Friday, February 27, 1998

Le Doulos

072162 / 18 / FR / 1962 / Melville, Jean-Pierre / thriller
Doulos, Le / Ilmiantaja. © Rome-Paris-Films. P: Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard. D+SC: Jean-Pierre Melville - based on the novel by Pierre Lesou. DP: Nicolas Hayer. M: Paul Misraki; piano M: Jacques Loussier. CAST: Jean-Paul Belmondo (Silien), Serge Reggiani (Maurice Faugel), Jean Desailly (Inspector Clain). 108’. B&w 1,66. Visa de contrôle 26164. Print: SEA / Adams-filmi. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Thursday 26 February 1998. **** Silien is the diabolic stool pigeon who manipulates everybody by his well-timed information to the police. His web of deceit completely baffles everybody, and it all leads to a massacre of Shakespearean proportions.

Thursday, February 26, 1998

Love Me Tender

046335 / 12 / US / 1956 / Presley, Elvis / / western
Love Me Tender / Rakasta minua hellästi. © 20th Century-Fox. P: David Weisbart. D: Robert D. Webb. DP: Leo Tover. Songs: ”Love Me Tender”, ”We’re Gonna Move”, ”Poor Boy”, ”Let Me” performed by Elvis Presley. CAST: Elvis Presley (Clinton Reno), Debra Paget (Cathy), Richard Egan (Vance Reno), Robert Middleton (Siringo), Mildred Dunnock (mother Reno), Neville Brand (Mike Gavin), James Drury (Ray Reno). 90’. B&w scope. MPAA 18251. Print: SEA / 20th Century Fox. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Wednesday 25 February 1998. ** The Civil War is over and the fate of money stolen from the Confederates causes tragedy among the Reno family. The acting in all main roles is wooden. Among the rewards: the epic CinemaScope photography of Leo Tover and the traditional ballad ”Laura Lee” transformed by Elvis into ”Love Me Tender”. It is also interesting that in his first film Elvis plays a farmer, a husband, and a tragic figure.

Evil Ed

V-003487 / 18 / SE / 1995 / Jacobsson, Anders / splatter
Evil Ed / Evil Ed. © Evil Ed Entertainment. D: Anders Jacobsson. CAST: Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin. 90’ /25 fps/ PAL. In English. Finnish subtitles by Movision. DIST: Scanbox Finland. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 25 February 1998. BOMB. Gratuitous violence in story about a splatter film editor who turns into a monster.

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

Léon Morin, prêtre

060477 / G / FR / 1961 / Melville, Jean-Pierre / drama
Léon Morin, prêtre / Kiusaus. © Rome-Paris-Films. P: Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard. D+SC: Jean-Pierre Melville - based on the novel by Beatrix Beck (1952). DP: Henri Decaë. CAST: Emmanuelle Riva (Barny), Jean-Paul Belmondo (Léon Morin), Nicole Mirel (Sabine Lévy). 128’. B&w 1,66. Visa de contrôle 24334. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Aito Mäkinen / Jerker A. Eriksson. Print: SEA / Eurooppalainen filmi - short 115’ version. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 24 February 1998. **** This film is unique in Melville’s oeuvre in many ways and deeply personal in a way apparently different from his thrillers. It is an Occupation drama with a rich texture of authentic detail. It tells the story of a strong Platonic Lesbian relationship. Children, missing from almost all other Melville films, play an important part here. The figure of the priest is one of the most memorable in the history of the cinema. He can be compared with Father O’Malley in Going My Way or preacher Gruffdydd in How Green Was My Valley. What he says is always original and profound. The French Catholic church accepted the film by the devout Atheist Melville. There is more to the film than Melville admitted. Léon Morin is a profound film about the presence of Judaism in Christianity.

