, although Melleri's life during his last years was tabloid stuff. We get the facts of life and sense Anhava's unconditional respect for the poetic talent of a tormented friend. This volume belongs to the highest rank of literary biographies. Cinema was always important for Melleri, the book is full of evidence about it, and Anhava has also published a special essay on Melleri and the cinema (Filmihullu 1/2011).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Erik Enroth (exhibition)

Exhibition Erik Enroth 11.2. – 6.5.2012, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere. Paintings, watercolours, drawings. Viewed on 10 March, 2012.

The official presentation: "This year (2012) will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Sara Hildén Art Foundation. In 1962, Sara Hildén donated the works of art that she owned to the foundation that was named after her. The core of the collection was composed of the early works (from the period 1945–1963) of the painter Erik Enroth (1917–1975). The gala year thus opens with an extensive retrospective exhibition of Erik Enroth's work, which will be on display from 11 February to 6 May 2012. The Sara Hildén Art Museum has previously held exhibitions of his work, in 1980 and 1985. In addition, the painter's early works were shown in a small exhibition in 1991. The collection of the Sara Hildén Foundation comprises about 4600 works, in addition to which it received as a legacy about 3600 works belonging to the art collection of the graphic artist Pentti Kaskipuro. The foundation's collection contains 537 works by Erik Enroth. In connection with the exhibition, the Sara Hildén Art Museum will publish a catalogue dealing extensively with Enroth's oeuvre with contributions by Ulla Vihanta, Otso Kantokorpi, Jyrki Siukonen and Tomi Moisio."

"Finland’s postwar efforts to get the country back on its feet inspired Erik Enroth to paint workers and factories. These depictions emphasize the rigour of the work and the physical efforts of the workers. Erik Enroth married Sara Hildén in 1949. He had a studio in the Commerce building on Central Square, and he used local motifs such as factory scenes and cityscapes in his works. Enroth made several ink drawings of the factory halls on the Tampella site and the workers in them. He used these drawings as sketches for his paintings. Among the other local Tampere subjects that he used were scenes from the Pyynikki district, Tampella Power Station and the Old Church on Central Square."

"Erik Enroth's idiom has been described as expressionist and cubist. Motifs that were close to him, such as depictions of factories and workers, urban scenes, landscapes, portraits, still lifes and, scenes from the circus and sporting events are recurrent themes in his oeuvre. Enroth was an extremely productive artist, and he was capable of spending several years on a single work. He travelled a lot, including trips to Spain and the United States. In Spain, Enroth was captivated not only by the mountain scenery but also by the local culture, and he was inspired to paint flamenco dancers, bullfights and Spanish harvesters."

"In his still life paintings, Enroth repeatedly used the motif of the ox skull; sometimes it is bloody and brutal, while in other paintings it has worn to a delicate pale yellow. Enroth was fascinated by death as the antithesis of the carnal and vigorous nature of life. The numerous paintings that Enroth made with a circus motif in the 1940s and 1950s constitute a particularly interesting group in his oeuvre. In his paintings of the circus milieu, Enroth emphasizes the dark side of the entertainment world, the harlequin worn out by hard work."

The Sara Hildén collection was important for me during my student days in Tampere in the 1970s. I started to frequent it when it was still situated in provisory circumstances at the Hatanpään kartano (Hatanpää Manor), and it was a great event when the Sara Hildén Art Museum was opened in 1979 in a beautiful location by the Näsijärvi Lake next to the Näsinneula scenic tower. The building itself, designed by the Pekka Ilveskoski company, a work of art in its own right, was perfect for the permanent exhibition of the Sara Hildén collection.

There it was possible to examine the Sara Hildén's collection of Picasso, Bonnard, Léger, Klee, Miró, de Chirico, Giacometti, Dubuffet, Vasarely, Segal, and Christo. Prominently displayed were Henry Moore's Reclining Mother and Child and Edward Kienholz's The Tadpole Piano Pool with Woman Affixed Also. I now realize that the Hildén collection and the permanent exhibition were a great pedagogic opportunity to experience masterpieces of 20th century art (even large-sized works) first-hand. The mise-en-scène and the lighting arrangement of the museum were excellent.

The artist best represented in the Sara Hildén collection was of course Erik Enroth, who had been Hildén's husband. I saw the first Erik Enroth exhibition at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in 1980, and now I saw the current exhibition. Many of the works I remembered, but there are also many new discoveries. There is a special section on Enroth's work in the intelligence department of the military forces during WWII. But the main sections are of Enroth's bold, vigorous, virile works of the physical world of factories, working men, sportsmen, circus people, acrobats, and dancers, and landscapes of strong colours, including even Monument Valley famous from John Ford's Westerns. Enroth travelled a lot, reported on the modern art scene of the 1950s in the US, published collections of poems, and designed book cover art for instance for Lauri Viita's Betonimylläri [The Concrete Mixer]. Enroth is often close to Expressionism, and he is often influenced by Picasso, but I like best his almost abstract work when he lets himself be led by pure colour.

I like the way the paintings have been hung and the lighting design at the museum. A few paintings have been covered with glass which I now find irritating. I'm watching everything in a new way now trying to adjust to the digital transition in cinemas. I appreciate the naked surface of the oil paintings more.

