Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Dawn Patrol (1930)



The Flight Commander (re-release title) (the title on the print viewed) / Öinen eskaaderi / Nattens eskader. US © 1930 First National Pictures. P: Robert North. D: Howard Hawks. SC: Dan Totheroh, Howard Hawks, Seton I. Miller ‒ based on the story "The Flight Commander" by John Monk Saunders. CIN: Ernest Haller. Aerial photography: Elmer Dyer. SFX: Fred Jackman, Harry Redmond, Sr. M: Rex Dunn. Theme song: "Stand To Your Glasses! (Hurrah For The Next Man To Die)" (music trad., lyrics from the poem "Indian Revelry" by William Francis Thompson, 1835). Other songs: "Plum and Apple" (comp. unknown). "Poor Butterfly" (M. Raymond Hubbell, John Golden). Conductor (Vitaphone Orchestra): Leo F. Forbstein. AD: Jack Okey. ED: Ray Curtiss. Aerial stunts supervisor: Sterling Campbell. Aeronautic supervisor: Leo Nomis. S: Vitaphone (mono).
    C: Richard Barthelmess (Dick Courtney), Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Douglas Scott), Neil Hamilton (Major Brand), Frank McHugh (Flaherty), Clyde Cook (Bott), James Finlayson (field sergeant), Gardner James (Ralph Hollister), William Janney (Gordon Scott), Edmund Breon (Lieut. Phipps), Jack Ackroyd, Harry Allen (mechanics), Howard Hawks (German pilot), Jack Jordan (German soldier).
    Aircraft: Nieuport 28 (British squadron), Travel Air 4000 (German fighters). Standard J-1. Waterman-Boeing C biplanes. Travel Air 4U Speedwing. Thomas-Morse S-4. (Howard Hughes had bought all vintage WWI aircraft to fight competition to his Hell's Angels).
    Premiere 10.7.1930. Helsinki premiere: 16.4.1933 Astoria and Arena, released by Warner Bros. Finland ‒ duration registered at the Finnish film control as 112 min [info unreliable] ‒ 2896 m / 105 min ‒ duration according to different sources: 82, 95, 106 min (copyright length)
    Retitled The Flight Commander in 1956 to avoid confusion with the Warner Bros. remake, The Dawn Patrol / Lentoeskaaderin hyökkäys (1938), D: Edmund Goulding, C: Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and David Niven. Hawks's aerial combat scenes were reused in the remake.
    The original title cards of The Dawn Patrol (1930) were discarded, and redrawn titles are on all known prints of the film.
    Library of Congress print (108 min) screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Howard Hawks), 15 March 2017

Revisited Howard Hawks's first masterpiece, his first true sound film, and his first great film about flying (they include The Air Circus, The Dawn Patrol, Ceiling Zero, Only Angels Have Wings, and Air Force).

A serious wave of WWI films had started five years ago, including The Big Parade (premiere 5 Nov 1925), What Price Glory (23 Nov 1926), Wings (19 May 1927), Four Sons (13 Feb 1928), Verdun, visions d'histoire (23 Nov 1928), and Journey's End (9 April 1930).

The most devastating trio of WWI films was being produced and released at the same time: All Quiet on the Western Front (21 April 1930), Westfront 1918 (23 May 1930), and Les Croix de bois (17 March 1932). The Dawn Patrol is a noble entry in this wave of WWI movies.

Hawks had been a flight instructor for the US Army Air Service in WWI. He can be considered a member of the "lost generation" like his friends Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner and like F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Dawn Patrol is Hawks's "lost generation" movie. Most of his friends of youth had died in the war or in flying accidents.  On 2 January 1930 his brother Kenneth (equally talented as Howard) died in a flying accident. There is a sense of personal urgency in the pervasive atmosphere of death in The Dawn Patrol.

The Dawn Patrol is an early sound film but Hawks is less hampered by the cumbersome early sound camera technology than in his other film of the same year, The Criminal Code. The aerial combat scenes still look terrific. Although the flying machines are not fully authentic, they are close to the real thing.

The death toll is high. The flight commanders get to face the appalling task of sending novices to almost certain death on inadequate aircraft. A recurrent scene is of a flight commander listening to the sounds of the returning airplanes. There are seven airplanes in the squadron. When they return, they hear the sounds of only six, five, four...

The Dawn Patrol is laconic but not hard-boiled or callous. The men are shattered. They cry. Even flight commanders cry. They suffer mental breakdowns. They drink too much. Mostly they seem to be drinking when they are not flying. The flight commander who does not get to fly is always drunk.

Many essential Howard Hawks features already fall into place in The Dawn Patrol. One of them is professionalism. These men, young as they are, share a professional approach in fighting. There is nothing personal in it. When a German pilot is captured, he is welcome to a drink at the canteen. And when the American pilot whom he shot down also appears, both join.

Another feature is a matter-of-fact approach to courage. Danger and courage are understated. Fear is normal and undeniable. The way the soldiers face danger and death belongs to the noble tradition of the classical Athenians. Not Spartans: Hawks is not a militarist. Military formalities are reduced to the utmost. These men are born fighters. No drill exercises are needed. This feature is familiar to Finns, to our warfare reality in WWII, as opposed to the Prussian drill mentality of the Germans.

Camaraderie, solidarity, and mutual respect are key values. The communal sing-song makes a prominent appearance already in Hawks's first sound film. Lafayette Escadrille's favourite song "Stand To Your Glasses" becomes the theme song of the film. Its lyrics (see beyond the jump break) are still surprising and shocking and crystallize the anti-war message of The Dawn Patrol.

The air combat sequences are terrific. In one of them two maverick pilots defy orders and conduct a surprise commando attack. In the final one Dick Courtney (Richard Barthelmess) again defies orders but now in the position of the flight commander himself and conducts a solo suicide mission, bringing disaster to German bridges, railways and factories. The attack culminates in a dogfight with the German ace pilot von Richter.

The Dawn Patrol is still a film about men without women. A woman figures only as a memory from a recent rivalry in Paris between Major Brand and Dick Courtney. There had been a glimpse of the Hawksian woman in the Louise Brooks character in A Girl in Every Port but soon enough she would emerge definitively.

The Library of Congress print is clean and complete, more complete than the copyright version. It has also a somewhat duped look.

BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK: OUR PROGRAM NOTE BASED ON ANDREW SARRIS:

The Connection


The Connection. Poster from Daily Mail online. Separate Cinema celebrates history of black cinema. From the collections of John Duke Kisch, 2014.

US © 1961 The Connection Company. P: Lewis M. Allen, Shirley Clarke. D: Shirley Clarke. SC: Jack Gelber based on his play (1959). CIN: Arthur J. Ornitz – shot on 35 mm – b&w – 1,37:1. ED: Shirley Clarke. PD: Richard Sylbert. AD: Albert Brenner. Cost: Ruth Morley. M: Freddie Redd. S: mono (RCA).
    C: Warren Finnerty (Leach), Jerome Raphael (Solly), Garry Goodrow (Ernie), Jim Anderson (Sam), Carl Lee (Brother Cowboy), Barbara Winchester (Sister Salvation), Henry Proach (Harry), offscreen voice of Roscoe Lee Browne (J. J. Burden, the unseen cameraman), William Redfield (Jim Dunn).
    The jazz band: Freddie Redd (composer, piano),
Jackie McLean (alto sax),
Michael Mattos (bass),
Larry Richie (drums).
     The Music from The Connection (album to the play released in 1960):
"Who Killed Cock Robin" - 5:21
"Wigglin'" - 5:58
"Music Forever" - 5:52
"Time To Smile" - 6:24
"(Theme for) Sister Salvation" - 4:43
"Jim Dunn's Dilemma" - 5:37
"O.D. (Overdose)" - 4:41
    K16 – 102 min
    A 35 mm print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (History of the Cinema), 15 March 2017.

Shirley Clarke's debut feature film has an affinity with Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Based on a play by Jack Gelber for The Living Theatre it is about a film-maker, Jim Dunn, filming a group of junkies, including a jazz band, who are waiting for their "connection" to bring them their heroin shots.

The Connection belongs to the key works of the New American Cinema, direct cinema, and the American New Wave. It was shot in long takes, often with a handheld camera, lens changes conducted without stopping the camera. But it had a top cinematographer, Arthur J. Ornitz (The Goddess, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Minnie & Moskowitz, Serpico, Next Stop Greenwich Village) and production designer, Richard Sylbert (Splendor in the Grass, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, and The Manchurian Candidate were some of his credits during the next year). Technically, the well lit film is a mix of direct cinema and studio professionalism.

