Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nautavaellus / Cattle Roam

FI 1988. PC: Nautavaellus-työryhmä. D: Lasse Naukkarinen. DP: Lasse Naukkarinen, Sakari Rimminen (colour) - 16 mm. Trick photography: Lauri Pitkänen. ED: Tuula Mehtonen. S: Matti Kuortti, Jorma Harjamäki, Tuomo Kattilakoski (mix). Featuring: Miina Äkkijyrkkä. Loc: Pöljä (Siilinjärvi), Kuopio, Helsinki. 28 min. KAVA 35 mm print with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (In the Core of the Documentary 72: The First Documentary Project, Finnish Film Foundation 1988-1989, curated by Ilkka Kippola and Jari Sedergren, introduced by Jari Sedergren), 16 Oct 2013.

Miina Äkkijyrkkä (born 1949) is a Finnish artist, sculptor, and promoter of Finncattle. Every day I pass by her sculpture Peltilehmät / Metal Cows / Sacred Cows at Sörnäisten rantatie. (In Finnish "peltilehmä" = "metal cow" is a synonym for a motor car.) They are bigger-than-life cows sculpted from wrecked cars, with an affinity with Picasso's bulls, but entirely original. At home we have a big Marimekko print of an expressionistic Miina Äkkijyrkkä cow. Somehow her works are always full of life, no matter how wild and stylized they are.

Lasse Naukkarinen's documentary is an account of Miina Äkkijyrkkä's demonstration in the cities of Kuopio and Helsinki to promote Finncattle during a hot summer. Finncattle may not produce as much milk as Ayrshire cattle, but it is a healthy, resilient breed which does not consume much fodder and does not need much medication, so may be all told even strictly economically at least competitive with the more productive breeds.

The movie is a humoristic yet thoughtful study of the determined artist-promoter and the puzzled reactions of all kinds of observers, from policemen to men of the street.

Shot in juicy 16 mm, the blow-up to 35 mm has been conducted very well, and this print belongs to the ones which give today the frisson of glorious photochemical film.

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