I had been looking forward to see something else from the Sara Hildén permanent collection, too, but all the main spaces have been dedicated to Erik Enroth. In the café there is a pleasant collection of design and small size art (Rut Bryk, Birger Kaipiainen, Hannu Väisänen), and the museum is surrounded by a sculpture park, impressive even in the middle of the snow and partly covered by it (Harry Kivijärvi, Kimmo Pyykkö, Hannu Siren, etc) - and the welcome exhibit is Rauni Liukko's life-size installation sculpture Ruuhkaratikka / Rush Hour Tram.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Saara Cantell: Cinematic Diamonds (dissertation)

Saara Cantell: Cinematic Diamonds. Narrative Storytelling Strategies in Short Fiction Film. (Translated from the Finnish-language dissertation, Timantiksi tiivistetty, 2011, by Fleur Jeremiah). With a dvd with five shorts (Diagnoosi / Diagnosis, Mahdollisuus / What If, Potretti / Portrait, Vaihtoehto / Alternative, Tiistai, päivävuoro / Waiting for Alice) and the Kohtaamisia / Heartbeats trailer. Helsinki: Aalto University / School of Arts, Design and Architecture / Department of Motion Picture, Television and Production Design, 2012.

Aalto University book publication party at Tampere Film Festival, Finlayson Area, Plevna, The Finnish Labour Museum, Werstas Auditorium, 9 March 2012. In the presence of Saara Cantell and Richard Raskin, among others.

The short film format has always been central in the history of the cinema. During the first 20-25 years (depending on which year is selected as the birthyear) it was dominant; in comedy it was dominant for 30-35 years. According to Saara Cantell there is not much research on the short film format, and not even consensus on the definition. For Cantell the duration of a short film is under 15 minutes, also a Cannes criterion. For Tampere, Nordisk Panorama, and Oberhausen it is under 35 min, for the Academy Awards and the BBC Short Film Festival 40 min, and for Cracow, Brest, and Uppsala under 60 min.

Cantell focuses on fiction where the main distinction is, following Raskin, between the narrative (story-driven) and the experimental (image-driven) cinema.

Cantell also focuses on the modern short film, which starts with Roman Polanski's Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958), "the first modern short film" (Raskin).

Two main points of reference are the joke and the poem. Cantell follows these reference points seriously: the sense of incongruity on which jokes are often based, and showing the familiar as something new, which is an essential characteristic of a poem. The metaphor is a key device in both poetry and the short film. But, most importantly, both poetry and the short film are forms of condensation. At its best, a short film can approach the crystallization of a haiku by Basho with qualities such as karum (lightness, domesticity, earthiness, ordinariness), shior (bending, emotional tension), hosomi (the smallness experienced by man in the world), wabi (loneliness, desolation, plainness), and sabi (a concrete atmosphere of desolation and loneliness).

Of her own short films Cantell analyzes motifs such as the mirror. Waiting for Alice is a fantasy about a mirror image's life separated from the person reflected. In What If the estranged protagonist sees an old woman disappear into a mirror.

Having seen Cantell's five short films of under 15 minutes earlier today I was struck that they have no dialogue and they have all a pantomime nature, a musical quality, and a dancing structure, mostly based on modern dance performances. Only the 28 minutes long Peilikirkas päivä / A Clear Winter's Day [literal translation: A Mirror Clear Day] had dialogue.

Härlig är jorden / World of Glory (Roy Andersson, SE 1991) 16 min
Maggie (Rodrigo Garcia, US 2005) 11 min
Surprise! (Veit Helmer, DE 1995) 6 min
Matka / A Journey (Pirjo Hokkanen, FI 1983) 9 min
Szél / Wind (Marcell Iványi, HU 1996) 6 min
Naturlige briller / Natural Glasses (Jens Lien, NO 2001) 2 min
Out of Place (Ellen-Astri Lundby, NO 2001) 2 min
Kom / Come (Marianne Olsen Ulrichsen, NO 1995) 5 min
Dwaj ludzie z szafa / Two Men and a Wardrobe (Roman Polanski, PL 1958) 15 min
Merci! (Christine Rabette, BG 2002) 8 min
Le Cheval 2.1 (Stephen Scott-Hayward, Alex Kirkland, GB 2003) 2 min
Alt i alt / All in All (Torbjørn Skårild, NO 2003) 4 min

Saara Cantell (Tampere Film Festival Tribute)

Tampere Film Festival, Hällä, 9 March 2012.

Introduced by Saara Cantell who commented on two recurrent features in her shorts. Dancing is central. Her movies are not dance movies but narrative movies where dancing is a way of expression. Mirrors are important. The following descriptions are from the festival catalogue.

Finland | Suomi 1995
Fiction | 20 min | 16mm | b&w
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell
Animation: Tarja Väätänen, Petri Rossi
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Sami Konkonen
Editing: Saara Cantell
Music: Olli Koskelin
Production: TAIK/ETL/Marko Rauhala
A sad and slightly surrealist comedy of love.

