Saturday, February 03, 2018

1918 – huutoja ja kaikuja I / 1918 – Cries and Echoes I (a seminar on the Finnish Civil War)

The takeover of Helsinki in 1918 CC BY 4.0 N10045. The Parade of the White Army on North Esplanade on 16 May 1918. In front of the headquarters. Source: reproduction negative from glass negative. Photographer: Gunnar Lönnqvist 16.5.1918. 9 x 12. Photo: Helsinki City Museum. Please do click to enlarge the photograph.

A seminar on the movies of the 1918 civil war in Finland • organized by DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival / Risto Jarva Society / KAVI.
    Moderators: Ville Suhonen, Jouko Aaltonen
    Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Year of Remembrance 1918), 3 Feb 2018

Part I: Saturday 3.2.2018

10.00 Lecture: Authentic documentary film material of the civil war: truth and framing. Senior researcher Jari Sedergren
10.15 Photographs and photographers of the civil war. Senior researcher Jukka Kukkonen
    AA: Two lessons in source criticism. Most of the films and photographs of the events of 1918 are biased. Images of "documentary war footage" are usually reconstructions. They can be rewarding but only if examined critically. When one publishes photographs of the events sources should be carefully identified.

10.45 Reino Palmroth: Sama kaiku on askelten [The Echo Remains the Same] (FI 1968). PC: Opus Film. KAVI 35 mm. 23 min
    "An unofficial 50th jubileum film of the Jäger movement and the civil war."
    AA: A patriotic celebration of the Jäger movement which was trained in imperial Germany during WWI to help fight for Finnish independence. When Finland became independent without a fight, the movement played a key role in the civil war on the White side. A film full of rousing marches, official Jäger film footage, and a commentary read by the legendary Reino Palmroth himself. A brilliant print.

11.15 Sini Järnström: Hilja, punaisen tyttö [Hilja, Daughter of the Reds] (FI 2006). PC: TAMK Taide ja Viestintä. 2K DCP transfer from Digital Betacam. 11 min
    "The 101 year old Hilja Virtanen tells about the events of 1918. War memories and the silence surrounding it affected her whole life."
    AA: A moving and harrowing account of the Battle of Tampere, the bloodiest battle in the history of the Nordic countries, as remembered by Hilja Virtanen, 13 at the time. She also remembers the bloody retribution and a harassment that lasted for decades.

COFFEE BREAK. A pop up café (by Itä-Uudenmaan Palloseura) and an exhibition of photographs of the year 1918.

12.00 Kaisa Salmi: Fellmanin pelto [The Fellman Field] (FI 2013). Kaisa Salmi, triptych copy, Quicktime ProRes422HQ. English subtitles. 23 min
    Five stories: Jussi Niinistö, Anna Kontula, Pekka Tero..., Timo Hurme, Aki-Mauri Huhtinen.
    "La Marseillaise", lyr. Edla Saarto ("Ken oikeutta puolustaapi") sung by Kaisa Korhonen, lyr. Heikki Salo.
    "The artist Kaisa Salmi directed in the Fellman Park in the city of Lahti in April 2013 the performance The Fellman Field - a living monument of 22 000 people. 10 000 people from all over Finland participated. The performance was based on the events of the biggest prison camp of the civil war of 1918 in Lahti. The documentary brings together the biggest ever performance in Finland, the stories of five protagonists and a poetic recitative read by dozens of volunteers for the camera."
    AA: A documentary record of a magnificent performance which inspired and activated a flood of repressed memories. An event of monumental catharsis.

12.25 Kaisa Salmi: Veripelto [Field of Blood] (FI 2018). Kaisa Salmi, Quicktime ProRes422HQ. 8 min
    "A prison guard atones for a family trauma by digging a grave in the Field of Blood performance in the Jättömaa of the city of Kouvola, at the same place where in 1918 first Whites and then Reds were executed. The first public screening of the movie."
    AA: "Granpa carried this burden inside for seventy years". Digging a grave as a way of dealing with the burden of guilt. A performance as a therapeutic act. Another collective performance, recorded also with aerial cameras.

12.45 Seppo Rustanius: Sotapapit [Priests of War] (1981). PC: Yleisradio TV2 Dokumenttiohjelmat. 2K DCP from Yleisradio videotape. 37 min
    "A controversial (and in the original telecast partly censored) television documentary on the theme of the church of Finland, the clergy and the war in independent Finland from the 1918 civil war until the end of the second world war".
    AA: The story of the union of the clergy and the military during the first decades of independent Finland. With interviews with Arvi Järventaus, Antti Rentola, Jyrki Järnefelt, Armas Salmenkivi, Jorma Juutilainen, Heikki Holkeri, etc. The message of the film is the same as Bob Dylan's in "With God On Our Side".

A discussion on the censoring of the film and its political significance. Priest Heikki Palmu
    AA: Heikki Palmu criticized the film for one-sidedness. It only shows one side of the clergy while in reality there were many. Truth was more complex than this.

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