A strength of the movie is a hard bop score played live by a jazz quartet with the composer-pianist Freddie Redd as band leader, and featuring searing solos by the alto sax player Jackie McLean. The Connection was one of the important films of its time in featuring black talent without sugar-coating.

The Connection broke taboos in exposing frankly practices of heroin use. We witness the cold turkey, the desperation of addiction, the gratification, and the impact of overdose, even an almost lethal overdose. The film director Jim Dunn has a dubious role in cultivating the addiction of the people he wants to film, but he gets to taste his own medicine with dangerous results as he has never essayed heroin before.

The Connection is also one of the most famous films that played a role in changing the standards of regional censorship practices in the 1960s. First it was locally banned, then released in the court of appeals.

Among the memorable images are the sweat-covered faces of the heroin addicts. The Connection is a film about freedom, desperation, and the bondage of addiction.

The print is clean, spotless, and complete, and looks like struck directly from the original negative displaying the soft, vibrant skin of living reality typical of a brilliant print. Only the last reel has a duped look.

BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK: OUR PROGRAM NOTE BY JARI SEDERGREN:

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future



US © 2016 Peter Rosen Productions, Inc. / Thirteen Productions, Inc. Series: American Masters. P+D: Peter Rosen. Co-producer, DP and protagonist: Eric Saarinen. Shot in 6K.
    Archival interviews with Eero Saarinen and his second wife Aline Saarinen. Sources for the narration: family correspondence and quotations from Aline Saarinen's memoirs.
    Peter Franzén (voice of Eero Saarinen). Blythe Danner (voice of Aline Saarinen).
    New interviews with architects Kevin Roche, César Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, and Robert A. M. Stern, and industrial designer Niels Diffrient, who all worked with or were influenced by Saarinen. Architecture critic Paul Goldberger, curator Donald Albrecht (Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future), author Jayne Merkel (Eero Saarinen) and Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, provide perspectives.
    68 min
    Premiere date: December 27, 2016
    In the presence of Eric Saarinen.
    DCP screened at 2K at Cinema Andorra, Helsinki, 15.3.2017

Peter Rosen: "Explore the life of Finnish-American modernist architectural giant Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), whose visionary buildings include National Historic Landmarks such as St. Louis' iconic Gateway Arch and the General Motors Technical Center in Michigan. Saarinen also designed New York's TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, Yale University's Ingalls Rink and Morse and Stiles Colleges, Virginia's Dulles Airport, and modernist pedestal furniture like the Tulip chair. Travel with his son, director of photography Eric Saarinen, as he visits the sites of his father's work on a cathartic journey, shot in 6K with the latest in drone technology that showcases the architect's body of timeless work for the first time. Eero's sudden death at age 51 cut short one of the most influential careers in American architecture. Today, Saarinen's work stands apart and continues to inspire, especially amongst renewed interest in 20th-century architects and artists who exploded the comfortable constraints of the past to create a robust and daring American aesthetic. Produced and Directed by Peter Rosen. 68 minutes, 2016. Premiering December 2016 on PBS as part of the American Masters series." - Peter Rosen

AA: A documentary journey into the life and work of Eero Saarinen as discovered by his son Eric Saarinen. The story starts with the architectural competition of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (see image above) where both Eero and his father, Eliel Saarinen, participated. It was a big blow to Eliel that his son won. Eero's quest was about an archetypal form, as simple as the pyramid, yet expressing an optimism, an openness, a symbol of all that's new, but made to last a thousand years.

Eliel Saarinen had started in the current of National Romanticism, with a Finnish interpretation of Art Nouveau / Jugendstil (a beloved Eliel Saarinen landmark in Finland is the Helsinki Central Railway Station), but always moving forward. His son, the American architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) became known as a Neofuturist, but he, too, kept renewing himself. His life's work culminated in the grand decade of the 1950s, and many of his works were still being completed when he died of a brain tumour at age 51.

"I was only 19 when my father died", reveals Eric (born 26 June 1942). The making of this film is "a magical mystery tour". Eero had divorced from his first wife Lily with whom he had two children, Eric and Susan, and remarried with Aline when Eric was 12. Eric rejected his father like his father had rejected him. First now Eric is coming to terms with Eero's legacy.

We return to Eero Saarinen's birthplace, the Hvitträsk mansion "in the middle of nowhere" designed by the company Gesellius, Lindgren and Saarinen, later the home of Eliel Saarinen's family, today a museum and a beloved tourist spot 30 km to the west of Helsinki. In Eliel's time it was a cultural home where guests included Maxim Gorky, Gustav Mahler, and Jean Sibelius. There Eero learned to draw, and all his life he judged potential architects by their skill at the croquis drawing of a horse.

In 1922 when Eero was 13 the family moved to the U.S.A. where Eliel Saarinen became the dean of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Among the students were Charles and Ray Eames. In Cranbrook Eero was surrounded by beauty, the golden light of Eliel's buildings, and the presence of some Finnish gargoyles. At Cranbrook Eero got his first assignments. At the girls' school we get to marvel the archer symbolism, the main archer aiming to the sky ‒ not just high but vertically.

The structure of the film is a voyage. We travel to the great landmarks of Eero Saarinen's life: Hvitträsk in Finland, Cranbrook in Michigan, Detroit Center for Design and Technology, the Gateway Arch at St. Louis, General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, TWA Flight Center at the Kennedy Airport in New York, the Ingalls ice hockey rink ("The Whale") and Morse and Stiles colleges at Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), the Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C., and the CBS Building ("the Black Rock") in New York City.

It is a voyage in space to different cities and states. It is also a voyage into the spaces of the buildings themselves accomplished with the latest drone camera technology, recording in 6K. Although made for television, only a cinema screen can do full justice this film, the magnitude of its architectural scope.

But the movie is also a voyage in time and memory, and a voyage in search for a lost father. This multi-level voyage structure reminds me of an entirely different kind of film, Julien Duvivier's masterpiece Un carnet de bal which I recently happened to see.

Experts offer key insights to the Eero Saarinen legacy. "A rigorous sense of how you actually build that stuff". Architecture can convey excitement and engage emotionally (the Ingalls ice hockey rink). The mission was to create buildings for our time, worlds with their own flavour. A keyword for Eliel and Eero was "organic", always learning from the inspiration of nature's forms. Eero always resisted falling into a mold. His work as an architect was a fight versus gravity. He was re-inventing himself so thoroughly that his works seem like being designed by different architects. His buildings were more than utilitarian: they were almost a religion. He sought to fulfill a belief in the meaning of existence. Great architecture is both universal and individual.

Eric Saarinen grants us the privilege to see glimpses of the private life of the Saarinen family in rare home movie footage. There is also newsreel footage of Eliel's funeral in Hvitträsk in 1950.

This film is a tribute to the awesome legacy of Eero Saarinen and a touching personal journey by Eric Saarinen. Of the architectural films of the American Masters series I have seen Sydney Pollack's remarkable Sketches of Frank Gehry in whose distinguished class this film ranks. Comparisons are inevitable with Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect: A Son's Journey (2003, on the director's father Louis Kahn), but Eric Saarinen told us that it was not an influence and he had not even seen it.

Q&A WITH ERIC SAARINEN AFTER THE SCREENING

Eric told us that he has no personal favourite among the buildings designed by Eero Saarinen. "Every single one is so completely different."

"I never used any lights".

Eric emphasized the inspiration of nature for Eero Saarinen. "It is all based on nature. Natural forms. Grapefruit. An egg shell: the Kresge Auditorium at the MIT."

I asked about the home movies and the interest in general in films in the family. "Eero Saarinen loved movies, for instance The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. He made a movie about the TWA Flight Center and wondered whether he should have been a film-maker. My grandmother [Loja Saarinen, née Gesellius] made the home movies".

Eric Saarinen is a distinguished and award-winning American cinematographer who has studied film-making at the UCLA, shot films from Jimi Plays Berkeley to this movie, won the Grand Prix at Cannes Lion Festival for his ambitious commercials, and shot Symbiosis (1982) for the Walt Disney Epcot Center.

"I hadn't studied my father before. I turned down this movie. I hated him. He kicked us out. I really did not like my father. I changed my mind reading a high pile of books written about him. The fundamental philosophy can be found in Eliel Saarinen's book The Search for Form in Art and Architecture. Don't copy anyone else. Don't copy yourself. To the million of problems there are a million of solutions. To any problem you may face you can find the solution in nature. My next film I plan on Eliel".

BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK: FROM THE AMERICAN MASTERS WEBSITE:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tarfala



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

TARFALA

Johannes Östergård | [TFF: Finland, Germany] [actually: Sweden, Germany] 2016 | Documentary | 27 min
M: Viljam Nybacka.
Language: Swedish.
Featuring: Lars Häger

TFF: Far north of the arctic circle, right next to Sweden’s highest mountain, one old man has chosen to spend his life as a caretaker of a lonely hiking hut. Retreating to the cold arctic winter storms from obligations and everyday routines, he’s set on finding peace of mind with the life he has lived. What does a journey to find happiness look like, when life is not shared with friends and loved ones?

Kaukana napapiirin pohjoispuolella, heti Ruotsin korkeimman vuoren vieressä, eräs vanha mies on päättänyt viettää loppuelämänsä huolehtien yksinäisestä retkeilymajasta. Vetäytyessään velvollisuuksia ja arjen rutiineja pakoon kylmän napapiirin talvimyrskyjen keskelle hänen tavoitteenaan on löytää mielenrauha eletyn elämänsä suhteen. Millaiselta näyttää matka onnen löytämiseksi, kun elämää ei jaa ystävien tai rakkaiden kanssa?
TFF

AA: Tarfala is in the most northern part of Swedish Lapland. There lies Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden. Tarfala is also the site of the mightiest storms in Sweden, with winds so strong that they break wind meters.

A Tarfala fjällstuga, hikers' mountain hut, is the place where Lars Häger has settled down as a caretaker after retirement. He has grown-up children and not grown up grandchildren, but he lives alone in the middle of nowhere, taking care of everything and welcoming groups of ski hikers who arrive in groups hauled by snowmobiles.

There are ravishing views of the landscape in all kinds of weather and all hours of the day including in the moonlight. There are gorgeous shots of downhill skiing.

The phenomenon of nature mentioned in the title of Victor Sjöström's The Wind is a major force. The wind is an interesting motif for a film because it is invisible, and the film-maker's task is to make it visible. Here we have sound, unlike in Sjöström's silent classic, but we also see visible manifestations. The wind is physical and metaphysical.

Lars Häger does not feel lonesome. He states that the loneliest people are in big cities. He too once envisioned true life as being an owner of "villa and Volvo" but he has left all that behind.

The cinematography is magnificent both in epic long shots and lively close-ups recording the details of everyday life in the grim surroundings of the mountain winds of Lapland.

Transit Logistic Operation



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

TRANSIT LOGISTIC OPERATION

Jukka Lehtinen | Finland 2016 | Experimental, fiction | 2 min

TFF: During spring 2016, when the transportation of asylum seekers and immigrants to Turkey had begun, Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was interviewed for the news. He mentioned (if I remember correctly) that the transportation would be a mere logistic operation and would go well. A brilliant name for a film. In the film, people who have just stepped out of a truck march in line towards their next ride. Just so they can wait in the camp for another ride, or the return back to their country of origin.

Kevään 2016 aikana, turvapaikanhakijoiden ja maahanmuuttajien siirtojen alettua Turkkiin, pääministeri Sipilää haastateltiin uutisissa. Hän mainitsi (jos oikein muistan), että toiminta on vain logistinen operaatio, joka tulee sujumaan hyvin. Loistava nimi elokuvalle. Elokuvassa kuorma-autosta juuri nousseet, jonossa kävelevät ihmiset marssivat kohti seuraavaa autokyytiä. Odottamaan leiriile mahdollista seuraavaa kyytiä tai palautusta lähtömaahan
. TFF

AA: A comment on the refugee crisis. A single shot movie with a tracking movement on silhouettes of toy soldiers and characters.

Ovi / The Door


Ovi / The Door. Pentti (Olli Saramäki) is being stopped by Jussi (Samuli Niittymäki).

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

OVI
THE DOOR

Jenni Toivoniemi | Finland 2017 | Fiction | 9 min
C: Samuli Niittymäki (Jussi), Olli Saramäki (Pentti).

TFF: New father Jussi wakes up at night to strange sounds in the apartment building hallway. His fear and need to protect his family make him get up to investigate the cause of the sounds. Jussi encounters a homeless alcoholic, Pentti, who has just broken the window of the hallway door.

Tuore isä Jussi herää yöllä kolinaan rappukäytävässä. Pelko ja tarve suojella perhettä saavat hänet tutkimaan melun syytä. Jussi kohtaa kodittoman ja alkoholisoituneen Pentin, joka on juuri rikkonut rappukäytävän oven ikkunan
. TFF

AA: A story with a similarity to O. Henry's "The Cop and the Anthem", the film adaptation of which starred Charles Laughton as a bum who needs to get to jail by winter. Here the part is played by Olli Saramäki as a tramp who breaks the door of an apartment block, but when that offense is not big enough to qualify for a jail sentence, he beats up Jussi, the guy who had first alerted on him and then helped him to a bottle of beer. Well made, but the darkness of the image may be overdone.

Penelope (2016)



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

PENELOPE

Heta Jäälinoja | Estonia, Finland 2016 | Animation | 5 min

TFF: Doorbell rings. Someone is at the door. But everything’s a mess.

Penelope herää. Joku on ovella. Mutta täällä on hirveä sotku
. TFF

AA: A humoristic animation about a modern Penelope waking up as Ulysses is knocking. The comedy is about cleaning in record time until Penelope is ready to let the bedraggled hero inside. Funny gags. The style: Estonian school of animation.

Saatanan kanit / Fucking Bunnies



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

SAATANAN KANIT
FUCKING BUNNIES

Teemu Niukkanen | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 17 min

C: Jouko Puolanto (Raimo), Janne Reinikainen (Maki), Minna Suuronen (Kirsi), Arttu Kapulainen (Juhani).

TFF: Raimo is a middle-aged Finnish man living his cosy middle class life with his wife in the suburbs of Helsinki. His comfy bubble is burst when a satan worshipping sex cult moves in next door. After all, the cult leader, Maki, is a very nice and considerate person.Maki is always on the lookout for new friends, and being oblivious to Raimo’s subtle hints to keep his distance, he volunteers to be his squash partner. Trying to avoid sharing his squash slot with Maki, Raimo ends up living in a lie that gets him into trouble.

Raimo on keski-ikäinen suomalainen mies, joka elää mukavaa keskiluokkaista elämää Helsingin esikaupunkialueella vaimonsa kanssa. Hänen kodikas kuplansa puhkeaa, kun saatanpalvojien seksikultti muuttaa naapuriin. Kulttijohtaja Maki on mukava ja huomaavainen ihminen. Maki etsii aina uusia ystäviä, ja koska hän ei ymmärrä Raimon vaivihkaisia vihjeitä pysyä loitolla, hän ilmoittautuu miehen vapaa-ehtoiseksi squash-pariksi. Yrittäessään olla jakamatta squash-aikaansa Makin kanssa Raimo päätyy elämään valheellista elämää, joka johtaa hänet vaikeuksiin
. TFF

AA: A wacko comedy about the ordinary Raimo living in an ordinary apartment block with his wife Kirsi. Next door there is a new neighbour called Maki who poses as a satan worshipper but is actually a sex maniac with 18 wives or more. The funny angle is that Maki is extremely gentle, friendly and sociable while Raimo is rude, gloomy and inhibited.

Well made with good performances and a good sense of comedy.

Föda / Eating for Two



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

FÖDA
EATING FOR TWO

Mervi Junkkonen | Sweden 2016 | Documentary | 13 min
Language: Swedish.

TFF: A young woman who has suffered eating disorders half of her life suddenly gets pregnant. She faces the challenges of eating properly and staying healthy. An intimate story about balancing between motherhood and a difficult illness.

Raskaus yllättää nuoren naisen, joka on kärsinyt syömishäiriöistä puolet elämästään. Suurin haaste on syödä ja yrittää pysyä terveenä. Intiimi tarina äitiyden ja vaikean sairauden herättämistä ajatuksista. TFF

AA: An intimate diary of a young woman's pregnancy and motherhood, told as a first person narrative and visualized largely in extreme close-ups. While caring for the baby the woman processes her anorexia nervosa. "My identity: to keep surpassing myself". "A competition with yourself: how thin can you get without breaking?" "My sick me knows there is a healthy me inside". The baby changes her. "I am so full of love that I almost cannot stand it". "Because of my baby I will stay healthier".