Finland | Suomi 2002
Fiction | 5 min | Beta | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell, Päivi Pakkanen
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Kimmo Saarelainen
Editing: Tommi Karvinen
Music: Anssi Laiho
Production: POEM/Jetta Huttunen
Elena is sitting in the Doctor's clinic waiting for the test results, with mixed feelings.

Finland | Suomi 2003
Fiction | 5 min | 35mm | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell, Paula Tuovinen
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Pekka Karjalainen
Editing: Saara Cantell, Kimmo Taavila
Music: Pekka Karjalainen
Production: Periferia Productions Oy/Outi Rousu
Even after a 30-year marriage, there is still room for new photographs in the family album.

Finland | Suomi 2005
Fiction | 8 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Sami Konkonen
Editing: Aino Pitkäjärvi, Saara Cantell
Music: Sid Hille
Production: Periferia Productions Oy
What if, on a most depressing day, a new opportunity revealed itself?

Finland | Suomi 2005
Fiction | 6 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell
Cinematography: Henrik Leppälä
Sound: Sami Konkonen
Editing: Aini Pitkäjärvi, Saara Cantell
Production: Making Movies oy
On the other side of the mirror, someone appears to be waiting in vain.

Finland | Suomi 1997
Fiction | 28 min | 35mm | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Sami Konkonen
Editing: Tuuli Kuittinen
Music: Johanna Schnabel-Lehtinen
Production: Kinotar oy/Lasse Saarinen
An old man gets lost when looking for a post office. Every time he turns around a corner he ends up in the same small café. The owner of the café is building an ice sculpture for the woman he adores.

AA: A fine, consistent, poetic set of six movies. The choreographer is Paula Tuovinen. The movies are speechless and wordless except A Clear Winter's Day which is not very dialogue-driven either. There is an original sense of humour in these films. [Shattered] is a story of a triangle situation between a man and two women; the tensions are expressed via dancing. Diagnosis, starring Leena Gustavson, dramatizes variations of potential diagnoses via pantomime, special effects, and a musical production number. Portait is an account on the situation of taking a 30th anniversary portrait of a married couple, starring Mirja Tukiainen and Turo Mustakallio, full of fantasy visions based on special choreography. What if, starring Saila Heinikoski, is a series of visions of the life situation of a female office clerk who sees a magic mirror. Waiting for Alice, starring Meri Nenonen as a woman and her reflection, is the most enigmatic of the set, a condensed set of images that seem mysterious at least on a first viewing. A Clear Winter's Day is a poetic story of two men (Ismo Kallio, Tommi Korpela) and their dreams of women (Saara Pakkasvirta, Jatta Lukkari). The window / mirror theme appears now in the iced dangers of the wintry streets and the questions of the proper care of café windows in cold weather. It's a story of seeing.

Saara Cantell's poetic side is at its most pronounced in these short movies.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Austria, Switzerland | Itävalta, Sveitsi 1998
Documentary | 90 min | DCP | col.
Director: Michael Glawogger
Script: Michael Glawogger
Cinematography: Wolfgang Thaler
Sound: Ekkehart Baumung
Editing: Andrea Wagner
Production: Lotus Film/Erich Lackner, Fama/Rolf Schmid
2K DCP viewed at Tampere Film Festival, Plevna 2, 8 March 2012.

Festival programme note: "Bombay, Mexico City, Moscow, New York: seductive yet repellent monsters. The contradiction insinuates itself into the daily lives of those who populate these megacities. The film’s twelve chapters tell the tales of people struggling to survive with ingenuity, intelligence and dignity. And they all share a single fantasy: the dream of a better life. Megacities is a film about work, poverty, violence, love and sex. A film about the beauty of people."

Introduced by Michael Glawogger who told that Tampere is the first place where his globalization trilogy is being shown in its whole. Close to midnight I was too tired to honestly appreciate Glawogger's brutal view about life in the metropolis of today. I have to try to see the trilogy another time.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Tampere Film Festival Opening

Tullikamari, Tampere, 7 March 2012.

Live Sand Animation © is the idea, and the creation of Ferenc Cakó. He created the unique Live Sand Animation Show in 1996. - AA: A fascinating live animation show projected live. Ferenc Cakó is a master who continues in the tradition of Winsor McCay's chalk talks and other wizards of lightning sketches.

Estonia | Viro 2010
Fiction | 15 min | DVD | col.
Director: Anu Aun
Script: Anu Aun
Cinematography: Mart Taniel
Sound: Horret Kuus
Editing: Margo Siimon
Music: Jaagup Roomet
Production: Margo Siimon, Laura Talvet, Luxfilm
When Miina, apparently wealthy woman is caught shoplifting, a female police officer Mare treats her with obvious contempt. Also, Mare is disturbed by the fact that her male colleague seems to feel sorry for the beautiful thief. She considers Miina as a rival and decides to teach her a lesson. - AA: Vigorous characterization and storytelling with undercurrents about class and sex discrimination.

Portugal | Portugali 2009
Fiction | 6 min | 35 mm | col.
Director: Nuno Rocha
Script: Nuno Rocha
Cinematography: Nuno Rocha
Sound: Nuno Rocha
Editing: Nuno Rocha
Production: Nuno Rocha
A night watchman spends the time in a basketball court throwing a ball into the basket. He has become an expert. His ego rises when he shows his abilities to a simple cleaning employee, who also like him, is there all night. - AA: A comedy where the skinny cleaner beats the athletic watchman through his mathematical skills.