Born To Kill

/ / US / 1946 / Wise, Robert / / thriller
Born To Kill / Lady Of Deceit / Deadlier Than the Male. © RKO. P: Herbert Schlom. D: Robert Wise. SC: Eve Greene, Richard Macaulay - based on the novel Deadlier Than the Male by James Gunn. DP: Robert De Grasse. CAST: Lawrence Tierney (Sam Wild), Claire Trevor (Helen Trent), Walter Slezak (Arnold Arnett), Audrey Long (Georgia Staples), Elisha Cook, Jr. (Fred Grover), Esther Howard (Mrs. Kraft). 92’. B&w Academy. MPAA Seal of Approval 11703. A brilliant NFTVA print. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 24 February 1998. *** This was the first ever screening of this film in Finland. It’s a classic, laconic film noir about the hitman (Lawrence Tierney) who marries a publisher’s daughter (Georgia Staples) for money. The hitman becomes a mirror for his wife’s sister (Claire Trevor) who is forced to realize the iciness of her own egoism. The story is told with bluntness worthy of a Biblical parable.

Lady In the Lake

027538 / 16 / US / 1946 / Montgomery, Robert / thriller
Lady In the Lake / Nainen järvessä. © MGM. P: George Haight. D: Robert Montgomery. SC: Steve Fisher - based on the novel (1943) [and the rough draft screenplay] of Raymond Chandler. CAST: Robert Montgomery (Philip Marlowe), Lloyd Nolan (Ltn. DeGarmot), Audrey Totter (Adrienne Fromsett), Tom Tully (Capt. Kane), Leon Ames (Derace Kingsby), Jayne Meadows (Mildred Haveland). 103’. B&w Academy. MPAA Seal of Approval 11803. BBFC: Passed for Adult Audiences. Print: NFTVA. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 24 February 1998. * This rare experimental Hollywood film has been seen in Finland after its premiere only once on TV (two years ago). The experiment with rigid first person point of view is famous and totally unsuccessful. Lady In the Lake is rather a lesson how a film should not be made. By abandoning the basic shot-reverse-shot method the film-makers seriously weaken true identification. The experience is strange and boring. Robert Montgomery is not a good Philip Marlowe. Marlowe should impress us more with his wit than with his gun. But Montgomery’s sense of humour is limited, and his wisecracks lack momentum. All other performances are wooden, as well. The screenwriters have built the role of Adrienne Fromsett considerably: she is a strong, ambiguous, interesting woman. In the end, however, she succumbs to the traditional role of ”Marlowe’s girl”.

Fallen

100616 / 16 / US / 1997 / Hoblit, Gregory / / supernatural thriller
Fallen / Kadotettu. © Turner Pictures. P: Charles Roven, Dawn Steel. D: Gregory Hoblit. SC: Nicholas Kazan. DP: Newton Thomas Sigel. ED: Lawrence Jordan. CAST: Denzel Washington (John Hobbes), John Goodman (Jonesy), Donald Sutherland (Lt. Stanton), Embeth Davidtz (Gretta Milano). 124’. Scope. MPAA 35527. Rated R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 24 February 1998. *** The demon Azazel has turned into a serial killer who sings Irma Thomas’s ”Time Is On My Side” and can transfer possession into another living body just by touching. This is a tough case for the NYPD, but Denzel Washington won’t give up although everybody thinks he’s gone mad. Visually the film is ambitious and worth a close look. It belongs to the same recent trend as Se7en, Copycat, and One Eight Seven.

Tuesday, February 24, 1998

Deconstructing Harry

100625 / 12 / US / 1997 / Allen, Woody / / drama
Deconstructing Harry / Harry pala palalta. © Magnolia Productions; Sweetland Films. P: Jean Doumanian. D+SC: Woody Allen. CAST: Woody Allen (Harry Block), Elisabeth Shue (Fay), Billy Crystal (Larry), Judy Davis (Lucy). 96’. 1,85. MPAA 35383. Rated R = 17. Finnish subtitles: Timo Porri. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Monday 23 February 1998. * Another installment in Woody Allen’s navel-gazing work-in-progress. His character is so completely boring and self-absorbed that I lose almost all interest in the story. The focus is on fucking and hookers, without transcendence of any kind. It’s a juvenile film. A writer’s life is not cinematic, said Truffaut, and that is still true. The best idea: the character going literally out of focus. First we see this happening to Robin Williams, and then to Woody Allen, himself.