A tender and lyrical confession.

Metsänuudistus / The Forest Renovation



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

METSÄNUUDISTUS
THE FOREST RENOVATION

Elina Renko | Finland 2016 | Experimental, Fiction | 5 min

TFF: The country has a dilemma. People need jobs, the forest needs to be taken care of. Should these two meet? And what about the old forests?

Maahan tarvitaan lisää työpaikkoja ja metsästäkin tulisi huolehtia. Voisivatko nämä kaksi kohdata? Entä vanhat metsät?
TFF

AA: A parodical, ironical, and satirical view of forest renovation in Finland. Received wisdoms about forestry gleefully spoofed by the film-makers.

Minun tieni, perkele / My Way, Damn It!



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 11
P36 | 10.3. FRI/PE 20:00 | PLEVNA 5
L15 | 11.3. SAT/LA 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

MINUN TIENI, PERKELE
MY WAY, DAMN IT!

Kati Laukkanen | Finland 2016 | Documentary | 13 min

TFF: Man. Pants. Woman. Skirt. Who is allowed to wear what? The answer hit Markus Kuotesaho, a junkyard entrepreneur from Siikajoki Finland, like a sledgehammer.

Mies. Housut. Nainen. Hame. Kuka saa pukea ylleen mitäkin? Siikajokelaiselle Markus Kuotesaholle vastaus tuli kuin lekan isku suoraan ohimoon
. TFF

AA: Markus has been working as a truck contructor, a ditch digger, and a farmer stand-in. He has collected a record amount of car wrecks, 88, on his backyard, for junk use. But the life of a small enterpreneur is all fucked up.

This famous junk dealer, a prototype of masculinity, is also a tranny. It was a big struggle and hard work at first to come out. Markus dresses as a woman only for himself, no matter what anybody thinks. He even indulges in karaoke in drag, and the song is "My Way". The last word: "perkele!".

Here We Come! Women Artists in Early Modernism (exhibition at Tampere Art Museum)


Greta Hällfors-Sipilä: Yö [Night]. 1931, watercolour, 32 x 24,8 cm, Helsinki Art Museum.

Sylvi Kunnas: Valtatiet [Highways], 1928. Book cover art to a collection of poems by the young Turks Mika Waltari and Olavi Paavolainen.

Here We Come! Women Artists in Early Modernism (exhibition)
Tampere Art Museum, 18th Feb – 28th May 2017
Curator: Riitta Konttinen
Exhibition manager: Tapani Pennanen
Visited on 11 March 2017 with a lecture by Riitta Konttinen.

The book to the exhibition:
Riitta Konttinen: Täältä tullaan! Naistaiteilijat modernin murroksessa. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Siltala, 2017. Printed: Dardedze Holografija. Hard cover. Fully illustrated. Only in Finnish. 312 p.

Tampere Art Museum: “Women artists appear to be completely absent from the accounts of Finnish art in the early 20th century” notes professor emerita Riitta Konttinen, the curator of the Here We Come! exhibition. Notions of art described as ’modernism’ have been regarded as a male domain.  In the early years of Finnish independence, it was also felt that women could not become artists with a message for the nation. Women artists were no longer awarded prizes as they had been at the end of the previous century, they received hardly any grants, and critics did not write about their work.

The Here We Come! exhibition asks why we know only a few Finnish women artists of the early 20th century, such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, Ester Helenius and Sigrid Schauman? The majority of art students, however, were women, many of them becoming professionals in the arts. What was the ‘black hole’ in which they disappeared, and why did this happen?

The women artists of the early 20th century include many interesting and unique artists, such as Elga Sesemann, Helmi Kuusi, Sylvi Kunnas, Greta Hällfors-Sipilä, Ina Colliander, Edith Wiklund, Martta Helminen, Meri Genetz, Inni Siegberg, Eva Törnwall-Collin, Aino von Boehm and Gunvor Grönvik.  They would test the boundaries of art, break the boundaries of form, experiment with colour and brushwork, and break up or flatten the visual space. This exhibition also considers, through the works of women artists, the conditions under which they operated in the early 20th century – their relationship with working in the studio, with Paris the city of great hopes, the new ideologies of art, the themes of art, war, the urban lifestyle, religion, family, the status of women and the identity of women artists
. Tampere Art Museum

AA: Riitta Konttinen's corpus is huge in research and curatorship of Finnish women artists and artist couples, in recent years including Ragni Cawén, artist couples, and women artists in the 19th century, among others.

The new Tampere Art Museum exhibition curated by her is based on remarkable detective work exposing systematic neglect of female artists from the early 1910s till the 1940s and offering a strong starting point for rediscovery. Entire forgotten oeuvres are being found in attics and cellars.

Established masters such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, and Sigrid Schauman have been always appreciated, but even such distinguished veterans had to fight against discrimination in the male dominated art world.

The way to start in the Tampere exhibition is to examine the self-portrait gallery of the artists at the entrance to the main floor. There are many portraits, including several of Elga Sesemann (who also figures on the poster and the book cover). Nobody is smiling.

Their looks are accusing.

This portrait gallery is a coup of curatorship. It also puts into perspective the most famous set of self-portraits in Finnish art history, the one by Helene Schjerfbeck. The saga of her changing face is also a record of oppression. Schjerfbeck's paintings now command seven figures in auctions, but she lived her life in poverty.

Helmi Kuusi: Tulitikkutyttö [The Little Match Girl], 1937, dry point, 16 x 15 cm. Kansallisgalleria, Ateneumin Taidemuseo. Helsinki.

Neglected artists on display include Elga Sesemann, Meri Genetz, Inni Siegberg, Helmi Kuusi, and Ina Colliander. But even from the established masters there are works here that are not among the best-known.

Greta Hällfors-Sipilä: Halle pelaa shakkia Wreden kanssa [Halle Plays Chess with Wrede], 1922, watercolour, 25,5 x 22,7 cm. Photo : Jari Kuusenaho / Tampereen taidemuseo.

A special favourite of mine is Greta Hällfors-Sipilä. Her works are figurative but she plays with perspective, indulges in touches of naivism, and adds a touch of surprise and humour, discovering something new in the ordinary, very often, like her husband Sulho Sipilä, painting over again the most familiar vicinity of her home on Laivurinrinne in Helsinki, facing St. John's Church and the nearby skating rink, near the Five Corners.

The exhibition is a revelation in itself, and it includes smaller revelations, such as Ester Helenius's portrait of the young Hella Wuolijoki from the year 1905, thirty years before she became a grande dame of the Finnish theatre as a playwright (and also a major figure in Finnish cinema with fine film adaptations based on her work directed by Valentin Vaala).

Another delightful detail is to discover in Riitta Konttinen's book an image of the gargoyles on the facade of the Pohjola house by Hilda Flodin from the year 1901. Those gargoyles loom large in Antti Peippo's film Seinien silmät / The Walls Have Eyes (1981) which we screened a week ago. I felt that Peippo may have included those faces in humoristic self-parody. Konttinen remarks that there may have been a caricatured resemblance with potentates of the Finnish art world of the day.

Riitta Konttinen's book to the exhibition is indispensable, an essential achievement in her work-in-progress. At least half of the works appearing in the book's illustrations are not on display in the exhibition.

Tampere Art Museum was crowded on this Saturday afternoon, and there was standing room only for Riitta Konttinen's lecture.

BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK: THE PRESS RELEASE BY TAMPERE ART MUSEUM:

Mulkku-Ulf / Everybody Hates Ulf



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

MULKKU-ULF
EVERYBODY HATES ULF

Ilona Hiltunen, Juulia Kalavainen | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 23 min

C: Sulevi Peltola (Mauri), Vesa Vierikko (Mulkku-Ulf), Tanja Heinänen (Terhi), Kristiina Halkola (Aino), Kari Parkkinen (Ilkka), Eero Melasniemi (Tauno).

TFF: Selfish Ulf, 71, is shocked when his only friend, Mauri, informs on his deathbed that Ulf is a Prick. In order to inherit Mauri’s estate, Ulf must organise a party that will have at least one guest. Can Ulf find a guest for his party?

Itsekeskeinen Ulf, 71, järkyttyy, kun hänen ainoa ystävänsä, Mauri, ilmoittaa kuolinvuoteellaan Ulfin olevan mulkku. Saadakseen Maurin omaisuuden perinnöksi Ulfin on järjestettävä juhlat, johon tulee edes yksi juhlavieras. Löytääkö Ulf juhliinsa vieraan?
TFF

AA: A character-driven comedy based on the performance of Vesa Vierikko with a top cast.