Finland | Suomi 2003
Fiction | 5 min | 35mm | col.
Director: Saara Cantell
Script: Saara Cantell, Paula Tuovinen
Cinematography: Rauno Ronkainen
Sound: Pekka Karjalainen
Editing: Saara Cantell, Kimmo Taavila
Music: Pekka Karjalainen
Production: Periferia Productions Oy/Outi Rousu
Even after a 30-year marriage, there is still room for new photographs in the family album. - AA: An original perspective to a long term relationship realized via dance choreography and pantomime at the photographer's studio.

Austria | Itävalta 2005
Experimental | 15 min | Beta | b&w
Director: Mara Mattuschka, Chris Haring
Cinematography: Josef Nermuth
Editing: Mara Mattuschka
Music: Glim
A performance of transformation, a transformance, changes its medium and encounters a camera, which plays dance music under the secret eye of a room that bends and twists along with it. - AA: a stark performance art video.

Sweden | Ruotsi 2011
Animation | 13 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Johannes Nyholm
Script: Johannes Nyholm
Animation: Johannes Nyholm
Cinematography: Johannes Nyholm
Sound:Johannes Nyholm
Music: Björn Olsson, Goyo Ramos
Editing: Johannes Nyholm
Production: Johannes Nyholm
A middle-aged lady on a holiday in the sun tries to make new friends and have a good time. The role is played by a one year old girl, the rest of the cast are marionette puppets. - AA: a parodistic summer holiday animation with one live performer (the one year old baby) amongst the dolls.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tampere Film Festival 2012: National Competition

Ville Suhonen: Jäämarssi – Suomen matkaopas 1941–42 / Frozen Hell – Prisoners of War in Finland 1941–42 (FI 2011).

This year's edition of Tampere Film Festival, the oldest film festival in Finland, starts tomorrow. The complete official name is Tampere 42nd International Short Film Festival. Last year I focused on the national competition and was so happy with what I saw that I plan to follow the same strategy again. I copy below the official programme notes and will add my remarks having watched the films.

National Competition 1
Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 85 min | Blu-ray | col., b&w
Director: Ville Suhonen
Script: Ville Suhonen
Cinematography: Pekka Uotila
Sound: Kirka Sainio
Editing: Tuuli Kuittinen
Music: Ville Suhonen
Production: Illume oy / Venla Hellstedt
There were tens of thousands Soviet Red Army prisoners who were captured by Finnish forces during the Second World War. One third of the prisoners died in the POW camps. Most of the archives were destroyed and most of war crimes were never revealed. - AA: A powerful account of Russian prisoners in Finland during WWII with information and footage published for the first time. There is also a larger theme about the history of white Finland from 1918 until 1946 with special focus on Lennart Oesch, Juuso Walden, Eljas Erkko, Petter Forsström, Eino Suolahti, and Eero Nero. Archives were systematically destroyed, but Suhonen has done his best to reconstruct his account from the available documents. There are also some dramatizations including the march on the ice, itself, mentioned in the Finnish title of the movie.

National Competition 2
Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 76 min | DCP | col., b&w
Director: Jouko Aaltonen
Script: Jouko Aaltonen, Rauno Lahtinen, Olli Vesala
Cinematography: Pekka Aine
Sound: Martti Turunen
Editing: Tuula Mehtonen
Music: Markku Kopisto
Production: Illume oy / Jouko Aaltonen
Battle for the City is a documentary film about the change in cityscape. It deals with corruption and malpractice that has happened in the past. It also follows the present-day activists and squatters. To whom does the built space belong to? - AA: I have already written about this distinguished documentary last year when it was theatrically released.

National Competition 3
Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 45 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Janne Tanskanen
Script: Janne Tanskanen
Animation: Janne Tanskanen
Cinematography: Janne Tanskanen
Sound: Janne Tanskanen
Editing: Janne Tanskanen
Music: Janne Tanskanen
Production: Pohjois-Karjalan Ammattikorkeakoulu
Sk8 or Die is a story about a group of skateboarders in Joensuu, Finland in the 1990's. The aggressive use of suburban environment, DIY-mentality, music, arts and anti-racism were the aspects that defined this group. - AA: A funny, rough, and rocking account of a special skateboarding scene with varying sets of imagery and a before-after dramaturgy. Talkative and personality-focused.

Finland, Rwanda | Suomi, Ruanda 2011
Documentary | 45 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Iris Olsson, Yves Niyongabo
Script: Iris Olsson, Yves Niyongabo
Cinematography: Iris Olsson
Sound: Toni Teivaala, Kimmo Vänttinen
Editing: Oskari Korenius, Iris Olsson
Music: Toni Teivaala
Production: Nordic Film Pool Ltd / Claes Olsson
Burden of My Heart is a documentary film about life in Rwanda today, 16 years after the genocide. Everyone who survived have found a way to from one day to another, carrying the burden of living. - AA: A wise and shocking account with first-person testimonies and a full view of many aspects of society, including the church, the school, song festivals - and bone-identifying centers. The cinematography stresses the beauty of the country where the horror took place.

National Competition 4
Finland, Denmark | Suomi, Tanska 2011
Documentary | 78 min | DCP | col.
Director: Katja Gauriloff
Script: Katja Gauriloff, Joonas Berghäll, Jarkko T. Laine
Cinematography: Heikki Färm, Tuomo Hutri
Sound: Peter Albrechtsen
Editing: Timo Peltola
Music: Karsten Fundal
Production: Oktober Oy / Joonas Berghäll
A film about workers and their dreams on the journey of a canned food product. The film follows one can on its unbelievable 35,000 kilometer journey from the ore mines of Brazil, through several countries, ending up on a shelf in a Finnish grocery store. - AA: This top documentary I have discussed in January when it was theatrically released.

National Competition 5
Finland | Suomi 2012
Documentary | 86 min | DCP | col.
Director: Jukka Kärkkäinen, J-P Passi
Script: Jukka Kärkkäinen, Sami Jahnukainen, J-P Passi
Cinematography: J-P Passi
Sound: Antti Haikkonen
Editing: Riitta Poikselkä
Production: Mouka Filmi Oy / Sami Jahnukainen
Four disabled guys form the World's last punk-rock band. They might not conquer the World, but they will achieve something more important – and they will certainly make a fuss. - AA: An impressive and incredible documentary on the punk rock band of the disabled. There are the usual features of a rockumentary (training, tour life, giving a concert, visiting the Reeperbahn, even attending to the Independence Day celebration of the President of the Republic), but everything is given a new, completely different perspective.

National Competition 6
Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 96 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Hanna Maylett
Script: Hanna Maylett
Cinematography: Jyri Hakala, Hanna Maylett
Sound: Janne Laine
Editing: Tuula Mehtonen
Music: Sonja Salmenkallio
Production: Avanton Productions Oy / Sonja Lindén
A beggar in a praying position raises a lot of strong emotions: guilt, rage, sympathy, frustration. The majority of people walk by, but there is always someone who wants to help. - AA: The director Hanna Maylett exposes herself in trying to get deeper into the question of Romany beggars. There had been no beggar question in Finland for many decades until Romania became a member of the EU and Romany beggars started to appear regularly, partly voluntarily, partly transported by organized crime.

National Competition 7
Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 86 min | DCP | col., b&w
Director: Kimmo Koskela
Script: Kimmo Koskela
Cinematography: Kimmo Koskela
Sound: Heikki Savolainen
Editing: Kimmo Koskela, Jani Jahlstedt, Akke Eklund
Music: Kimmo Pohjonen
Production: Koskela Art & Media House / Kimmo Koskela, Klaus Heydemann
In the chilling, opening sequence of Soundbreaker – documentary feature on Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen – the bellows-wielding artist is first seen skating across a frozen lake, and then dropping through it! - AA: A visually ambitious and special music documentary on the accordion artist Kimmo Pohjonen. The ensembles on display include the Kronos Quartet, Earth Machine Music, Accordion Wrestling, K Cube, Kimmo Pohjonen Kluster, and KTU. The locations include Oulujärvi, Tanzania, Antwerpen, Noux, and Helsinki. - Kimmo Pohjonen's mentor Heikki Laitinen makes an appearance, and central is the visit to Tanzania where Kimmo Pohjonen connected deeply with the musician Hukwe Zawose. - Visually bold and stylish, a movie of permanent value.

National Competition 8
Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 17 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Lauri-Matti Parppei
Script: Lauri-Matti Parppei
Cinematography: Mikko Parttimaa
Sound: Joel Kinnunen, Lauri-Matti Parppei
Editing: Dimitri Okulov
Music: Lauri-Matti Parppei
Production: Kaakao Filmi / Marja Pihlaja, Jenny Priiki, Anna Alkiomaa
A girl meets a boy. - AA: Story of a modern relationship between students. Original with interesting performances by Kaisa-Leena Koskenkorva and Samu Soini.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 8 min | DVD | col.
Director: Aleksi Salmenperä
Script: Pekko Pesonen
Cinematography: Heikki Färm
Sound: Tuomas Klaavo
Editing: Jussi Rautaniemi
Production: Helsinki-filmi Oy / Aleksi Bardy
A few years ago 16 year old girl claimed that two men kidnapped her and made her sit in the icecold stream for an hour. Policemen doubted the story and desided to reconstruct the situation again. This is the story of policemen in the icecold stream. - AA: A comedy where top actors interpret the story that was well-known in Finnish tabloids. The precise account of police procedure turns comic.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 13 min | DCP | col.
Director: Kari Juusonen
Script: Kari Juusonen, Leo Viirret
Animation: Kari Juusonen
Cinematography: Kari Juusonen
Sound: Kirka Sainio
Editing: Kimmo Kohtamäki
Music: Maka Lahtinen
Production: Vanilla Production Oy / Juha Vanhanen
Innocent diver finds his paradise – an islet in the middle of endless sea. When guarding his kingdom he turns into ruthless tyrant. - AA: Digital animation, professional look, allegorical aspects about power and domination.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 6 min | DVD | col.
Director: Dimitri Okulov
Cinematography: Mikko Parttimaa
Music: Devin Townsend
Production: Dimitri Okulov
A short film about dying. - AA: Parallel images of several characters including an old woman on her deathbed, a sword-swallower spitting blood, etc. A movie of associations and no explanations