Sunday, February 22, 1998

Christmas Holiday

025933 / 16 / US / 1944 / Siodmak, Robert / thriller
Christmas Holiday / Tuli ja tuhka / Att älska så... © Universal. D: Robert Siodmak. SC: Herman J. Mankiewicz - based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham (1939). DP: Elwood Bredell. M: Hans J. Salter. Theme song: ”Always” by Irving Berlin. CAST: Deanna Durbin (Jackie Lamont / Abigail Manette), Gene Kelly (Robert Manette), Dean Harens (Charles Mason), Gale Sondergaard (äiti Manette). 93’. B&w Academy. MPAA Seal of Approval 10010. BBFC: Passed for Adult Audiences. An NFTVA print. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Saturday 21 February 1998. **** A soft, melancholy thriller, a woman’s noir spiked with sharp dialogue courtesy of W. Somerset Maugham and Herman J. Mankiewicz. It’s full of strong musical selections including ”Kyrie eleison” at the midnight mass, ”Der Liebestod”, and ”Always”. There is an unerring moody flow in the images. ”You can let go now Abigail”. The clouds part on the night sky revealing the stars in the distance as Robert dies.

Saturday, February 21, 1998

Midnight in the Garden of Good And Evil

100623 / 12 / US / 1997 / Eastwood, Clint / / thriller
Midnight In the Garden Of Good And Evil / Keskiyö hyvän ja pahan puutarhassa. US © 1997 Warner Bros. P: Clint Eastwood, Arnold Stiefel. D: Clint Eastwood. SC: John Lee Hancock - based on the book by John Berendt. DP: Jack N. Green. PD: Henry Bumstead. M: Johnny Mercer - a compilation of his songs like ”Jeepers Creepers”. CAST: Kevin Spacey (Jim Williams), John Cusack (John Kelso), The Lady Chablis. 155’. 1,85. MPAA 35694. R = 17. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jari Niittylä. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 20 February 1998. *** Contemporary Savannah, Georgia. A journalist about to report for Town and Country gets involved in a murder case. The tempo is slow, and most of the characters are bizarre. Among them, there is a voodoo priestess and a black transvestite. The suspect himself is a flamboyant gay whose rough trade boyfriend is found shot dead.

Vastanaineet

A-027831 / 12 / FI / 1998 / Lahtela, Atro / / drama
Vastanaineet / Just Married. © Talent House / Marko Röhr Productions. P: Johannes Lassila, Marko Röhr. D: Atro Lahtela. SC: Atro Lahtela - based on his radio play Viimeinen palvelus (Last Services) in Cafe Fear (1996). CAST: Jukka Rasila, Miina Turunen. 9’, 1,66. DIST: Talent House / Marko Röhr Productions. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 20 February 1998. A vignette strongly resembling David Cronenberg’s Crash. A man performs the last services to a female collision victim.

Wednesday, February 18, 1998

Bob le Flambeur

092722 / 12 / FR / 1955 / Melville, Jean-Pierre / thriller
Bob le Flambeur / Bob the Gambler. PC: O.G.C.; Productions Jenner; Play Art; La Cyme. P+D+PD+commentary: Jean-Pierre Melville. SC: Jean-Pierre Melville, Auguste Le Breton. DP: Henri Decaë. M: Eddie Barclay, Jean Boyer. CAST: Roger Duchesne (Bob le Flambeur), Isabelle Corey (Anne), Daniel Cauchy (Paulo), Guy Decomble (the police lieutenant), André Garret (Roger). 100’. B&w Academy. Visa de contrôle 13244. 16mm print with English subtitles courtesy Centre Culturel Français (Helsinki) / Ministère des affaires étrangères (France). Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 17 February 1998. **** An offbeat gangster story of the gambler who gets on a lucky streak and forgets that he was about to rob the casino. Poor print makes it impossible to enjoy the visuals.

Phantom Lady

025966 / 16 / US / 1944 / Siodmak, Robert / thriller
Phantom Lady / Aavenainen. © Universal. P: Joan Harrison. D: Robert Siodmak. SC: Bernard C. Schoenfeld - based on the novel by William Irish [= Cornell Woolrich] (1942). DP: Elwood Bredell. CAST: Ella Raines (Carol Richman, ”Kansas”), Franchot Tone (Jack Marlow), Alan Curtis (Scott Henderson), Aurora Miranda (Estela Monteiro). 87’. B&w Academy. MPAA Seal of Approval 9827. An NFTVA print. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 17 February 1998. **** This time I enjoy the light touch of the thriller, and the charming portrayal of Ella Raines as the detective-as-decoy. The villainy of Franchot Tone is rather overdone. Many characters are unbelievable, but then this is a dream film. The drum ecstacy of Elisha J. Cook, Jr. is still the highlight.

