Sunday, June 16, 2024

Anssi Mänttäri - suomielokuvan kummisetä (world premiere)

Tero Hiltunen, Sampsa Huttunen: Anssi Mänttäri - suomielokuvan kummisetä (FI 2024).

DIRECTOR: Tero Hiltunen, Sampsa Huttunen
COUNTRY: Finland
YEAR: 2024
DURATION: 114 min
CATEGORY: New Finnish Films, Puhuttu tai tekstitetty suomeksi
World premiere.
In the presence of Tero Hiltunen and Sampsa Huttunen, hosted by Heikki Kujanpää.
Viewed at Kitisen Kino, Sodankylä, Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF), 16 June 2024.

[Literal translation of the film's title: Anssi Mänttäri - a Godfather of Finnish Cinema.]

Joonatan Nikkinen (MSFF 2024): " Anssi Mänttäri is a living legend of Finnish cinema. Having been involved in over a hundred industry projects as a producer, screenwriter, and actor, Mänttäri’s personal directing credits include 26 feature films, as well as TV movies, series, short films, and documentaries. The documentary directed by Tero Hiltunen and Sampsa Huttunen allows the title character himself to speak up, making this film a perfect fit for the Midnight Sun Film Festival programme, not least because Mänttäri is one of the festival’s founders. "

" The documentary chronicles Mänttäri’s career chronologically. His theatre aspirations led to his first role in Mikko Niskanen’s Commando Assault, getting established in the film industry, and finally, his debut as a director with The Holy Family. With plenty of footage of Mänttäri’s films over the years, this biographical documentary meticulously combs through his filmography, also touching on his thoughts about winning a Jussi Award and founding the organisation ELKE ry. Not to forget the story of Samuel Fuller persuading the local rural police chief in a bar in Sodankylä to grant permission to hold the film festival just hours before its first screening. " Joonatan Nikkinen

AA: Anssi Mänttäri is a giant of Finnish cinema, a true original, with a prolific career. Having started in the studio system in the early 1960s he has been a part of the transition to New Wave, the television age, the meager years of the 1970s, the Kaurismäki syndrome, the home video challenge, the breakthrough of the internet, the digital era... surviving with incredible stamina as an independent film-maker. In retrospective, there is symbolical value that he collaborated even with the wild bird of Finnish cinema, Teuvo Tulio, in his final film Sensuela - a Lapland film. Perhaps not all Mänttäri's films are masterpieces, but none of them is indifferent. The Who Is Who of Finnish actors has appeared in his productions.

Tero Hiltunen and Sampsa Huttunen have created a portrait documentary of Mänttäri's long career, covering his life and times from the early 1960s to the present day. The many excerpts have been well selected. Mänttäri is a born storyteller and raconteur both in screenwriting and conversation, and he guides us through the thick and the thin of his many adventures. 

It is a puzzle of Finnish film literature that there is no biography or memoir book of Anssi Mänttäri. Now we heard that there is one in the works - also by Tero Hiltunen and Sampsa Huttunen, the directors of this entertaining and informative documentary.

Fittingly this film has its Uraufführung in Sodankylä - Mänttäri was the one who established the contact with the Sodankylä community and had the balls to pursue the crazy idea of a film festival above the Polar Circle, leading to the founding of the Midnight Sun Film Festival.

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