Friday, May 30, 2008

Shine a Light

Shine a Light / Shine a Light. US/CA (c) 2007 Shine a Light L.L.C. and Grand Entertainment (ROW) L.L.C. and Paramount Classics. Premiere 2008. D: Martin Scorsese. M: The Rolling Stones. DP: Robert Richardson - negative/original format HDCAM, 16mm, 35mm - digital intermediate - prints 35mm and IMAX 70mm. Handheld camera: Albert Maysles. The Rolling Stones. A Bigger Bang Tour. The Rolling Stones with Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy, Jack White III. The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger (voc/gtr/ harmonica), Keith Richards (gtr/voc), Charlie Watts (dr), Ronnie Wood (gtr), Darryl Jones (bass gtr). 122 min. Released in Finland by Nordisk with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri /Saliven Gustavson. Viewed in Tennispalatsi 5, Helsinki, 30 May 2008. - Heavy digital video look. - My favourite numbers in this concert film: "She Was Hot", "All Down The Line", "Champagne And Reefer". The Rolling Stones are in very good form in this film, they built a momentum, and they don't hide their age. Visually it's no treat on a big screen, and Scorsese is not one of the best directors of live concerts (my favourite: David Mallet), although for him filming the Stones is certainly a labour of love.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kvinnodröm

Naisten unelmia. SE 1955. PC: Sandrews. P: Rune Waldekranz. D+SC: Ingmar Bergman. DP: Hilding Bladh. Starring Eva Dahlbeck (Susanne), Harriet Andersson (Doris), Gunnar Björnstrand (consul Sönderby), Ulf Palme (Henrik Lobelius). 87 min. A vintage print with Finnish subtitles by Aito Mäkinen. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 May 2008. - Beautiful definition of light. - This is one of the small films of Bergman, yet with big themes and motifs (mirrors, smoke, the wound, the wolf). Bach's Sarabande. The visually sharp film has a memorable train sequence.

La Chambre ardente

Noiduttu yö / Nattens demoner / The Burning Court. FR / IT 1962. PC: UFA / Comacico / Taurus / Laura Cinematografica. D: Julien Duvivier. SC: Duvivier, Charles Spaak - based on the novel The Burning Court (1937) by John Dickson Carr. DP: Roger Fellous. M: Georges Auric. Starring Nadja Tiller (Myra Schneider), Jean-Claude Brialy (Marc), Claude Rich (Stéphane Desgrez), Edith Scob (Marie). 114 min. A vintage print by Valio-Filmi with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 29 May 2008. - Good definition of light. - The greedy relatives just waiting for the heritage of the old uncle. The curse of the witch dating to the year 1676. The Black Forest. The counterfeit priest. The library focused on witchcraft. A murder mystery involving ingenious disguises and deceptions. The bizarre funeral instructions of the eccentric uncle. - There are so many double bottoms in this story that it loses something of its impact.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones ja kristallikallon valtakunta / Indiana Jones och kristalldödskallens rike. US (c) 2008 Lucasfilm. EX: Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas. P: Frank Marshall. D: Steven Spielberg. SC: David Koepp - story: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson - characters: George Lucas, Philip Kaufman. DP: Janusz Kaminski - negative: 35mm KodakVision - digital intermediate 2K - Panavision - DeLuxe - print: 35mm 1:2,35. M: John Williams. Starring Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Cate Blanchett (Col. Dr. Irina Spalko), Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood), Shia LaBeouf (Mutt Williams), Ray Winstone (George "Mac" McHale), John Hurt (Prof. Harold "Ox" Oxley), Jim Broadbent (Dean Charles Stanforth). 122 min. Released in Finland by Finnkino (Paramount) with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Marko Hartama / Saliven Gustavson. Viewed in Bristol, Helsinki, 23 May 2008. - Digital intermediate look. - The film received an applause. - He's back, and he's old. Last time, he brought his dad. This time, he discovers a son. - It's cold war, and Indiana Jones gets to fight Stalinists, but that does not rescued him from being blacklisted at his university. - Cate Blanchett is a memorable Stalinist ice woman, she can be compared with Greta Garbo!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Karnavalnaya noch / Carnival Night

Карнавальная ночь / Karnavalnaja notsh (translitteration FI) / Karnevaaliyö / Karnevalsnatten. SU 1956. PC: Mosfilm. D: Eldar Rjazanov / Ryazanov. SC: Boris Laskin, Vladimir Poljakov / Polyakov. DP: Arkadi Koltsaty - Magicolor. M: Anatoli Lepin. Conductor: Eddie Rozner. Lyrics: V. Lifshits, V. Korystylev. Starring Igor Iljinski / Ilyinsky (Serafim Ivanovitsh Ogurtsov), Ljudmila Gurtshenko / Lyudmila Gurchenko (Lena Krylova), Juri Belov / Yuri Belov (Grisha Koltsov), Georgi Kulikov (Serjozha Usikov). 78 min.
    An import print of Kosmos-Filmi with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 22 May 2008.