Seven Years In Tibet

100609 / 12 / US/GB / 1997 / Annaud, Jean-Jacques / drama
Seven Years In Tibet / Seitsemän vuotta Tiibetissä. © Mandalay Entertainment. P+D: Jean-Jacques Annaud. SC: Becky Johnston - based on the book by Heinrich Harrer. DP: Robert Fraisse, Allen Smith, David Breashears, Dominique Gentil. M: Budd Carr - compilation of authentic Tibetan chants. CAST: Brad Pitt (Heinrich Harrer), David Thewlis (Peter Aufschnaiter), B.D. Wong (Ngawang Jigme). 136’ scope. MPAA 35080. PG-13. BBFC: PG. Sweden: 11. Finnish / Swedish subtitles: Timo Porri, Eirik Udd. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 17 February 1998. ** Marvellous scenery and music, and little else.

Tuesday, February 17, 1998

Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery

V-03475 / 12 / US / 1997 / Roach, Jay / / comedy
Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery / Austin Powers - kumma jätkä. © New Line Productions. D: Jay Roach. SC: Mike Myers. Music selections include: ”Soul Bossa Nova” (Quincy Jones), ”Incense and Peppermints” (Strawberry Alarm Clock), ”What The World Needs Now Is Love” (Burt Bacharach). CAST: Mike Myers (Austin Powers / Dr. Evil), Elizabeth Hurley (Vanessa Kensington), Michael York (Basil Exposition). 95’ scope. MPAA 34834. PG-13. BBFC: 15. DIST: Egmont Entertainment Finland. VHS projection of a cropped-to-full-frame PAL version in Helsinki, VET, Monday 16 February 1998. **** The best recent comedy together with Beavis and Butthead Do America. A James Bond spoof produced, written and performed by Mike Myers in dual role: as the super agent Austin Powers - and as his own nemesis, Dr. Evil, who is like Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s twin brother. They have both been deep-frozen in 1967 and have now a hard time adapting to 1997. Dr. Evil’s ransom threats are ridiculously small, and the swinging Austin Powers has to turn monogamous to have any impact on today’s women. The music, the colour, and the choreography are all perfectly in style.

Saturday, February 14, 1998

Pam & Tommy Lee

Pam & Tommy Lee - Hardcore & Uncensored
100614 / 18 / US / 1995 / Anderson, Pamela / erotic home video
Pam & Tommy Lee - Hardcore & Uncensored / Pamela Anderson paljastaa kaiken. PC: IEG. D+CAST: Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee. 77’ /25 fps/ PAL. Timecoded. DIST: Oy Mondeeni Ltd. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998. Extended scenes of actual intercourse and fellation, often in extreme close-up. A breach of privacy of the worst kind, but the distributors have managed to find a loophole in the US legislature.

Pam & Tommy Lee - Soft Version
T-100614 / 16 / US / 1995 / Anderson, Pamela / erotic home video
Pam & Tommy Lee - Soft Version / Pamela Anderson paljastaa kaiken - pehmeä versio. PC: IEG. D+CAST: Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee. 77’ /25 fps/ PAL. Timecoded. DIST: Oy Mondeeni Ltd. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998. Scenes of intercourse and fellation have been digitally fogged.

