Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Tribute to Il Cinema Ritrovato / Peter von Bagh Memorial at Cinema Orion

Pockpicket: Meri Kurenniemi, Sulevi Peltola. Photo: Elina Katainen.
Kunnianosoitus Il Cinema Ritrovatolle / Peter von Baghin muistotilaisuus. Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 30 Sep 2014

Bologna monumentale. IT 1912. PC: Latium. 35 mm. 107 m (incomplete, original length 136 m). 5’, 18 f/s. B&w. Italian intertitles. Cineteca di Bologna. - AA: An architectural record of the Renaissance city.

Tontolini è triste. IT 1911. C: Ferdinand Guillame (Tontolini). PC: Cines. 35 mm. 135 m. 7’, 16 f/s. B&w. Italian intertitles. Cineteca di Bologna. - AA: Only the cinema, only the clown, only Tontolini himself on screen can cure his sadness.

La Peine du talion. FR 1906. D: Gaston Velle. PC: Pathé Frères. 35 mm. Ca. 70 m. 4’, 16 f/s. Stencil colour. No intertitles. Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Cineteca di Bologna. Digitally preserved in 2011 by L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from a stencil- and hand-colored nitrate positive held by Museo Nazionale del Cinema. - AA: The revenge of the butterflies.

Les Bords de la Tamise d'Oxford à Windsor. FR 1914. Sul Tamigi. PC: Éclectic-Films. Distributed by: Pathé Frères (No. 6520). 35 mm. 105 m. 6’, 16 f/s. Stencil colour. Italian intertitles. Cineteca di Bologna. - AA: Beautiful travelogue.

Mammifères Américains: paca, coati, tatous, maras. FR 1914. Mammiferi americani. PC: Pathé Frères (No. 6565). 35 mm. 90 m. 5’, 16 f/s. Stencil colour. Italian intertitles. Cineteca di Bologna. - AA: A record of exciting animals.

Pockpicket eli katkelmia helsinkiläisen porvarisnuoren elämästä. FI 1968. PC: Maisala & Co, Oy Mainos-TV-Reklam AB. P: Peter von Bagh, Pertti Maisala. D: Peter von Bagh, Pertti Maisala. Assistant cameraman: Matti Salo. SC: Peter von Bagh, Pertti Maisala. DP: Peter von Bagh, Pertti Maisala. M: Kaj Chydenius. ED: Peter von Bagh, Pertti Maisala. C: Sulevi Peltola. Telecast: 29.1.1968 MTV1. VET  A-20243 – S – 18 min / 510 m – 35 mm. - AA: It is fascinating to observe how many factors of the Peter von Bagh equation are in evidence already here - starting with the prophetic first sentences. Pockpicket is a complex work. Pertti Maisala commented on the film at length after the screening, and stated that although Pockpicket was a collaboration, it is a Peter von Bagh movie. At Corona Bar, Kai Huotari commented that Pockpicket in Peter's oeuvre is comparable to Valehtelija in Aki Kaurismäki's work. (Valehtelija was directed by Mika Kaurismäki but it bears the Aki stamp).

Guy Borlée had provided us with a special greeting: a beautiful slide show of Peter von Bagh's presence at Il Cinema Ritrovato.

Since 1986 Il Cinema Ritrovato has grown into the most highly regarded film historical festival, a cinephilic paradise and a Mecca of restorations, run by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna. Gian Luca Farinelli, Guy Borlée and Peter von Bagh were supposed to open the Il Cinema Ritrovato tribute touring show starting in Helsinki today. Peter von Bagh's death on 17 September 2014 changed the plan. The tribute is now also a memorial for the great cineaste.

Gian Luca Farinelli and Guy Borlée write: "It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend Peter von Bagh, artistic director of Il Cinema Ritrovato since 2001. Peter was an enlightened intellectual and cinéphile, former director of the Helsinki Cinémathèque, he first discovered Aki Kaurismäki and was himself a filmmaker: his documentaries are permeated by a deeply human voice and a clever vision. Peter gave a lot to the Cineteca and to the city of Bologna, contributing in a decisive way to Il Cinema Ritrovato and its international stature. He had a wealth of unique talents: he had an intimate and voracious relationship with cinema – he had seen virtually every film in existence – which he had learned to understand and know with an unparalleled depth. He was an uncommonly cultivated man, admired by many filmmakers and carried himself with a simplicity and a playful sense of humor that naturally lead him to support many right – therefore often impossible – causes. His departure is a huge loss for the international community of film lovers. Cineteca di Bologna lost a precious friend, his personal and human presence will stay with us as well as the rich patrimony of studies and films which is bound to acquire more and more relevance in the future."

Our cinema was full with standing room only for this celebration turned memorial. Timo Malmi and Risto Alapuro gave heartfelt speeches, and further moving testimonies and reminiscences were offered by Pertti Maisala, Johanna Saarinen, Kai Huotari, Heikki Salojärvi, Kyösti Mankamo, Petri Kaivanto, Jussi Brofeldt, and Markku Koski, among others. Peter's trusted cinematographer Arto Kaivanto was there with his camera. After the Orion event Corona Bar in the next block was full of Peter's friends. Some of us had not seen each other for a long time, and the precious memory brought us together again.

The sorrow is too big for words, but we must try. Peter von Bagh is irreplaceable, but we all must work together more to keep the great projects going in which his contribution was instrumental.

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