Thursday, October 04, 2012

Live cinema concert Sotapolulla / [On Warpath]

På krigsstråt. FI 1921. PC: Finn Film Oy. P: Teuvo Pakkala. D: Teuvo Pakkala. SC: Teuvo Pakkala. DP: J.V. Mattila, Erkki Pakkala, Teuvo Pakkala. ED: J.W. Mattila, Teuvo Pakkala. AD: Teuvo Pakkala. C: Yrjö Hirviseppä (guerrilla chief Karunka, ”The White Devil”), Lisi Carén (Eliina, a young heiress), Jorma Vaajakallio (Jorma Aira), Solveig Wohlström (Vappu Aira), Lilly Carèn (a female rebel), Oskari Oka (Jäykkä, chief of the rebels / Kuuro-Paavo, an old fisherman) Bertel Nordenstreng (Jurtta, the commissar), J.V. Leino (Urho Jänisvaara, the mayor), Hannes Seppänen (Pentti, a student). Premiere: 30.1.1922 Kaleva (Mikkeli). Classification: 11480 – S – 1500 m / 18 fps / 66 min. Finnish / Swedish intertitles A KAVA print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Teuvo Pakkala 150 Years), 4 October 2012.

Live cinema concert with music compiled and arranged by Marko Puro (piano) and Toivo Rölser (violin).

Teuvo Pakkala 150th anniversary event arranged by SKS (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura / Finnish Literature Society) - Ulla-Maija Peltonen and Mervi Kantokorpi.

Many members of the Pakkala family were present in this moving and tender cinema concert. Wine was served before the screening because, as the family members declared, "nobody can watch this movie when sober".

The movie is what it is, a single foray into film production by the beloved writer Teuvo Pakkala, a totally misguided endeavor nominally about our terrible Civil War of 1918, but actually a light-hearted adventure movie that completely misses all the essential questions. Many of our best authors were able to deal with the tragedy immediately (Juhani Aho) or very soon (F.E. Sillanpää). In this movie, Teuvo Pakkala could not be farther from them.

Little wonder that the movie never received a Helsinki premiere.

Teuvo Pakkala was famous for his insight in children, and even in a movie such as this the scenes with children are good. The children's world of fantasy, imagination and play was always fascinating for Pakkala.

Ignoring the essence (or the lack of it) in the movie, there are aspects of interest. There are instances of fine cinematography in Sotapolulla. Teuvo Pakkala was a talented photographer, and he clearly had a good eye for composition and lighting.

There is even a logrolling sequence in Sotapolulla. Teuvo Pakkala was the most important founding father of the lumberjack folklore in Finnish culture with his musical play Tukkijoella (Log River, 1899), whose songs have become evergreens, composed by Oskar Merikanto.

The most profound and memorable aspect of the show was the warm, tender and inspired music performance of Marko Puro and Toivo Rolser.

It was also very authentic in the sense of the selections: we know from printed cinema music programmes that the music selections in the 1920s looked like this. The audience was impressed and grateful for the music which transcended the limitations of the movie. And everybody who had decided to stay sober was especially grateful.

The Sotapolulla music programme arranged by Marko Puro:
-Sibelius: Berceuse op. 79/6
-Sibelius: Novellette op. 102/1
-kansansävelmä: Palmusunnuntai (“Minä istun kivellä hiljaa”) [unpublished, written down by Marko Puro, a song of the Reds as heard sung by his grandmother]
-J: Tamm: Kõrs kahiseb
-Kuula: Suojeluskuntien marssi
-Sibelius: Rondino op. 81/2
-Rangström: Den enda stunden
-Sibelius: Tanz-idylle op. 79/5
-O. Merikanto: Käy kirkkomaata illoin vanhat mummot op. 74/3
-Sibelius: Impromptu op. 78/1
-Sibelius: Valse op. 81/3
-Madetoja: Unikuva  op. 14/4
-O. Merikanto: Myrskylintu op. 30/4
-Madetoja: Tanssi op. 14/5
-Sibelius:  Valse Triste op. 44
-Sibelius: Jääkärien marssi op. 91a
-Madetoja. Kansanlaulu op. 44/1
-Kuula: Sanaton laulu op. 22/1
-Kansansävelmä: Pien’ Anna (sov.: Ekman)
-Sibelius: Laulu Ristilukista op. 27/4
-Kansansävelmä: Tuuli se taivutti (sov.: Kuula)
-Madetoja: Suru op. 44/2
-Madetoja: Menuetti op. 44/3
-Sibelius: Romanssi op. 78/2

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