An old print with soft image, bleak colour and old subtitles photographed from glass.
    A backstage revue film, a cavalcade of entertainment and a satire of bureaucracy. The directive to have fun at New Year, "the carnival is no laughing matter". Debates about culture and entertainment. Catchy tunes conducted by Eddie Rozner.
    Igor Iljinsky hams it up perfectly as the stuffy and overbearing bureaucrat, who is completely out of touch. The debut of the popular star Ljudmila Gurtshenko. The breakthrough of the popular comedy director Eldar Rjazanov.
    This film is famous as the thaw era response to Volga Volga, also starring Iljinski. Jevgeni Dobrenko comments that the carnival has been made official. It is not spontaneous, it does not threaten the official order. Only the dull Ogurtsov is satirized, but he is a symbol of the past, and the present and the future belong to the new officials. There are no two cultures. This is the celebration of the state-owned carnival show.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ylijäämänainen

Stulen kärlek / [Surplus Woman]. FI 1951. PC: Fennada. P: Mauno Mäkelä. D: Roland af Hällström. SC: Jussi Talvi. DP: Esko Töyri. M: Tapio Ilomäki. "Otshi tshorni" is the theme song. Starring Asta Backman (Laura Kari), Tauno Palo (Lennart Qvist), Kyllikki Forssell (Ella Qvist), Harri Sinijärvi (department manager Harri Suvanne). 77 min. A 16mm print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 21 May 2008. - Ok for 16mm. - A poignant, satirical drama of a single woman with relevance to feminism. - Laura Kari's suicide attempt opens the life-story seen in flashback. - Tauno Palo as a ladies' man, for Laura, the great love of her life; for him, she is just one of his lovers. - She works in the Stockmann department store, sexually harassed by her department manager. - The lonely woman sees the happiness of others' families. There is a biting Mother's Day scene with the mothers' anthem "Maan päällä paikka yksi on" ("There is but one place on earth"). - Strong cinematography by Esko Töyri. - The flashback within the flashback takes us to 1939 and a montage of the war years. - Kyllikki Forssell is the frustrated wife of Tauno Palo; she takes the knowing risk of getting pregnant, with fatal results. - "Dark Eyes" is the theme song sung by Tauno Palo with a voice of velvet. - The solidarity of women at the department store. - "Welcome, aunt Laura", a sunny smile at the end of the film. The acceptance of singlehood and childlessness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Le 8ème jour

Le huitième jour / le 8ème jour [opening title formulation]. FR 1959. PC: Films Art et Science. D: Marcel Hanoun. DP: Marcel Fradetal. M: Joseph Kosma. Starring Emmanuelle Riva (Francoise), Félix Marten (Georges). 82 min. Vintage print from Kino Filmi with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Pentti Linnonen / Maj-Britt Törnquist. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 20 May 2008. - Beautiful definition of light. - "Le Chat qui s'en va tout seul". - An intimate film of moods, discovering new ways of seeing, focusing on the little gesture and detail. - An unconventional story of the relationship developing between Francoise and Georges. - The Joseph Kosma score is an interesting blend of the rococo and modernity.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Muumi ja vaarallinen juhannus

Mumintrollens farliga midsommar. [Moomin and His Dangerous Midsummer.] FI/PL/AT (c) 2008 Oy Filmkompaniet Alpha / Filmoteka Narodowa / Jupiter-Film. P: Tom Carpelan. D: Maria Lindberg. A felt cloth puppet animation compilation from the original Polish tv series Opowiadania Muminkow (1977-1982). Co-screenwriter in the original series: Tove Jansson - based on her novel Farlig midsommar (Vaarallinen juhannus, 1954). Voice talent: Tapani Perttu (Muumipappa), Johanna Viksten (Muumimamma), Jasper Pääkkönen (Muumipeikko), Elsa Saiso (Niiskuneiti /Miska), Taneli Mäkelä (Nuuskamuikkunen), Outi Alanen (Pikku Myy), Ilpo Mikkonen (Homssu), Jarmo Koski (park guard), Vuokko Hovatta (Mymmelin tytär /Vahdin serkku), Leena Rapola (Vilijonkka / Emma). 88 min. Distributed by FS Film in the Finnish-speaking version. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 5, Helsinki, 16 May 2008. - A surprisingly charming and wonderful interpretation, faithful to the Tove Jansson spirit. Visually good-looking, stylish puppet animation, a refreshing alternative to the visually boring digital animations.