Pornographic videos 13 February 1998

Anales Stöpseln
100607 / 18 / DE / 1998 / / / pornography
Anales Stöpseln. © Cherry Video Production (Wiesbaden). CAST: Kelly, Sean Michaels, Alyssa, Cocoanut, Petra Georgia. 139’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Anale Video Jungfrauen 4
100608 / 18 / DE / 1998 / / / pornography
Anale Video Jungfrauen 4. © Cherry Video Production (Wiesbaden). CAST: Katie, Bella, Delfin, Kimi, Seduction. 88’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Schwarze Wasserwacht
100609 / 18 / DE / 1998 / / / pornography
Schwarze Wasserwacht. © Cherry Video Production (Wiesbaden). D: Cool Breeze G. CAST: Naomi, Lil’Ass, Sirena Lewis, Menage, Chardonnay, Carmel. 90’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Mr. Peeper’s Nastiest
100610 / 18 / US / 1995 / / / pornography
Mr. Peeper’s Nastiest / Spanner in Aktion 3 - Peepshow Total ohne Tabus und Moral. © L.B.O. Entertainment Group. A Staviss release in Germany. D: Steve Norris. CAST: Cindi Mint, Mao, Isis Nile, Marilyn Martin, Tobianna, Sierra. 101’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. Dubbed in German. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Eruption 3 - Hart und unerbittlich
100611 / 18 / DE / 1994 / / / pornography
Eruption 3 - Hart und unerbittlich / Eruption hart und unerbittlich 3. © The Hardcore Collection. A Staviss release in Germany. CAST: Veronica Lake, Tami Monroe, Paige. 108’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. In German. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Hausfrauen 13 - Geiler Haushalt, geiler Feger
100612 / 18 / DE / 1998 / / / pornography
Hausfrauen 13 - Geiler Haushalt, geiler Feger / Dorian McGray Casting Club 40 - Hausfrauen 13. © Dorian McGray Entertainment. D: Weber & Weber. CAST: Monika, Cecile, Susi, Linda. 168’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. Deutsche Bearbeitung. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998.

Pissparade Trailer
100613 / 18 / DE / 1998 / / / pornography
Pissparade Trailer. © ZBF / Viola. 84’ /25 fps/ PAL. GÜFA: 18. DIST: Tammerpori Oy. VHS projection in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998. A trailer compilation about drinking urine.

Trial and Error

100603 / G / US / 1997 / Lynn, Jonathan / / comedy
Trial and Error / Nuijalle töitä / Rätt och galet. © New Line Productions. D: Jonathan Lynn. SC: Sara Bernstein, Gregory Bernstein. Music selections include ”All The Time In The World” by The Subdudes. CAST: Michael Richards, Jeff Daniels, Charlize Theron, Jessica Steen. Scope. MPAA 34701. PG-13. BBFC: 12. DIST: Warner Bros. Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 13 February 1998. *** ”A trial for the viewer and an error for all those involved”, states the Sight & Sound reviewer. While not as funny as My Cousin Vinny, this one still makes one laugh several times. The Seinfeld regular Michael Richards is the bad actor who has to pose as the ace lawyer while Jeff Daniels is recovering from a hangover.

Friday, February 13, 1998

Quand tu liras cette lettre

/ / FR / 1953 / Melville, Jean-Pierre / thriller
Quand tu liras cette lettre / ”Quand tu liras cette lettre…” [title on the movie]. PC: Jad Films; S.G.C.; Titanus. D: Jean-Pierre Melville. DP: Henri Alekan. CAST: Juliette Gréco, Philippe Lemaire, Daniel Cauchy, Irène Galter, Yvonne Sanson. B&w Academy. 104’ according to sources. The screening ran 106’. Visa de censure 13722. Finnish earphone translation by Leena Talvio. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Orion, Thursday 12 February 1998. *** A fine melancholy thriller with which Melville wanted to demonstrate that he can direct a regular commercial film. The screenplay is nothing special, but the Melville-Alekan collaboration creates several visually exquisite passages about solitude, very much like the ones by Antonioni and Bresson in the following years.

Lethal Weapon

T-094840 / 16 / US / 1987 / Donner, Richard / thriller / action
Lethal Weapon / Tappava ase. © Warner Bros. P: Richard Donner, Joel Silver. D: Richard Donner. SC: Shane Black. M: Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton. CAST: Mel Gibson (Martin Riggs), Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh), Gary Busey. 110’. Scope. DVD widescreen (US standard compatible to 24 fps) viewed on a widescreen monitor in Helsinki, at Warner Home Video Finland, on Thursday 12 February 1998. *** The first DVD examination in the history of Finland. The DVD truly makes a difference. Not only superior to VHS, it also has a stronger impact than the laserdisc. It is evident in the night scenes where a lot of detail is visible. But most importantly it has a deeper effect on the mind: the images have more staying power than the more shallow VHS images. As for the sound, I can’t find any difference, since the VHS soundtrack has reached the CD standard many years ago.

