Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sanokaa mitä näitte / Tell Me What You Saw

Dokumentin ytimessä 76: Kiti Luostarisen elokuvia.
Sanokaa mitä näitte – erään perheen muistin ja unohduksen historia / Säg mig vad ni såg / Tell Me What You Saw - The History of a Family's Memories and Oblivion [English title on screen] / Tell Us What You Saw / Racontez-moi comment c'était (tv fr.) / Dis-moi ce que tu as vu (Rouen).
    FI 1993. PC: Kinotuotanto Oy / Oy Yleisradio Ab TV1. P: Claes Olsson & Eila Werning.
    D+SC: Kiti Luostarinen. DP: Maija Leppänen. Camera assistant: Kai Troberg. M: Päivi Takala – and Raimo Liukko (music composed under hypnosis). Musicians: Kari Kääriäinen, Outi Pulkkinen, Päivi Takala. ED: Merja Härkönen. Sound image: Harri Pulliainen ja Kaija Takala. S: Harri Pulliainen. S mixing: Veijo Lehti. M sound and mixing: Jukka Viiri. Photos from Kiti Luostarinen's family album. Narrator: Kiti Luostarinen. (In the Swedish version: Susanne Ringell.)
    Featuring: Eija Clarberg, Aili Luostarinen, Anja Luostarinen, Heikki Luostarinen, Kiti Luostarinen, Marja-Leena Rouhiainen, Elina Sandberg, Veera Luostarinen (the little girl), Risto Niiles (hypnologist), Iris Roine (palm reader).
    Helsinki premiere: 8.5.1993 Illusion – telecasts: Yle TV1: 3.10.1993, 18.10.1993, 4.6.2001 (227.000 viewers), 27.8.2003, 9.6.2007, 16.8.2011; YleTeema 27.2.2003 – VET A-27220 – S – 598 m (16 mm) / 55 min
    KAVI 16 mm print [original format] with English subtitles (by Movision) viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (In the Core of the Documentary 76: A Tribute to Kiti Luostarinen), introduced by Ilkka Kippola, 2 April 2014

Ilkka Kippola in his introduction referred to the theme "Kansa taisteli – naiset kertovat" [The People Fought – Women Bear Witness], a pun on a magazine popular during many decades called Kansa taisteli – miehet kertovat [The People Fought – Men Bear Witness] and saw Kiti Luostarinen's first feature film as a representative of feministic empirism.

Kippola analyzed the film critically through three rhetoric modes as seen by Jouko Aaltonen - those based on logos, pathos, and ethos.

Luostarinen's film is a gripping entry in the tradition of documentary film as a way of exorcizing personal traumatic memories which are also profoundly representative of a nation's historical memories. This way of film-making is shatteringly therapeutic, and it has affinities with phototherapy (Jo Spence and Rosy Martin).

There had been predecessors in Finland, for instance the films of Antti Peippo (Sijainen / The Substitute). Also Pirjo Honkasalo and Kanerva Cederström had ventured into these difficult grounds. But Kiti Luostarinen's voice is strong and original, and in Finnish cinema, she belongs to the pioneers in the theme of repressed memories. – Philip Hoffman (Passing Through / Torn Formations / Aikojen halki, 1988) is among the producer's acknowledgements.

There is the mother who used to be a living history book, an excellent storyteller of things past. Now she has dementia. She does not even remember that she has been married, even less that she has seven children. She was born in Vyborg, now in Russia. With her two eldest children they became war refugees. Her second youngest child was drowned.

There are the seven children. Their childhood memories are blatantly incongruent even in major issues. One remembers that the father was violent and beat a child until blood spattered on the newly bought wallpaper. Another remembers that mother was the one who beat children. Yet another remembers that mother was uncommonly gentle and tender.

A basic theme is memory. Without memory you are lost. Memory holds you together. Memory is a necessary condition for personality.

Tell Me What You Saw is a horribly powerful war movie though childhood memories. Hiding from the bomber planes in the woods. The screaming cows whose udders have been stuck in the ice. The bloody corpse of a child who has been smashed against the wall.

Two of the siblings became war children in Sweden and stayed there for five years. Everybody was crying all through the voyage. On return they had forgotten all about their Finnish family, and also the Finnish language. Even later, they forgot Swedish completely. But by the time this film was made several of the siblings had moved to Sweden.

The sister who drowned became the overwhelming, all-encompassing family tragedy, also with aspects of screen memory.

"Of my siblings I remember nothing. The cats I remember all". The emotions were projected into cats. Another screen memory. Because of the oblivion, hypnotists are employed to bring back memories. Surprising things emerge.