Despicable Ulf has no redeeming features.

The dying Mauri's last word to his only friend Ulf: "dick".

A well made stylized comedy about a hateful man. Even Aku his pet snail escapes from a little greenhouse. While struggling to invite people to his party Ulf succeeds in making even worse enemies of them. He finally arranges the party required anyway. At first only his physiotherapist and the ghost of Mauri are in attendance. When Tauno comes he only survives for 45 seconds.

But the pet snail Aku returns... only to be eaten by Ulf. No ray of hope in this black comedy.

Blessings (2016)



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

BLESSINGS

Lisa Myllymäki | Finland 2016 | Documentary | 13 min

TFF: Julia Vuorinen is a 16-year-old girl, who uses social media just like every other young person in the 2010s. Her smartphone is an integral part of her days, from when she wakes up to when she goes to sleep. The documentary follows Julia’s everyday life and observes what kind of content she shares on social media and how it affects her life. The film takes a look at the life of a young girl, and offers a realistic view of our modern times.

Julia Vuorinen on 16-vuotias tyttö, joka käyttää sosiaalista mediaa kuin kuka tahansa nuori 2010-luvulla. Älypuhelin on tiiviisti mukana päivän tapahtumissa, aina aamun ensimmäisistä hetkistä illan viimeisiin. Dokumentissa seurataan Julian tavallista arkea ja tarkkaillaan samalla millaista sisältöä hän sosiaalisessa mediassa jakaa sekä miten se vaikuttaa hänen elämäänsä. Blessings kertoo yhden ihmisen tarinan, joka voisi toisaalta olla tänä päivänä kenen tahansa. Se on kurkistus nuoren tytön elämään, näyttäen samalla tämän ajan kuvaa hyvin realistisesti
. TFF

AA: A day in the life at home, at school and in the social media of three girlfriends. They are Finnish, but their social media communication is in English, with the pertinent abbreviations and emojis (see image above), in Snapchat and Instagram. The trio spends a lot of time taking selfies and editing them. They spend more time looking at their mobile phones than at each other. A portrait of the time.

Otila Magic Blues



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

OTILA MAGIC BLUES

Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki | Finland 2016 | Experimental, documentary | 23 min

Theme song: "Otila Magic Blues".

TFF: An experimental and episodic movie about my roots, my dreams, my experiences and my philosophy.

Kokeellinen ja episodimainen elokuva juuristani, unelmistani, kokemuksistani ja filosofiastani
. TFF

AA: A completely different new film from the wizard of the Finnish underground 8 mm cinema, Pasi "Sleeping" Myllymäki. Wise, witty and compelling.

"If you are different don't fix it but discover it" (motto of the movie).

"I am a very ordinary farmer's son from Finland." The first part of the movie is largely a remembrance of the rural past. "I have just turned 65. Tragic, not because I'm no longer young, but because I am no longer mad."

Otila Magic Blues is mostly a straight documentary record, but mixed with abstract images, negative footage, and psychedelic inserts.

"More important than finding one's way is to find the one who travels it."

"Never a man of the golden mean, I am the one who takes the path seldom taken."

"My grandfather's medicine to the creaking door: the essence from a bull's testicles."

"He said also that it is the stupid one who wants to talk."

"Few will understand my inverse irony."

"Is life a distressing race? Certainly not".

We are taken to the secret power spring in the forest revealed by grandfather. The water still works miracles, changing the colour of Pasi's car and making a sturdy barn built by the grandfather fly into the sky.

I particularly like the first movements of this film.

Kukista ja mehiläisistä / About the Birds and the Bees



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

KUKISTA JA MEHILÄISISTÄ
ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES

J. J. Vanhanen | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 12 min

C: Juha Uutela (dad), Mikko Kauppila (son), Saana Koivisto (Mari), Aksu Piippo (Mari's father, a policeman).

TFF: A quiet farmer father and his son set out on a trip to the pharmacy after the teen has a little accident with his girlfriend.

Jäyhä maanviljelijäisä ja hänen poikansa joutuvat yhteiselle apteekkimatkalle, kun teinillä sattuu pieni vahinko tytön kanssa
. TFF

AA: A humoristic rural tale of a "love accident" of the young son of the house and his girlfriend Mari. Well made, with funny dialogue, good performances, a sense of comic timing, and funny visual solutions, including a well judged use of the long shot.

Teräväreunaisten siirtymämerkkien surullinen laulu / Sad Song of the Hard Edge Transition Wipe Markers


Teräväreunaisten siirtymämerkkien surullinen laulu / Sad Song of the Hard Edge Transition Wipe Markers. Part III.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

TERÄVÄREUNAISTEN SIIRTYMÄMERKKIEN SURULLINEN LAULU
SAD SONG OF THE HARD-EDGE TRANSITION WIPE MARKERS

Mika Taanila | Finland 2017 | Experimental, animation | 3 min

TFF: Early 1950s newsreel laboratory marker films used for indicating effects like wipes, dissolves and fade-outs in the work print, now freed from their utilitarian practice.

1950-luvun uutisfilmeissä käytetyt tekniset laboratorio-merkinnät vapautuvat alkuperäisestä rationaalisesta funktiostaan
. TFF

AA: From the Finnish wizard of artists' cinema Mika Taanila, a new work of material cinema, making visible the element of film-making intended to remain invisible for everybody except the laboratory staff. Based on markers used by the Lii-Filmi company in the 1950s, this is a study in three parts of looping, changing patterns, and the rhythms of repetition of those markers. With an industrial soundtrack. A meta film, a meditation on perception.

Mika Taanila's new filmic foray into epistemology, turning the look into the act of perception itself.

Au pair (2017)



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 10
P32 | 10.3. FRI/PE 12:00 | PLEVNA 5
L13 | 11.3. SAT/LA 14:00 | PLEVNA 2

AU PAIR

Mark Ståhle, Tatu Pohjavirta | Finland 2017 | Animation | 13 min

TFF: Woman becomes an Au pair for a single man’s cardboard family.

Nainen ryhtyy au pairiksi sinkkumiehen pahviperheelle
. TFF

AA: An animation with strong and rough outlines and simple and stark colour spaces.

The man has printed out a cardboard family with his 3D printer and seeks an au pair girl for his token family. But tables turn in the end.

A grotesque story of alienation and objectification in a world where everything is expendable.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Pimein hetki / The Darkness Moment



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2
Duration/kesto: 95 min
PIMEIN HETKI
THE DARKNESS MOMENT
Oskari Sipola | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 25 min

C: Laura Malmivaara (Elina), Ella Lymi (Anette), Kristo Salminen (Mikko), Peter Kanerva (Antero), Timo Tuominen (Tuomo), Peter Limón (Harri).

TFF: Elina’s suspicions arise when her 16-year-old daughter Anette buys clothes that she shouldn’t be able to afford.

Elinan epäilykset heräävät kun hänen 16-vuotias tyttärensä Anette ostaa vaatteita joihin hänellä ei pitäisi olla varaa
. TFF

AA: A taut short drama of the single mother Elina (Laura Malmivaara) who turns into a detective discovering that her 16 year old daughter Anette (Ella Lymi) is prostituting herself. She spies on Anette's computer, uses security cameras and catches her in flagrante with her boyfriend customer.

Well made and well acted with wider implications about today's generation gap, the ubiquity of surveillance and the abuse of young girls and women where there is also an isssue of complicity. Protecting Anette Elina is seemingly her enemy.

Finlandia-katsaus no. 701 / Finlandia Review 701


Finlandia-katsaus no. 701. "I will fuck your daughters in the ass". A contemporary racist slur from the internet inserted into a historical signboard.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2
Duration/kesto: 95 min
FINLANDIA-KATSAUS NO. 701
FINLANDIA-REVIEW 701
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen | Finland 2017 | Documentary | 14 min

TFF: Welcome to centenarian Finland!

Tervetuloa satavuotiaaseen Suomeen!
TFF

AA: In 1964 Aito Mäkinen (1927-2017) directed the last official Finlandia-Katsaus newsreel - number 700 - produced by the Suomi-Filmi company.

Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen have now produced an ironical sequel 53 years later, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence.

The visuals are mostly a collage of the worst nationalistic excesses from the historical footage of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation. Towards the end there are increasingly passages of contemporary visual material.

