Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sodankylä morning discussion: Aki Kaurismäki and Peter von Bagh interviewing each other

Peter von Bagh, Aki Kaurismäki, 15 June 2016. Photo: Saana Kotila
The School, Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 15 June 2014

The résumé at The Midnight Sun Film Festival site: "”There was a rumour he would interview me, but I will interview him.” This is how Aki Kaurismäki responded to questions concerning the nature of Sunday’s extraordinary morning discussion. Festival Director Peter von Bagh cornered director Kaurismäki with a slew of familiar choices: Hawks or Ford? Kurosawa or Ozu? Dostoyevsky or Kafka? Red or white wine? Wife or cinema? The hour-long discussion included a lot of debate and consensus on many great films and filmmakers. The topics of discussion were diverse: everything from Chaplin to Aarne Tarkas."

"Kaurismäki reflected on von Bagh’s latest films, such as Remembrance: “The film will disturb viewers who have to go back to their childhood and witness the destruction their home cities have had to endure since then, especially in terms of architecture. The film is very beautiful, it forces the viewers to realize that they never had a childhood in the first place.”"

"On Socialism Kaurismäki said: “The film reveals that Peter has been fooling us all along. He has been pretending to be a tough guy, but Socialism reveals that at the core he is a sensitive person.”"

"Kaurismäki said that the most beautiful period in his life was when on Saturdays the Savoy theatre in Helsinki used to screen films from the archive with introductions by von Bagh. “Everybody came there with bags from the liquor store and the bottles were passed among the audience at a screening of a film such as Pudovkin’s Mother.”"

"Von Bagh on his turn recalled the interview Kaurismäki as an arts journalist made with him in Kaivopuisto park. Although the interviewer needed some help standing up, the article turned out quite well."

"When it came time for the famous question about desert island films, not only von Bagh (Ford’s The Quiet Man) and Kaurismäki (Hawks’ Only Angels Have Wings) were asked the question, but also the audience. Wild Strawberries, Andrei Rublev, Children of Paradise and other answers received approving comments from the stage."

"Films schools with their effect of standardization as well as the digitalization of cinema were both shot down by the pair on stage. According to von Bagh, none of this year’s morning discussion interviewees had received any formal film education. Von Bagh himself would not have been admitted even if he had applied to study film, while Kaurismäki did apply but was not admitted. “They told Aki that he is cynical, although in my view he is the least cynical of all film directors.”"

"For the festival’s Director, Midnight Sun Film Festival represents the complete opposite to cinema’s current direction. “Each year at Midnight Sun Film Festival, cinema is born anew. It is strange that each year quite a large number of us go back to our home towns, but there we are not able to set things right. Authentic cinemas have ceased to exist, the films distributed are drivel and the whole country has changed to digital projection. At Midnight Sun Film Festival, people are sure to witness as much 35mm as possible. As Aki wisely put it, real film is light, digital is mere electronics.”"

"“When there is no play of light on the surface of the picture, cinema no longer affects you, although before it affected so hell of a lot”, Kaurismäki described and summed up the conversation: “We have come to the conclusion that cinema is dead, but fortunately we are still alive.”
" (The résumé at The Midnight Sun Film Festival 2014 website).
Boris Nelepo's page in facebook
Olli-Pekka Jauhiainen:

No comments: