Friday, June 16, 2023

Universumin kaiut - Kaija Saariahon musiikki / Echoes of the Universe - The Music of Kaija Saariaho

Riitta Rask: Universumin kaiut - Kaija Saariahon musiikki / Echoes of the Universe - The Music of Kaija Saariaho (FI 2023).

DIRECTOR: Riitta Rask
COUNTRY: Finland
YEAR: 2023
DURATION: 80 min
LANGUAGES: Finnish, English, French / subtitled in English
ORIGINAL NAME: Universumin kaiut – Kaija Saariahon musiikki
CATEGORY: Documentary Films, Finnish Films, Music Films, New Finnish Films, Special Screenings, Subtitles in English
Kitisen Kino, Sodankylä, Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF), 16 June 2023

Joonas Nykänen (MSFF 2023): "This documentary film, with an abundant wealth of composer Kaija Saariaho’s own comments and music, dissects the artist’s life. What was it like to go to a Steiner school as an extremely talented person and grow up to choose a path in music?"

"Due to her gender, Saariaho encounters prejudice along the way. The film examines how it was that this shy talent developed into a great composer. By making the focus Saariaho’s work, rather than her biography, it breaks the cliché of the suffering artist and instead creates a perception of a serene life filled with happiness."

"Saariaho meets young musicians and imparts pithy aphorisms about an artist’s career: talent alone is not enough. In Paris, the young Saariaho found solace away from the stifling atmosphere of her home country at that time. There she also met her partner Jean-Baptiste Barrière. The prolific Saariaho has given us music ranging from operas to chamber music. Echoes of the Universe offers us a new insight into the artist’s life." Joonas Nykänen

AA: I arrived late and Kitisen Kino was already filled to the max, but the compelling sound world of Riitta Rask's movie reached me in front of the tent, and I remained mesmerized on my bench until the end. The music and interview montage of this film is so wonderful that it is a complete artistic experience on the highest level even without images. I learned a lot about and with Kaija Saariaho (1952-2023) whose cinematic memorial this is. For instance she saw composition as an entire world, and welcomed structure. Saariaho was deeply influenced by the cinema, for instance Andrei Tarkovski. Her artistic parcours was about reaching ever higher tops, and she was at the peak of her creativity when we lost her to glioblastoma on 2 June 2023 in Paris at age 70.

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