Mousehunt

100602 / 8 / 5 / US / 1997 / Verbinski, Gore / / comedy
Mousehunt [title on the movie] / Mouse Hunt [title in print ads] / Hiiri jota ei saatu hengiltä. © DreamWorks. D: Gore Verbinski. SC: Adam Rifkin. Animatronic mice by Stan Winston. CAST: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Vicki Lewis. 1,85. MPAA 35725. Rated PG. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Janne Staffans. DIST: UIP Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Thursday 12 February 1998. ** Strained farce mixes choice ingredients over-zealously, spoiling all the flavour. It is easy to copy, it’s easy to overdo. It’s difficult to strike the balance to create true fun.

Thursday, February 12, 1998

Az örvény / Free Fall - Private Hungary Part 10

/ / HU / 1996 / Forgács, Peter / / documentary essay
Örvény, Az / Free Fall - Private Hungary Part 10 / Kuilun partaalla - Yksityinen Unkari osa 10. © Peter Forgács; Balázs Bela Studio. D: Peter Forgács. Based on the home movies of György Petö from 1938-1944. M: Tibor Szemzó. Poems by János Pilinszy. 75’. Finnish translation by Anne Nádari. Yleisradio TV2 PAL transmission on Wednesday 11 February 1998. **** In search of lost time: a musical and poetic reconstruction of life in Hungary before the Holocaust. This is a companion piece to Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini: the small detail can be more devastating than bombastic effects. Thanks are due to the impressive work of the Finnish editors of the film.

Kalle Blomkvist - mästerdetektiven lever farligt

100600 / G / SE / 1996 / Carmback, Göran / drama
Kalle Blomkvist - mästerdetektiven lever farligt / Kalle Blomkvist the Master Detective / Kalle Mestarietsivä. © Svensk Filmindustri. D: Göran Carmback. Based on the novel by Astrid Lindgren. CAST: Malte Forsberg, Josefin Årling, Totte Steneby. 1,66. Finnish subtitles: Janne Staffans. DIST: Walhalla. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 11 February 1998. *** A remake of the famous children’s detective story by Astrid Lindgren. It is in the familiar, reliable style of the probably most successful Nordic film cycle, if we see the over twenty Lindgren films as such. The sunny atmosphere, the irreverence, the timeless aspects. The story could take place in the 1950s as well as today. Best of all, the child actors are good.

Wednesday, February 11, 1998

Le Silence de la mer

/ / FR / 1948 / Melville, Jean-Pierre / drama
Silence de la mer, Le / The Silence of the Sea / Meren hiljaisuus. © Melville Productions. EX: Pierre Braunberger. P+D+SC+ED: Jean-Pierre Melville - based on the novel by Vercors [Jean Bruller, 1941]. DP: Henri Decaë. M: Edgar Bischoff. CAST: Howard Vernon (Werner von Ebrenac), Nicole Stéphane (niece), Jean-Marie Robain (uncle). 86’ according to the BFI CD-ROM. B&w Academy. Print: Centre Culturel Français (Helsinki) / Ministère des affaires étrangères (France) ran 88’. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Tuesday 10 February 1998. **** Besides the Archive this film has only been seen in Finland on TV 20 years ago, when I first saw it. Now it had grown in laconic force. The exact cinematography, the precise composition and the strong music give tremendous impact to the simple, strange story of a German officer’s desillusion in Occupied France.

The Boxer

100599 / 16 / GB/IE/US / 1997 / Sheridan, Jim / / drama
Boxer, The / The Boxer. © Universal. P: Jim Sheridan, Arthur Lappin. D: Jim Sheridan. SC: Jim Sheridan, Terry George. CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis (Danny Flynn), Emily Watson (Maggie). 1,85. MPAA 35788. R = 17. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik / Stan Saanila. DIST: UIP Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 10 February 1998. *** The third Jim Sheridan / Daniel Day-Lewis collaboration after My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, another strong drama about the Troubles - in contemporary Belfast this time, and in the spirit of reconciliation. Danny returns from prison after 14 years, struggles to get in shape as a boxer and as a spiritual model for the boys of the ghetto. He has to fight ghosts from the past and face extreme violence. Daniel Day-Lewis looks different. No longer the gaunt youngster, he’s a grown-up man physically and spiritually. They say he does his boxing himself, and it does look impressive.