The soundtrack is mostly modern. We hear a sound montage of today's nationalistic and racist comments. Corruption, hate speech and Neo-Nazism are included. Contemporary racist slurs copied from the internet are inserted into historical signboards (image above).

From much of the vintage material negatives and other brilliant sources exist, but in this film the historical footage looks duped and deformed, maybe even with artificial scratches.

Drag Me to Kempele



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2
Duration/kesto: 95 min
DRAG ME TO KEMPELE
Samuli Alapuranen | Finland 2017 | Experimental, documentary | 8 min

TFF: Kempele is a grey hole located in the northern part of Finnish Ostrobothnia. It neither pulls in or pushes away the flow of traffic that trickles through it via the E4 motorway. It is ordinary. It is flat. It is very difficult to come up with any more adjectives describing it. Drag Me to Kempele is a portrait of a mediocre town where people shop, exercise or drive through on their way to North or South.

Kempele on Pohjois-Pohjanmaalla sijaitseva harmaa aukko. Se ei vedä puoleensa eikä hylji sen läpi valuvaa nelostien liikennevirtaa. Se on tavallinen. Se on tasainen. Siitä on vaikea keksiä enempää adjektiiveja. Drag me to Kempele on kuvaus keskinkertaisesta paikkakunnasta, jossa käydään kaupassa, harrastetaan urheilua ja jonka läpi ajetaan matkalla pohjoiseen tai etelään
. TFF

AA: A meditative vision on Kempele, a municipality near Oulu by the sea (the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea). This is a film without living beings. We see shells of cars and carcasses of a fox and a pike. The movement is slow, much of the footage is shot in extreme high angle with a drone camera. A film about a thoroughfare, a space of passage, a site of transit. The colour is autumn bleak, "there'll be no sunshine in my life", the music is calm and meditative.

Ei yhteyttä / No Connection


Ei yhteyttä / No Connection. Joni Leponiemi as Matti.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2
Duration/kesto: 95 min
EI YHTEYTTÄ
NO CONNECTION
Risto-Pekka Blom | Finland 2017 | Fiction | 16 min

TFF: Falling down due to a personal tragedy may save a person from themselves. Matti has drifted into a double life, unable of taking responsibility for his actions and their effects on those close to him.

Henkilökohtaisesta tragediasta johtuva romahtaminen voi pelastaa ihmisen häneltä itseltään. Matti on ajautunut kaksoiselämään eikä kykene ottamaan vastuuta teoistaan tai niiden vaikutuksista hänen läheisiinsä
. TFF

AA: A well made drama of the double life of Matti with two families. Everybody literally falls down when he is exposed. A miniature tragedy with good performances and touches of magical realism as Matti tries to end everything by crashing his car towards a base station.

Radio Dolores


Radio Dolores: Arvo is leaving Tampere to join the International Brigade in Spain in 1937. He leaves behind his wife and son.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2
Duration/kesto: 95 min
RADIO DOLORES
Katariina Lillqvist | Finland, Czech Republic 2016 | Animation | 18 min

Narrator: Jotaarkka Pennanen.
Beautiful soundtrack with e.g. Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers: "¡Ay Manuela!" (1943).

TFF: Radio Dolores is a puppet animation documentary of the everyday lives of shoe factory workers in 1930s Tampere. It tells the story of stove room rebels, the illegal radio transmitters of cold attics, and shoemaker Arvo, who disappeared in the Spanish Civil War and left his son only an accordion and a ticket to the jail in Malaga.

Radio Dolores on dokumentaarinen nukkeanimaatio tamperelaisen kenkätehtaan työläisten arjesta 1930-luvulla. Se kertoo hellahuoneiden kapinallisista, kylmien vinttien laittomista radiovastaanottimista sekä Espanjan sisällissodassa kadonneesta suutarista Arvosta joka jätti pojalleen perinnöksi vain haitarin ja matkalipun Malagan poliisivankilaan
. TFF

AA: A masterpiece by Katariina Lillqvist, a poet in Finnish puppet animation, usually based in the Czech Republic, continuing the great tradition of Jiří Trnka and Jan Švankmajer.

Radio Dolores is a story of Finnish solidarity to the Spanish Republicans in 1936-1939. A story of solidarity as a matter of life and death. Even the ones who listened to illegal radio channels risked being sentenced to prison. Told as a first person narrative by the son of Arvo who disappered in Malaga having joined the international brigades in 1937 and whose wife was put to prison having listened to Radio Dolores. The son travels to Andalusia in the 1960s in search of Arvo and is also put to jail having played "¡Ay Manuela!" on the accordeon.

The Finnish milieu is the great Aaltonen shoe factory where Arvo meets his wife. She has started there at the age of 12, and her lungs are getting poisoned by shoe sole glues. The Aaltosen Kenkätehdas factory (1889-1984) was still a big presence in the 1970s when as a student even I once had a summer job there.

Radio Dolores is a beautiful piece of proletarian folklore, a display of the true heart of the international workers' movement.

Tulivuori / Volcano


Tulivuori. Kaisa Koskenkorva as the woman who calls her ex-lover.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

TULIVUORI
VOLCANO
YELLOWSTONE
Lauri-Matti Parppei | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 9 min

TFF: A former couple talk with each other for the first time after their separation and one short telephone call embodies their years together.

Pois muuttaessaan nuori nainen soittaa sille, jonka kanssa ennen asui
. TFF

AA: Tulivuori by Lauri-Matti Parppei belongs to the difficult tradition of "La Voix humaine" of Jean Cocteau. Here it is about a couple who has separated a while ago. The woman has left him, and now she would want to meet him again, but he refuses.

She mentions the volcano Yellowstone. If it would erupt, there would be nuclear winter. With whom would you want to spend the last moments of your life?

Tender and intense, well acted by Kaisa Koskenkorva and Ilari Pulli. The man is mostly only heard as a voice on the telephone. An original interpretation of an eternal theme.

Embrace



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 9
T34 | 9.3. THU/TO 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
P15 | 10.3. FRI/PE 18:00 | PLEVNA 2

EMBRACE
Timo Wright | Finland 2016 | Experimental, fiction | 5 min

TFF: An abandoned house, furniture strewn around, discarded. Slowly, red smoke starts to pour in through the doors. Eventually the whole house is engulfed with the smoke that hides everything from our sight.

Hylätty puutalo, täynnä yksinäisiä huonekaluja. Hitaasti punainen savu rupeaa valumaan sisään ovista. Lopulta koko talo on peittynyt savuun. TFF

AA: A meditation on space and vision. The deserted house is filled with smoke which engulfs everything. The shots are static with no camera movement. There is a gentle, string dominated score on the soundtrack.

Golgata / Golgotha



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5

GOLGATA
GOLGOTHA
Ulla Heikkilä | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 28 min

C: Nuua Kosminen (Inari), Irina Pulkka (Minna), Janne Reinikainen (Elias), Alva Pulkkinen (Kerttu).

Juho Milonoff (Antero), Marjaana Maijala (Sara), Myrsky Moila (Vertti), Verne Viitala (Väinö), Ona Kamu (Jatta), Marc Gassot (Peter), Alina Tomnikov (Mila), Vera Paasilinna (Frida), Vilma Salmi (balloon seller).

Songs include: "Vappulaulu" (Toivo Kuula, Larin-Kyösti) perf. Ylioppilaskunnan laulajat joht. Pasi Hyökki 2013. "Lopun runoelma" (Tytti Arola, Marina Tsvetayeva) perf. Ona Kamu. "Ev'ry Night and Ev'ry Day" (Jimmy Reed, Aira Puurtinen) perf. Honey B and T-Bones. "Our Father Which Art in Heaven" (trad. arr. Don Robey) perf. Original Five Blind Boys (Jackson Harmoneers), 1950.

TFF: 10-year-old Inari is preparing for the traditional May Day celebrations with her enthusiastic mother and reluctant father. In order to ensure an enjoyable evening for everyone Inari decides to make a deal with God.

Kymmenvuotias Inari valmistautuu perinteiseen vapunpäivän juhlintaan innostuneen äitinsä ja vastahakoisen isänsä kanssa. Taatakseen kaikille mukavan illan Inari päättää tehdä sopimuksen Jumalan kanssa
. TFF

AA: A tragicomical May Day party at a home with artistic friends. The dysfunctional father (Janne Reinikainen) is suffering from writer's block and to his horror learns that the subject of his great project, The Wandering Jew, is being adopted by others for an imminent production at the National Theatre. All this is seen from the viewpoint of the teenage daughter Inari who has made a pact with God, but her disappointment in the result is infinite. Music is important in this performance-driven film by a strong cast, especially "The Poem of the End" by Marina Tsvetayeva sung by Ona Kamu.