Finland | Suomi 2012
Experimental | 11 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Anssi Kasitonni
Script: Anssi Kasitonni
Cinematography: Anssi Kasitonni, Ville Pirinen
Sound: Anssi Kasitonni
Editing: Anssi Kasitonni
Music: Anssi Kasitonni
Production: Anssi Kasitonni
An unexpected love awaits a lonely US Air Force pilot on the planet of female warriors, castration robots and lizard creatures. The action switches from the blackness of space to the surface of the desert planet. - AA: Experimental, parodistic science fiction with do-it-yourself effects, animation, and a musical number.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 8 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Sanni Lahtinen
Script: Sanni Lahtinen
Animation: Sanni Lahtinen
Cinematography: Sanni Lahtinen
Sound: Lucas Pedersen
Editing: Sanni Lahtinen
Music: Anita Lahtinen
Production: Turku AMK / Eija Saarinen
What is there for a chest to do when a little mischievous guest messes up her drawers? - AA: object animation with surprising associations about real materials in surrealistic circumstances.

Finland | Suomi 2012
Documentary | 29 min | DigiBeta | col., b&w
Director: Pia Andell
Script: Pia Andell
Animation: Jan Andersson
Cinematography: Pekka Uotila
Sound: Kirsi Korhonen
Editing: Antony Bentley
Music: Janne Laine, Timo Hietala
Production: Of Course My Films / Pia Andell
A young girl meets an old man in a tram in Helsinki, Finland. He has a story to tell. Of his childhood and youth in Lodz and in Auschwitz. And then she has a story to tell. - AA: The old man is Mayer Franck, an actual Auschwitz survivor with a number tattooed in his wrist. The movie is a first hand testimony to a child of today. In 1940, Mayer was 11, of the same age as the girl (Maissi Heikkilä) is now. He was taken to a fur factory. His father starved to death. There were 250.000 people in the ghetto. Mayer broke a window and escaped into a sewer pipe. When he returned home, there was nothing left, and nobody ever returned. Follows a story of hiding, getting caught, and getting deported via train. "Here everybody goes to heaven". The place was called Auschwitz. Arbeitslager, 1944. Next to the train children were lying and crying. Mayer was ordered to go to the right side. In the evening, there was the shower and physical inspection. "You're so thin." New striped clothes were given. Taken to the barracks, "hinlegen", sleeping on the floor, work every day. Every day people were picked and taken away. Mayer used to pinch his cheeks to make himself look healthier, to stand on his toes to look taller. One day he was selected. A German company had bought the boys to work for them. They were referred to by their numbers only. Mayer's hands were swollen and infected. A doctor saved his life by pre-warning him of an inspection. He taken to Auschwitz, and when the Russians were coming, they were transported again, and at night he managed to hide deep in the hay and find a shelter with old people at a farmhouse. When the war was over Mayer returned to Lodz, but there was nobody left. Back at the fur factory, his classmate's mother's brother from Helsinki came to look for his relatives and took Mayer, then 18, to Finland.

National Competition 9
Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 8 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Joni Männistö
Script: Joni Männistö
Animation: Joni Männistö
Sound: Lucas Pedersen
Editing: Joni Männistö
Music: The World Mänkeri Orchestra
Production: Turku AMK / Eija Saarinen
A child discovers life inside a dead bird and starts to play with it. - AA: Priit Pärn style animation. Theme: infant brutality. Horror turn: infant devoured by insects, birds of prey hovering on the sky

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 10 min | DVD | col.
Director: Mikko Aliranta
Script: Mikko Aliranta
Cinematography: Tanja Heikkilä
Sound: Kai Hall
Editing: Antero Suurnäkki
Production: Metropolia AMK / Taina Tervo
A short documentary following the everyday of three people at a service centre in Helsinki: Marjut the cleaner and Enska and Ari the homeless. - AA: An inside story of the homeless at the Hietaniemi center for the homeless, with voiceover subjective commentary in the beginning, but mostly recording facts. There are ca 3000 homeless in Helsinki.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 11 min | DCP | col.
Director: Jan Andersson, Katja Kettu
Script: Katja Kettu, Jan Andersson
Cinematography: Antti Takkunen
Sound: Pirkko Tiitinen
Editing: Jan Andersson
Music: Eero Turkka, Mamo Ensemble
Production: Indie Films Oy / Tomi Riionheimo
The mangel is a male and an angel who falls from the heaven and in love with a tree… - AA: Poetic, Gothic object and digital animation with dark fantasy, birds of prey, creatures of the night, rich visuals, bold colour, ecological currents. Poem by Katja Kettu, narrator Hannu Nurmio.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 26 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Paula Korva
Script: Paula Korva, Hanna Kuirinlahti
Cinematography: Marianne Lagus
Sound: Pinja Mäki
Editing: Hanna Kuirinlahti
Production: Aalto-yliopisto / Paula Korva
Brothers Ingvar and Stig Palmén run a small grocery store in the suburbs of Helsinki. The store has persisted through six decades but is now faced with fierce competition from huge hypermarkets. The film explores how daily groceries reform our cities. - AA: Starts with an interview of Kalle Kaihari who brought the hypermarket to Finland. Focuses on the small Palmén store who fights the trend of the age. But the nearby store is probably the new trend. The pricing of the hypermarkets can make it impossible for the nearby stores to survive. A documentary with a grim sense of humour.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Experimental | 2 min | DVD | col.
Director: Juha Van Ingen
Sound: Juha Van Ingen
Editing: Juha Van Ingen
Timmy come home is a rhythmical -reconstruction of the opening scene of Lassie. - AA: experimental found footage loop movie, a play on our faculties of observation, with a hypnotic suggestive force.

