Saturday, September 10, 2022

Mielensäpahoittaja Eskorttia etsimässä / The Grump: In Search of an Escort

Mika Kaurismäki: Mielensäpahoittaja Eskorttia etsimässä / The Grump: In Search of an Escort (FI 2022), starring Heikki Kinnunen.

Kverulanten söker Eskort.
    FI/DE 2022 Solar Films Inc. Oy / Cuckoo Clock Entertainment GmbH. P: Markus Selin, Jukka Helle, Hanna Virolainen, Raoul Reinert.
    D: Mika Kaurismäki. SC: Daniela Hakulinen, Tuomas Kyrö – based on the novel (2019) by Tuomas Kyrö. Cin: Jari Mutikainen – scope. Drone cin: David Brickhill-Jones, Teppo Salonen. AD: Tuomas Kyrö, Pouya Mirzaei. Cost: Anna Vilppunen, Anette Schröder. Makeup: Marjut Samulin. Hair: Aune Peeterman. VFX of drowning the Ford Escort: Jari Nenonen. M: Anssi Tikanmäki, Eemil Tikanmäki, Eljas Tikanmäki. S: Pekka Karjalainen. ED: Markus Leppälä. C:
    Mielensäpahoittaja / The Grump – Heikki Kinnunen
    Tarmo – Kari Väänänen
    Hessu – Iikka Forss
    Liisa – Mari Perankoski
    Pekka – Ville Tiihonen
    Katri – Tiina Lymi
    Maria – Rosalie Thomass
    Otto – Samu Haber
    Larsson – Pekka Strang
    109 min
    Finnish premiere: 9 Sep 2022, distributed by Oy Nordisk Film Ab, Swedish subtitles by Frej Grönholm.
    Viewed at Finnkino Strand 4, Iso Kristiina, Lappeenranta, 10 Sep 2022.

Official synopsis: "Mielensäpahoittajan arki rullaa tuttujen rutiinien mukaan: kevät on tullut ja varhaisperunasato kypsyy. Mielensäpahoittaja kuitenkin kolaroi rakkaan Eskorttinsa ja auto täytyy romuttaa. Uusi, nykyaikainen kulkuneuvo ei käy laatuun ja lähin Eskortti vuosimallia 1972 löytyy Saksasta. Kun Mielensäpahoittajan pojat kieltäytyvät auttamasta, on hänen matkustettava Saksaan yksin."

"Mielensäpahoittaja tarvitsee Hampuriin saavuttuaan veljensä Tarmon apua. He eivät ole olleet tekemisissä vuosikymmeniin. Tarmo, joka on Mielensäpahoittajan täydellinen vastakohta, lupaa auttaa veljeään Eskortin etsinnässä. Auton etsinnän lomassa mutkaisen matkan varrella kaivetaan esiin veljesten väliset vanhat ja uudet kuopat."

"Mielensäpahoittaja Eskorttia etsimässä on lämminhenkinen elokuva sukupolvien kohtaamisesta vuosien jälkeen."

"The Grump’s daily life rolls along his familiar routines: spring has arrived and the early potato crop is almost ready. The Grump however crashes his beloved Ford Escort, and the car must be scrapped. A new, modern vehicle is out of the question, and the nearest ’72 Escort can only be found from Germany. When the Grump’s sons refuse to help him, the Grump has to travel to Germany alone."

"When the Grump arrives in Hamburg, he needs help from his brother, Tarmo. The brothers have not been in touch with each other in decades. Tarmo, who is the exact opposite to the Grump, promises to help his brother find the Escort. As they navigate the bumps in the road in search of the car, old and new disagreements between the brothers flare up."

"The Grump: In Search of an Escort is a warm-spirited film about family meeting after many years."

AA: Based on the popular character created by the author Tuomas Kyrö originally for the radio, and subsequently a series of novels, a successful motion picture franchise has emerged.

Themes of the Grump phenomenon include the generation gap, urbanization, a satire of living in "the good old days" of the past, and the deep transformation of gender roles. We laugh at the Grump but we can look in the mirror and learn lessons about the past including sustainability, living in harmony with nature, and a culture of "trust thy neighbour".

In The Grump (2014), director Dome Karukoski created a work that resonates in film history with classics including Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story and Alexander Payne's About Schmidt.

Happier Times, Grump (2018), directed by Tiina Lymi, introduced new, emotionally rich dimensions, starting with the death of the Grump's wife and a catastrophic funeral and memorial sequence and ending with the birth of the Grump's first great-grandchild.

In The Grump: In Search of an Escort, directed by Mika Kaurismäki, the saga expands geographically into Germany. We meet the Grump's brother Tarmo who has become an international nomad while the Grump remained at the home farm.

In a parallel story we follow the fates of the Grump's two sons. Iikka Forss and Mari Perankoski have interpreted the son Hessu and his wife Liisa in all films. Ville Tiihonen and Tiina Lymi are new actors as the son Pekka and his wife Katri. In Germany the Grump discovers a niece, Marie (Rosalie Thomass) and her five year old son.

In each story we meet crisis. The Grump's Ford Escort crashes. Pekka is fired. Hessu's children are so glued to their smartphones that they ignore everything else. Tarmo has been a negligent father and his daughter does not want to have anything to do with him.

The Grump: In Search of an Escort is a work of wish-fulfillment. There is a neat solution to each crisis. It is feelgood entertainment, and judging by the atmosphere in the screening I visited I predict it will be a success.

Missing is the aching sense of loss of the previous Grump films, to speak nothing about McCarey, Ozu and Payne.

But, more than before, Mika Kaurismäki injects a subtle sense of humour in the narrative. There are jokes and funny scenes, but more interestingly, there is an inherent humoristic dimension all around.

For the road movie veteran Mika Kaurismäki, the scope format is natural, enhanced by effective drone footage in Hamburg and a poignant scene of the drowning of the resurrected Ford Escort. "Vanhan vaahteran laulu" ["The Song of the Old Maple Tree"] (comp.+lyr. Eino Partanen), sung by Veikko Tuomi in 1952, is a perfect soundtrack choice. Such songs were listened by the generations that survived the war.


Vanhan vaahteran laulu
esittäjä: Veikko Tuomi
säv. & san. Eino Partanen
© Warner Chappell Music Finland Oy
℗ 1952 Levytukku

Iltatuulen viesti
esittäjä: Korsuorkesteri
säv. & san. Martti Jäppilä
© Warner Chappell Music Finland Oy
℗ 2007 Edel Records

The Water Fairy
esittäjä: Tetsuroh Konishi
Off Record label

Aamulla varhain
esittäjä: Kari Väänänen
säv. & san. Trad.

Ja rokki soi
esittäjä: Rauli Badding Somerjoki
säv. Matti Ruohonen
san. Teppo Ruohonen
© Warner Chappell Music Finland Oy
Ⓟ 1974 Siboney

Kuubalainen serenadi
esittäjä: Kari Väänänen
säv. Salamanteri
san. Unto Koskela
© Warner Chappell Music Finland Oy

Verdamp Lang Her
esittäjä: BAP
säv. Klaus Heuser
san. Wolfgang Niedecken
© 1981 by Musikverlage Hans Gerig KG
Courtesy of Harth Musik Verlag GmbH
Ⓟ 1981 Vertigo / Capitol
a division of Universal Music GmbH
Courtesy of Universal Music GmbH

Esittäjä: Maleo
säv. & san. Dariusz Malejonek

Hometown Gang
esittäjä: Samu Haber
säv. & san. Samu Haber, David McCracken & Tim Hutton

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