Tuesday, February 10, 1998

Ma vie en rose

100595 / 12 / FR/BE/GB / 1997 / Berliner, Alain / / drama
Ma vie en rose / Ruusuinen elämäni. © Haut et Court; WFE; Freeway Films; CAB; La Sept Cinéma; RTBF; TF1 Films Production. P: Carole Scotta. D: Alain Berliner. SC: Chris Vander Stappen, Alain Berliner. CAST: Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, Michèle Laroque, Georges Du Fresne. 1,66. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Outi Kainulainen / Janne Staffans. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Monday 9 February 1998. *** The story of a seven-year-old boy who thinks God made a mistake with the chromosomes and put a girl in his boy’s body. There is a scandal after another in this brightly colored drama mixing humour with tragedy.

Saturday, February 07, 1998

John Grisham’s The Rainmaker

100592 / 12 / US / 1997 / Coppola, Francis Ford / drama / thriller
John Grisham’s The Rainmaker / John Grishamin Sateentekijä. © Mont Blanc Corporation; Bernina Films. A Paramount release. D+SC: Francis Ford Coppola - based on the novel by John Grisham. CAST: Matt Damon (Rudy Baylor), Claire Danes (Kelly Riker), Danny DeVito (Deck Schifflet), Jon Voight (Leo F. Drummond). 135’. Scope. MPAA 35679. PG-13. Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik / Ditte Kronström. DIST: UIP Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Friday 6 February 1998. *** My favourite of the some five Grisham films I have seen. This one is the least frenetic and violent of them. It is a morality tale, told with humour and taking its time with the characters, interpreted by several first rate actors. Coppola’s flair of strong ensembles is in evidence here. It’s about the rookie lawyer defending a poor mother against a huge insurance company. The film is sober and wise and it confronts all the stereotypes about American lawyers. ”What’s wrong with ethics?” asks the young lawyer who keeps growing through the story by learning from his own mistakes. I like the film’s focus on nobility.

Friday, February 06, 1998

Prime Cut

080874 / 18 / US / 1972 / Ritchie, Michael / gangster
Prime Cut / Lihakirves. © Cinema Center Films. EX: Kenneth Evans. P: Joe Wizan. D: Michael Ritchie. SC: Robert Dillon. DP: Gene Polito. ED: Carl Pingitore. M: Lalo Schifrin. CAST: Lee Marvin (Nick Devlin), Gene Hackman (Mary Ann), Angel Tompkins (Clarabelle), Sissy Spacek (Poppy). 86’ according to the BFI CD-ROM. Scope cropped to wide; slightly letterboxed. Transmitted by Yleisradio TV2 on Saturday 31 January 1998 (Finnish broadcast TV premiere). 87’ at /25 fps/ PAL speed = 90’ /24 fps/. Viewed in Helsinki on VHS Thursday 5 February 1998. **** Brutal gangster film creates an atmosphere of terror without actually wallowing in gore. The impact is due to taut cinematic storytelling and strong production. It’s about the mob war between Chicago and Kansas City ganglords. Lee Marvin is the hitman sent to settle scores with Gene Hackman. It’s about drug traffic and prostitution where a local orphanage is used to recruit fresh young victims to be doped and prostituted. Sissy Spacek in her debut is the victim Lee Marvin saves from white slavery. The film has eerie scenes in the cornfields and amongst the sunflowers. It is like no other gangster film. Michael Ritchie truly was a master in these years.

German Natdisc Playlist for 17.19.01

100589 / G / DE etc. / 1998 / various / / music video
German Natdisc Playlist for 17.19.01 / Musiikkikooste 17-19-01. Compiled by Pioneer Video Manufacturing. DIST: Ulkokaupat Oy. Laserdisc. Projected at VET, Helsinki, Thursday 5 February 1998.
R.O.O.S.: Instant Moments *
Basis: Wenn ich nur noch einen Tag…
‘N Sync: Together Again
La Bouche: You Won’t Forget Me *
Young Deenay: Walk On By **
Stefan Raab: Es war Sommer (…und bei uns Winter) *
Licensed To Soul: Reunited *
Der Wolf: Frau aus Seide *
Amanda Marshall: Dark Horse ***
Usher: You Make Me Wanna **

Thursday, February 05, 1998

Vapahtaja

A-027827 / G / FI / 1997 / Saarela, Saara / / fiction
Vapahtaja / Redeemer. © GNUfilms Oy. D: Saara Saarela. CAST: Irina Björklund, Soli Labbart, Niklas Åkerfelt. 5’. 1,85. 35 mm film projected on VHS in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 4 February 1998. *** Atmospheric vignette about the Saviour visiting a café one night.