Finland | Suomi 2012
Fiction | 31 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Mikko Myllylahti
Script: Mikko Myllylahti
Cinematography: Juice Huhtala
Sound: Jussi Rantala
Editing: Antti Jääskeläinen
Music: Antti Tuomivaara
Production: Aalto-yliopisto / Paula Pitkänen
Young man loses his job as a recruiter at the network marketing hoax. Forced to the streets from his employers quarters he encounters a young girl, an outcast who has recently lost her mother and moves in her shabby flat just to get through the worst. - AA: A story of utter marginalization and homelessness starring Martti Kaartinen, Sinna Virtanen, and Heikki "Konkari" Nyyssönen. A "time bank" hoax proposal involved in the beginning, promises of special services in "personnel hire" are frustrated, there is something Dostoyevskyan in the young strange blonde girl.

National Competition 10
Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 3 min | Blu-ray | col.
Director: Reetta Aalto
Script: Reetta Aalto
Cinematography: Jarkko Virtanen
Sound: Mika Niinimaa
Editing: Reetta Aalto
Production: Aalto-yliopisto / Ilkka Mertsola
A little film about two girls and loyalty when one of them suddenly decides to go for a ride with a stranger for money. - AA: A vignette of an evening in town, elliptic, it could have been you.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 9 min | DigiBeta | col., b&w
Director: Elina Hyvärinen
Script: Elina Hyvärinen
Sound: Elina Hyvärinen
Editing: Helena Öst, Elina Hyvärinen
Production: Kookos Films, Aalto-yliopisto / Elina Hyvärinen
A poetic short film about giving birth. Becoming a mother is anything but painless. For some, reaching the state of utter happiness takes longer than for others. The film is based on archive footage. - AA: Subjective voiceover commentary of a young woman expecting a baby, with black and white footage from Finnish movies (Roland af Hällström?), and poetic nature imagery.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 16 min | DVD | col.
Director: Annika Martikainen
Cinematography: Janne Riikonen
Sound: Matias Hakala
Editing: Janne Riikonen, Annika Martikainen
Music: Janne Riikonen
Production: Turku AMK / Johanna Ailio
Demi is a 23-year-old hairdresser, who cuts hair for free at the Veikko Hursti's breadline. The documentary discusses the connection between poverty and appearance, and it gives voice to the deprived women: they want to blend in so they wouldn't be stared at. - AA: "If you are broke, you don't have to look like it". Demi gets a kick in doing favours to people who have nothing. The Veikko Hursti breadline is famous in Finland for helping people who have lost everything.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 9 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Katja Niemi
Script: Katja Niemi
Animation: Kari Pieskä
Cinematography: Eemi Lehto
Sound: Aleksi Tegel
Editing: Pietari Syväjärvi
Music: Alejandro Pedregal
Production: Turku AMK / Outi Hyytinen
The forest is dark and scary. Julia is left behind by her friends, who don`t want to play with her. Julia finds a dead crow, who`s telling her something. The other children also want to have a look at the crow, but Julia won`t give it away without a fight. A fatal accident happens, and then there are only two girls left. Julia sees her opportunity and takes it. - AA: A strong tension in a story about aggression among little girls, with a feeling for the forest.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 10 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Tatu Pohjavirta, Mark Ståhle
Script: Tatu Pohjavirta, Mark Ståhle
Animation: Tatu Pohjavirta, Mark Ståhle
Sound: Salla Hämäläinen
Music: Petri Mattila
Production: Camera Cagliostro / Jyrki Kaipainen
A fragile saleswoman and a huge workman fall in love, but their physical differences cause problems. - AA: An apocalyptic cartoon animation with a sense of caricature, a limited style, a grotesque and violent approach, and a dark worldview. Not for children.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 18 min | DCP | col.
Director: Jussi Hiltunen
Script: Jussi Hiltunen
Cinematography: JP Passi
Sound: Pietu Korhonen
Editing: Jussi Rautaniemi
Music: Tapani Siirtola
Production: Making Movies Oy / Kaarle Aho
A shooting incident takes place in a small town in Northern Finland. Two witnesses have to cope with sorrow and guilt. - AA: A girl gets to witness the shooting of Laura her sister. The killer approaches her car and shoots himself in the head. She goes to visit a crisis worker. There is a powerful tension in the movie. There is a violent aftermath in front of the bar in front of which Laura had to wait.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 4 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Heta Bilaletdin
Animation: Heta Bilaletdin
Music: Heta Bilaletdin
Production: Turku AMK / Eija Saarinen
After a long day at work Rosy Cheek is exhausted and in a bad mood. Story about the monotonous rhythm of the city, a cup of coffee and some wicked music. - AA: Stylized animation, dark, wry, grotesque observations, Priit Pärn influences.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 13 min | DVD | col.
Director: Tuukka Harala
Script: Tuukka Harala
Cinematography: Tuukka Harala
Sound: Kalle Wahlberg
Editing: Kim Haldin
Music: Organ
Production: Metropolia AMK / Tuukka Harala
In 1982, the Helsinki-based band Organ released its first and till now their only album. Thirty years later, the electronic music group considers its next move. - AA: A funny music documentary with "early" electronic pop music from the album Nekrofiilis.