The title of the film refers to the way of both father and daughter.

Overlook



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5

OVERLOOK

Pink Twins | Finland 2017 | Experimental, animation | 6 min

TFF: Impossible architecture, an ancient burial ground and a lure for psychotic janitors were the building blocks of Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. In this story vignette, chaos animators Pink Twins add zero gravity and a rupture in space-time continuum to the mix and serve a taster of subtle cosmic horror.

Mahdoton arkkitehtuuri, muinainen hautausmaa ja henkisesti epävakaat kausityöntekijät ovat elementtejä, jotka yhdistyvät Overlook-hotellissa Stanley Kubrickin Hohdossa. Animaatiovinjetissään Pink Twins sekoittaa mukaan painovoiman ja tila-aika-jatkumon häiriöt ja keittää kokoon hienovaraisen annoksen kosmista kauhua. – See more at: http://www.av-arkki.fi/teokset/overlook/#sthash.SuXtYo8V.dpuf
  TFF

AA: A tribute to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, we see the "redrum" wall of blood of Overlook Hotel. The Pink Twins continue to apocalyptic visions of their own. A cosmic nightmare.

Sore Eyes for Infinity



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
Duration/kesto: 93 min

SORE EYES FOR INFINITY

Elli Vuorinen | Finland 2016 | Animation | 12 min

TFF: An optician comes face to face with a collection of curious clients during her workday.

Optikko kohtaa työpäivänsä aikana joukon eriskummallisia asiakkaita
. TFF

AA: Elli Vuorinen, one of the finest Finnish animation artists (Benigni, 2009, Sukkavartaankatu 8, 2013), is at her best here.

The sense of rhythm, mood, and the dream mode are assured. There is a constant sense of wonder at the inventions of the story. The visual world is beautifully stylized, and the colour world is pleasing.

The protagonist is a female optician whose customers include an old lady with broken glasses, a monkey buying a box of red-green 3D glasses, an ancient man who needs a telescope, a little boy who steals, and a sexy woman who buys contact lenses. A blind man keeps walking past the shop, and when he drops his dark glasses, the optician follows him, meeting his customers at their preoccupations on the way, including the monkey who runs a sex show; she cuts his wrist and keeps the monkey's paw. The shadows of the optician and the blind man join in the finale, and there are cosmic and psychedelic colour visions that we have learned to associate with sex appeal.

More than well made, Sore Eyes for Infinity is a reminder of the potential of animation for limitless imagination.

Todella kiihottavaa / Sexy as Hell



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5
Duration/kesto: 93 min

TODELLA KIIHOTTAVAA
SEXY AS HELL

Kimmo Taavila | Finland 2016 | Fiction | 10 min

TFF: When an accounting company moves, it’s CEO gets an opportunity to display her awesome management skills.

Kun kirjanpitoyritys muuttaa, sen toimitusjohtaja saa tilaisuuden esitellä mahtavia johtamistaitojaan
. TFF

AA: To the sound of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" a satirical sketch of a boss queen about to close a wonderful deal. She drives the moving van herself, losing all the office equipment on the way. There is a sharp touch in comic timing and acting, and the cinematography is excellent, but might the satirical angle on a woman boss and driver feel a tad tired.

Vasile



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5

VASILE

Sakari Suuronen | Romania 2017 | Documentary | 23 min

TFF: Poling hay, funerals, and recording village events. A portrait of a peasant, who stopped time.

Heinän seivästystä, hautajaisia ja kylän tapahtumien tallentamista. Muotokuva talonpojasta, joka pysäytti ajan
. TFF

AA: A beautiful documentary of the farmer Vasile Oanea who lives as a single and performs the traditional farming and household chores while also recording everything that happens in the village with his camera. "You never get bored with good people". He records a village funeral and the renovation of the church. He listens to a radio programme on shyness. He finishes a huge task of archiving all his images organized according to themes and dates. We also see his kindness to the nature, releasing a little bird and observing a butterfly. A classical style documentary well made.

Sex at the Ski Center / Seksiä hiihtokeskuksessa



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5

SEX AT THE SKI CENTER
SEKSIÄ HIIHTOKESKUKSESSA

Heikki Ahola | Finland 2017 | [Experimental, documentary] [I would call this puppet animation]| 3 min

TFF: When it`s cold outside, it gets hot at the ski center.

Vaikka ulkona on kylmä, nousee lämpö hiihtokeskuksessa
. TFF

AA: A puppet animation about what really goes on at the ski center. Teddy bears, toy monkeys and rabbit dolls engage in gentle sex acts to a soundtrack of a brass band and moans of fulfillment.

Henki / Breath



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 8
P13 | 10.3. FRI/PE 14:00 | PLEVNA 2
L34 | 11.3. SAT/LA 16:00 | PLEVNA 5

HENKI
BREATH

Fanni Niemi-Junkola | Finland 2016 | Experimental, documentary | 12 min

TFF: Presence, body, power, pulse. The image of a horse is loaded with a variety of meanings in mythology, sports and arts. I deal with the co-existence of the animal and the human and its boundaries, the consumption yet the need of seeking connection to oneself via nature.

Läsnäolo, keho, voima, pulssi. Kuva hevosesta on merkityksillä ladattu mytologiassa, urheilussa ja taiteessa. Käsittelen eläimen ja ihmisen symbioosia ja sen rajoja, kulutusta sekä tarvetta etsiä yhteyttä itseen luonnon kautta. TFF

AA: A triple screen film on the joy of movement with a young woman on a horse. Wordless, with meditative music only.

Isäni tähtien takaa / My Father from Sirius


Isäni tähtien takaa / My Father from Sirius. The director Einari Paakkanen with his father, testing with a divining rod whether there is a place of cosmic energy there.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 7

P11 | 10.3. FRI/PE 10:00 | PLEVNA 2 |
Language/kieli: Eng/Fin

ISÄNI TÄHTIEN TAKAA
MY FATHER FROM SIRIUS

Einari Paakkanen | Finland 2016 | Documentary | 84 min

TFF: Einari’s childhood could have been just like any other Finnish boy’s. His father Veikko worked a normal job in a small town’s tax office, and his mother was a journalist. Everything changed when Einari was 12 years old; father Veikko became enlightened, announcing that he was a messenger between the Earth and outer space. He said he saw aliens, could contact the beyond, and possessed paranormal healing abilities. Einari and Veikko became a team, for whom the entire universe was wide open. Now, 25 years later, Einari confronts his father with his suspicions.

Einarin lapsuus olisi voinut olla kuten muidenkin suomalaisten poikien. Isä Veikko kävi normaalisti töissä pikkukaupungin verotoimistossa ja äiti työskenteli toimittajana. Kaikki muuttui Einarin ollessa 12-vuotias; isä Veikko koki valaistumisen ilmoittaen olevansa Maan ja ulkoavaruuden välinen sanansaattaja. Hän kertoi näkevänsä avaruusolentoja, pystyen ottamaan yhteyttä tuonpuoleiseen ja omaavansa yliluonnollisia parannustaitoja. Einarista ja Veikosta tuli tiimi, jolle koko maailmankaikkeus oli avoinna. Nyt, 25 vuotta myöhemmin, Einari kohtaa isänsä epäilyksillään. TFF

AA: The film director Einari Paakkanen's first person narrative of his journey to the past. In 1992 his life changed when his father Veikko experienced a spiritual awakening. He started to receive messages from outer space. He was able to see in the future and the past. He turned into a miracle healer. He learned automatic writing. He had encounters with UFOs. He acquired a sensitivity to cosmic energy fields. He had a way with energy stones. He learned to understand the power of chaga mushrooms to cure cancer.

The main story takes place in the present, but there is a lot of home movie footage with which we keep returning to the past.

The incredulous director keeps wondering how he could face his father with the fact that he himself does not believe in these things. His father has been a superhero, and now he turns into an ordinary man.

We learn also important background information. The director's grandfather was a war veteran who was psychically broken in the war and started to drink afterwards. In reaction to that Veikko decided on abstinence. His mission was also to save his father in the spirit world. It is important to praise a man in his lifetime. If one fails to do that, one can try to rectify things afterwards.

In 1992 Veikko's wife, the director's mother, was in Nicaragua during the earthquake and the tsunami and was barely saved. That may also have had an impact in Veikko's profound change. The mother herself says that she has always had her feet firmly on the ground while Veikko has had his head in the clouds. "We both help weak ones".