"As a child I played with the mirror." "I forgot everything, I was somebody else. I lived in a land beyond the mirror." "The house in the mirrorland was always empty".

Tell Me What You Saw is an expedition into nightmare, into a traumatic past of the family and the nation. It is a poetic therapy voyage. The tone is melancholy, at times reaching depths of depression. The film is like a lament, like a dirge. Kiti Luostarinen's voice and Päivi Takala's music both enhance a profound feeling of melancholia. In this Finnish version many have found that the director is too close to the story, and a professional reader would have been preferred. "Finally, the film brought us closer to one another", the director has stated afterwards.

The film is a very ambitious montage of authentic documentation and illuminating inserts. There are cats and hats. There are illustrative inserts: a lighting strikes a tree, a house burned by lighting, rain, a snowy birch wood, a misty forest, black waves, horses (much of this from footage produced but unreleased by Veikko Itkonen). This archetypal imagery illuminates the rich side of dementia, with primal aspects such as a longing to the mother's arms. The compilation of existing footage (fiction and non-fiction) is imaginative and original. There are childhood songs ("Työkello"). Most importantly, mirrors are a central visual element.

The vibrant photochemical quality of the 16 mm print contributes a lot to the stark impact of this unforgettable movie.
1. Alkumusiikki
Säv. ja sov. Päivi Takala
Studio-orkesteri (off, alkutekstit), 1' 35".

2. Työkello
Säv. ja san. trad., sov. Mikko von Deringer
Peppina, laulu, ja Finlandia-yhtye, joht. Georg Malmstén (off), 0' 30".
Peppina ja Finlandia-yhtye, joht. Georg Malmstén; Finlandia PB 6, 1954.

3. Tääll' Pohjanlahden rannalla
Säv. ja san. trad. Kälviältä, sov. T.H. Piha
Alavieskan lapsikuoro, laulu, joht. Aatto Saksola ja Esa Niemi, ja Aatto Saksolan soitinyhtye (off), 0' 20".
Alavieskan lapsikuoro; Finlandia NEA-LP 13, 1971.

4. Priznaisja mne
Säv. Artur Gold, san. Pjotr Leštšenko
Pjotr Leštšenko, laulu, ja Herbert Schmidtin orkesteri (off), 1' 15".
Pjotr Leštšenko; Oriente Musik RIENCD-12, 1997 (alkuperäisäänitys 1931).

5. Laulumme nousee
Säv. ja san. trad., sov. Arthur Fuhrman
Karjalan yhteiskoulun oppilaskuoro, laulu, ja orkesteri, joht. Kalervo Hämäläinen (off), 0' 45".
Karjalan yhteiskoulun oppilaskuoro ja orkesteri, joht. Kalervo Hämäläinen; Finlandia P 330, 1961.

6. Hypnoosimusiikki
Säv. Raimo Liukko
Raimo Liukko, syntetisaattorit (off), 3' 40".

7. Talven tullen
Säv. trad., san. Kyllikki Solanterä, sov. Arthur Fuhrmann
Karjalan yhteiskoulun oppilaskuoro, laulu, ja orkesteri, joht. Kalervo Hämäläinen (off), 0' 35".
Karjalan yhteiskoulun oppilaskuoro ja orkesteri, joht. Kalervo Hämäläinen; Finlandia P 330, 1961.

8. Loppumusiikki
Säv. ja sov. Päivi Takala
Studio-orkesteri (off, lopputekstit), 2' 45".

Alkumusiikin teema toistuu elokuvan taustamusiikissa.

Raimo Liukon musiikkiosuus on sävelletty hypnoosissa.

Musiikkinumeron 7 pohjana on yhdysvaltalainen kansansävelmä Battle Hymn of The Republic / Glory, Glory Hallelujah.

Hei jopa Ruissalon työkello soi,
päivä kun kirkkaasti koittaa.
Tarhasta paimen jo karjansa toi
torvella tuurilla soittaa
Lampuri lampaille huutelee tuis!
Liisa se varsalle ärjäisee huis!
Kuttuja täynnä on Härkölän ruis
kaurassa taas kanat kuukkii.

Hanhet ja ankat ne rannassa ui,
Saara on pyykillä siellä.
Luiskahti järveen ja kirkaisi hui!
Tuomasko lie ollut tiellä.
Pietari härkiä röyskeli hoi!
Esteri Heikille kahvia toi.
Kahden he yhdessä kaiken sen joi,
en minä saanutkaan mitään.

Säv. ja san. trad., sov. Mikko von Deringer.
Peppina, laulu, ja Finlandia-yhtye, joht. Georg Malmstén.
Finlandia PB 6

1 comment:

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