National Competition 11
Finland | Suomi 2011
Experimental | 5 min | DCP | col.
Director: PV Lehtinen
Script: PV Lehtinen
Cinematography: Matti Helariutta
Sound: PV Lehtinen
Editing: PV Lehtinen
Music: Rinneradio
Production: Cineparadiso Oy / PV Lehtinen
Krump observes movements of a gymnast on rings. Movements are wild as the sound of a violin – just on the edge of being out of control. These movements are performed by Olli Torkkel, an artist from the well-known contemporary circus Cirque du Soleil. - AA: Incredible and impossible feats in the air (trick photography, qf. Olympia). This could also be called a music short film.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 6 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Niina Suominen
Script: Niina Suominen
Animation: Niina Suominen
Cinematography: Niina Suominen
Sound: Svante Colérus
Editing: Niina Suominen
Music: Tuomas Toiviainen
Production: Niina Suominen
Contact: AV-arkki / Mikko Mällinen
Snapshots of the life of a mannequin in the countryside. - AA: A humoristic stop motion animation based on the incongruosity of the fashion model doll performing countryside routines.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 10 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Sakari Suuronen
Script: Sakari Suuronen
Cinematography: Matti Eerikäinen
Sound: Elias Nieminen
Editing: Jussi Sandhu
Music: Miki Brunou
Production: TAMK / Mikko Helmanen
Contact: Mikko Helmanen
When a serious illness strikes you start to look at life from a new perspective. Do you even want to do the things you've been doing? When the healing begins your old life and values don't seem yours anymore. Change is never too late. - AA: The whole life from birth till today put into perspective by lethal illness. Carried by an interior monologue.

Finland | Suomi 2012
Fiction | 29 min | DCP | col.
Director: Antti Heikki Pesonen
Script: Antti Heikki Pesonen
Cinematography: Aarne Tapola
Sound: Toni Teivaala
Editing: Hanna Kuirinlahti
Music: Antti Pouta
Production: Aalto yliopisto / Tia Kalenius
So it Goes is a story about a working class woman called Elli who has never traveled outside of Finland. She will either get a cruise abroad or love. But not both. - AA: A grim and desolate portrait of a young woman who saves coins to make her first trip abroad. There are dark, sharp characterizations such as the teacher who announces his loneliness via the school radio system, the colleague at the storeroom, and the would-be boyfriend who has been hit on the head.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Animation | 7 min | DVD | col.
Director: Janne Kukkonen
Script: Janne Kukkonen
Animation: Janne Kukkonen
Sound: Janne Kukkonen
Editing: Janne Kukkonen
Music: Pekka Tuppurainen
Production: Turku AMK / Eija Saarinen
Old man stumbles upon a strange stone which reveals the deeper essence of sauna. - AA: Fantasy animation: a stony bearpaw comes alive as a sauna spirit which conjures up a magic stove in the heart of the forest.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Fiction | 7 min | DigiBeta | col.
Director: Selma Vilhunen
Script: Kirsikka Saari
Cinematography: Peter Flinckenberg
Sound: Pietari Koskinen
Editing: Selma Vilhunen
Music: Tuomas Skopa
Production: Tuffi Films Oy / Elli Toivoniemi
A comedy about a chaotic morning in a family with kids, and a mother who is determined that it’s best to take care of everything herself. - AA: A comedy perhaps inspired by Four Weddings and a Funeral: the family comes too late (they believe) to the church, but there is a funeral instead of the expected wedding.

Finland | Suomi 2011
Documentary | 23 min | Blu-ray | col., b&w
Director: Veli Granö
Script: Veli Granö
Animation: Henri Pulla
Cinematography: Veli Granö
Sound: Veli Granö
Editing: Veli Granö
Music: Rued Langgaard
Production: Filemo ky / Veli Granö
A lighting struck Markku Mäkinen's childhood home. A fireball burst from the radio and hurled out of the window. That instant Markku's life was changed. In the brightness of the lightning, the invisible creatures in the room were revealed to him. - This poetic, experimental film draws a parallel between the painter Oscar Parviainen (1880-1938) and the seer Markku Mäkinen who appears as himself. When a fireball struck in his oven in his childhood he started to exist on deeper planes of existence, flow through the forest, and wake up from our big slumber (in his own view) and become a hermit and wanderer of the deep forests (in the view of others). The bright, colourful visions of Oscar Parviainen's paintings, and black and white visions of Markku Mäkinen's boat journey on a forest river are the two contrasting sets of imagery in the movie. There are also special effects visualizations of the fireball.