Peilikirkas päivä

A-027825 / G / FI / 1997 / Cantell, Saara / / drama
Peilikirkas päivä / A Mirror Clear Day. © Kinotar Oy. P: Lasse Saarinen. D+SC: Saara Cantell. DP: Rauno Ronkainen. CAST: Ismo Kallio, Tommi Korpela, Saara Pakkasvirta, Jatta Lukkari. 30’. 1,85. DIST: Kinotar Oy. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 4 February 1998. *** A fine short story about an old mirror-maker (Kallio) and a café-owner (Korpela) who is about to sculpt a fountain of ice.

Great Expectations (1997)

100585 / 12 / US / 1997 / Cuarón, Alfonso / drama
Great Expectations / Loistava tulevaisuus. © 20th Century Fox. P: Art Linson. D: Alfonso Cuarón. SC: Mitch Glazer - based on the novel by Charles Dickens. DP: Emmanuel Lubezki. Artwork: Francesco Clemente. CAST: Ethan Hawke (Finnegan Bell), Gwyneth Paltrow (Estella), Anne Bancroft (Ms. Dinsmoor). 111’. Scope. MPAA 35333. Rated R = 17. Finnish subtitles: Timo Porri. DIST: Columbia TriStar Egmont Finland. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Wednesday 4 February 1998. *** Classic story modernized and set to a fishing village in Florida and the art scene of New York. It’s a feast for the eyes, and the art itself is in high class.

Wednesday, February 04, 1998

Irma Vep

100587 / G / FR / 1996 / Assayas, Olivier / drama / essay
Irma Vep / Irma Vep. © Dacia Films. D+SC: Olivier Assayas. Film extracts: Les Vampires 3 - Le Cryptogramme rouge; Les Vampires 6 - Les Yeux qui fascinent; Heroic Trio; Classe de lutte. CAST: Maggie Cheung [Zhang Manyu], Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Richard. 98’. Shot in 16mm, blown up to 35mm 1,66. Spoken in French and in bad English. Finnish subtitles by Pekka Lanerva. DIST: Cinema Mondo. Viewed in Helsinki, VET, Tuesday 3 February 1998. * The good things include: Maggie Cheung, the Feuillade excerpts, and the final flash montage. Otherwise, this is a complete waste of time.

Monday, February 02, 1998

Madame Dubarry (1919)

Madame Dubarry poster by Theo Matejko.
010590 / 08 / DE / 1919 / Lubitsch, Ernst / / historical drama
Madame Dubarry / Madame Dubarry [cinema] / Madame Dubarry - kuninkaan jalkavaimo [this TV transmission]. © Projektions-AG Union. EX: Paul Davidson. D: Ernst Lubitsch. SC: Fred Orbing [Norbert Falk], Hanns Kräly. DP: Theodor Sparkuhl. CAST: Pola Negri (Madame Dubarry), Emil Jannings (Louis XV), Reinhold Schünzel (Count von Choiseul). B&w silent. Original length 2280 m /18 fps/ 110’. The TV transmission took ca 120’, probably due to stretching. This was the ZDF 1977 reconstruction by Gerd Luft / Jürgen Labenski, with music by Hans Jönsson. Finnish subtitles by Arja Kataja. Yleisradio TV2 PAL telecast on 1 February 1998, later caught by me on VHS. *** Overrated spectacle, not up to Lubitsch’s best comedies of the same time. And the version to show would be the Enno Patalas restoration from Munich Film Museum. For instance, from this TV version, the famous final shock image - the mob playing ball with Dubarry’s severed head - was missing. Also, the interesting use of vignettes could not be appreciated in this version.