One inexplicable experience remains. Einari remembers one evening when father came home and seemed like dozens of years younger, as young as Einari himself. They were like brothers. There was a burning hot stove. Veikko put his hand on it, but there were no signs of burns when he took his hand off. Veikko was shocked and felt that evil spirits from another dimension had tried to get him.

Nevertheless, finally Einari finds the courage to tell Veikko that he does not believe. There is no breakdown, but the relationship between Einari and Veikko changes forever. Things become ordinary. Life goes on.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Good Postman



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 5
T15 | 9.3. THU/TO 18:00 | PLEVNA 2 |
Language/kieli: Eng/Fin | Duration/kesto: 82 min

THE GOOD POSTMAN
HYVÄ POSTIMIES

Tonislav Hristov | Finland, Bulgaria 2016 | Documentary | 82 min
© 2016 Making Movies / Soul Food.

TFF: A small and dying Bulgarian village facing the Turkish border is preparing for mayoral elections. At nights asylum seekers sneak in causing fear and unrest. The Great Gate, as the village has been called for centuries, has become the loophole of Europe. Two men decide to challenge the indifferent sitting mayor and run for mayor. They have different agendas; one wants to turn the village back to life by welcoming refugees, another wants to close down the border and turn back time to communism. They both soon learn that while good intentions are not enough, even the smallest deeds matter.

Pieni ja kuoleva bulgarialainen kylä Turkin rajalla valmistautuu pormestarinvaaleihin. Öisin turvapaikanhakijat hiipivät kylään, mikä aiheuttaa pelkoa ja levottomuutta. Mahtavasta portista, kuten kylää on kutsuttu jo vuosisatojen ajan, on tullut porsaanreikä Eurooppaan. Kaksi miestä päättää haastaa välinpitämättömän pormestarin ja pyrkiä itse hänen paikalleen. Heidän agendansa eroavat toisistaan: toinen haluaa elävöittää kylän toivottamalla pakolaiset tervetulleeksi, toinen taas haluaa sulkea rajat ja palata takaisin kommunismin aikakauteen. Molemmat miehet oppivat pian, että vaikka hyvät aikeet eivät aina riitä, pienimmilläkin teoilla on merkitystä
. TFF

AA: There is a confident sense of atmosphere in The Good Postman which takes place at "The Great Gate" to Europe, a sleepy village on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, where Turkey extends into the European continent. The European migrant crisis began in 2015. The flood of refugees electrifies the village where a decision is imminent: to try to return to the past or to look ahead into the future.

The assured touch, the intensity in the account of everyday life, and the compelling tempo make this an engaging film. The Good Postman represents a new level of achievement from the director Tonislav Hristov from whom I have seen previously Sinkkuelämän säännöt and Love & Engineering.

While watching The Good Postman I was occasionally thinking about Zaza Urushadze's masterpiece Tangerines (2013) because of the pastoral tranquillity and the sense of a turbulence beneath. The juxtaposition of ordinary life and the vicinity of a great global disaster brings to mind Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare.

The mise-en-scène in the scope format is often fine, as are the dynamics in the composition of light in certain memorable shots. The visual approach is clear and solid. There are ravishing shots of the landscape.

The questions emerging are big: are the refugees a threat or are they the future?

Towards the finale there is more and more alarming news about tragedies related to refugee smuggling. The good postman who has so far duly reported his sightings of refugees to the police now resolves not to do so.

The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes


Andrei Nekrasov the investigative journalist as the incredulous hero of his film The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes.

Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 3

T31 | 9.3. THU/TO 10:00 | PLEVNA 5 | alk. / from 8 €

In English and Russian.

THE MAGNITSKY ACT – BEHIND THE SCENES
MAGNITSKIN LAKI – KULISSIEN TAKANA

Andrei Nekrasov | [TFF: Norway] [Norway / Finland / Denmark] 2016 | Documentary | 153 min
© 2016 Piraya Films AS / Illume Oy / Wingman Media APS
Theme song: "Замучен тяжелой неволей" (обр. Л. Шульгина - Г. Мачтет, 1876) / "Sait kärsiä puolesta aatteen" / "Slavery and Suffering" sung by the Red Army Choir.

TFF: What started as a drama about a Russian police plot to steal a billion dollars from a US financier and to murder his faithful tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, has become a real life investigation of contradicting versions of the crime. The Magnitsky Case is central for the policy of blacklisting bad guys from Putin’s Russia (“Magnitsky List”), which was then adopted by the West in retaliation for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Shockingly for the film’s director, dissident and Putin basher Andrei Nekrasov, the official Western story turns out to have serious flaws.

Draama, joka alkoi venäläisten poliisien juonesta varastaa miljardi dollaria amerikkalaiselta sijoittajalta ja murhata hänen uskollinen veroasianajajansa Sergei Magnitski, muuttuu todelliseksi tutkimukseksi rikoksen ristiriitaisista tulkinnoista. Magnitskin tapaus on keskeinen linjaukselle laittaa Putinin Venäjän rikolliset mustalle listalle (”Magnistkin lista”), jonka länsimaat ottivat käyttöön kostona Venäjän toimille Ukrainassa. Elokuvan ohjaaja, toisinajattelija ja Putinin solvaaja Andrei Nekrasov tyrmistyy saadessaan selville, että lännen virallinen tarina sisältääkin vakavia puutteita. TFF

AA: A mix of documentary and fiction. Much of the first movement of the film is a fictional reconstruction executed in thriller mode with sex and violence and gory detail.

A volte-face happens in Andrei Nekrasov's film as stunning as in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The melodramatic mode of the first movement makes the peripeteia particularly shocking.

This film is famous for this fact that it starts as an illustration of the official story behind the Magnitsky Act but there is a U-turn in the investigation at about 45 minutes when Nekrasov starts to look into the documents in detail.

Sergei Magnitsky was lethally maltreated in Butyrka prison, but Nekrasov's investigation leads to the conclusion that William Browder and Sergei Magnitsky were the culprits to the massive fraud they claimed to have exposed.

I remain puzzled. Forged documents are ubiquitous in this story, and I choose to doubt everything.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Suomi radalla / Just Can't Stop



Tampere Film Festival
Kotimainen kilpailu 2

K17 | 8.3. WED/KE 22:00 | PLEVNA 2 | alk. / from 8 €

Language/kieli: Eng/Fin | Duration/kesto: 115 min

SUOMI RADALLA
JUST CAN’T STOP

Jay Kowski, Tiina Hiekkaranta | Finland 2017 | Documentary | 59 min

TFF: This documentary film is about Finnish graffiti culture. The film introduces Finnish graffiti bombers, writers and artists, illuminating their philosophy and ideology. The film presents graffiti phenomenon in Finnish society, it’s evolution from 80’s till today, from streets to museums and eventually towards to more civilized forms of art.

Dokumenttielokuva Suomi radalla on tarina suomalaisen katutaide- ja graffitikulttuurin kehityksestä kaduilta galleriaan. Elokuva esittelee tekijöiden ideologiaa, erilaisia näkemyksiä ja kohtaloita muuttuvassa yhteiskunnassa. TFF

AA: A lively history of the Finnish graffiti culture.

Told by the graffiti masters themselves with additional views of graffiti historians and graffiti-friendly politicians (Paavo Arhinmäki), gallerists (Umut Kiukas), and museum directors (Maija Tanninen of the Helsinki Art Museum). No enemies of graffiti are interviewed.

The basic dialectics is between legal vs. illegal. Many graffiti people see graffiti illegal in essence, and legal graffiti as a sell-out. Becoming a part of the establishment is seen as the death of graffiti by the hard core of the movement.

This is why many of the contributions are anonymous, and even the male director's name is a pseudonym. Voices are altered, and faces are disguised in the most ingenuous ways with masking, blurring, etc. Certainly it seems that the film-makers are very deep in the secret world of graffiti.

The danger, the excitement, and the risks are palpable. The main approach is the commando attack. Even paranoia belongs to the general graffiti experience.

The film covers the different waves in the society's attitudes to graffiti: from a generally benevolent start to zero tolerance and to the present more sophisticated attitude of tolerance within accepted limits.

This film about hip-hop culture is itself a part of it. It uses the vocabulary of hip-hop video with scratched images, video static, jarring edit, split screen, video effects, and animation.

There was just an indicated space for the missing final credits in the screener I viewed.