Sonic Mirror

Sonic Mirror / Sonic Mirror. FI/CH/DE (c) 2007 Marco Forster Productions / Marianna Films Oy / Uwe Dresch Film / Doc Productions. Premiere 2008. P: Uwe Dresch, Marco Forster, Mika Kaurismäki, Rose-Marie Schneider. D: Mika Kaurismäki. DP: Jacques Cheuiche - 1:1,85 - 35mm print. M: Bill Cobham. Music documentary featuring Bill Cobham, Big Band Espoo, Randy Brecker, Debalê Malê, Peu Meurray (Tire Percussion), Percussion Okuta (Nigerian band), Brito Rasta (drum artisan). 82 min. In English, German, and Portuguese. Distributed in Finland by Future Film, with Finnish subtitles only. Viewed in Kinopalatsi 3, Helsinki, 16 May 2008. - Digital video look. - Engaging music documentary about Bill Cobham, his experiences in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil - Switzerland - Espoo. - There is also an important aspect of music therapy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nous sommes tous des assassins

Hiipivät askeleet / Smygande steg / We Are All Murderers. FR / IT 1952. PC: UGC / Labor Film / Jolly Film. D: André Cayatte. SC: Cayatte, Charles Spaak. DP: Jean Bourgoin. M: Raymond Legrand. Starring Marcel Mouloudji (René Le Guen), Georges Poujouly (Michel Le Guen), Raymond Pellegrin (Gino Bollini), Yvonne Sanson (Yvonne Le Guen). 117 min. A vintage print from Valio-Filmi with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 15 May 2008. - "Un film à thèse". Subject: capital punishment. - A worn print with several joins but also with a beautiful definition of light. - Seeing this film for the first time I expected a mechanical study in social criticism. Surprise! - The lively portrayal of the Occupation. - The milieu of crime and brutalization. - We come to understand the mind of the killer. - A classic portrayal of Death Row. - The convicts are not sentimentalized or softened. We take steps to understand criminals in a way that would have fascinated Dostoyevsky.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ARKISTOJEN AARTEET 2008 1 - KISKOT VIEVÄT JA KAMERAT KÄYVÄT

Skatter ur arkivet 2008 1 - Rälerna dra och kamerorna surra / Treasures from the Archive 2008 1 - Cameras Rolling on Rails. Compiled by Raimo Silius, Lauri Tykkyläinen for Tampere Film Festival. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 14 May 2008.
Rautateiden synty Suomessa [The Birth of Finnish Railways]. FI 1962. D: Esko Töyri. 13 min. 35mm - wonderful reconstruction of the epoch from 1850 until 1918.
Tampereen asemakomennuskunta [Tampere Depot Detachment]. FI 1942. D: Reino Tenkanen. 5 min. Beta. Silent. Rare documentary footage from WWII.
Sota ja rautatiet [Railways and War]. FI 1943. D: Koivumäki, Huotari. 30 min. Beta. Almost unknown wartime footage, never released.
Pikajuna pohjoiseen traileri. FI 1947. D: Roland af Hällström. 4 min. Beta
Kouvolan miesten kyydissä [Riding with the Men of Kouvola]. FI 1950. D: Jaakko Kuusisto. 15 min. Beta. The first production of Fennada company. A valuable depiction of its epoch.
Kiitäen kiskoja pitkin [Speeding on the Tracks]. FI 1954. D: Felix Forsman, Yrjö Ollikainen. 8 min. Beta. The first "fast trains".
Rautatiet itsenäisessä Suomessa [Railways in Independent Finland]. FI 1962. D: Esko Töyri. 13 min. More marvellous reconstructions of the epoch, now from 1918 until 1962.
Selvä junalle 61 [Train 61 Is Clear for Departure]. FI 1955. D: Osmo Lampinen. 11 min. A great documentary about the various professions on the railways.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Окраина

Okraina / Laitakaupunki / Hat och kärlek /Outskirts. SU 1933. PC: Mezhrabpomfilm. D: Boris Barnet. SC: Boris Barnet, Konstantin Finn. DP: Mihail Kirillov, A. Spiridonov - 1:1,2. M: Sergei Vasilenko. Starring Sergei Komarov (Gresin), Robert Erdman (Robert Karlovitsh), Jelena Kuzmina (Marika Greshina), Nikolai Bogoljubov (Nikolai Kadkin), Nikolai Krjutshkov (Senka Kadkin). 99 min. The 1965 sonorized version. A Finnish Film Archive print with Finnish subtitles by Esa Adrian. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 8 May 2008. - Often beautiful definition of light, but there are switches to high contrast. Probably the whole soundtrack was remade in 1965? - The charming Boris Barnet masterpiece revisited. It starts in the year 1914, the backwater of Imperial Russia. This is the story of the shoemakers. The war breaks, there is high demand of boots. The viewpoint of the boots to the war (qf. the Finnish Pentti Haanpää's novel Yhdeksän miehen saappaat /The Boots for Nine Men). The film about love between human beings, war between states. Montages about the shoe industry, industry replacing the crafts. The small perspective to world history, including the revolution. - Imagery of absurd humour.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Buchanan Rides Alone

Hän ratsasti yksin / Med snaran om halsen. US (c) 1958 Producers-Actors Corp. P: Harry Joe Brown. D: Budd Boetticher. SC: Charles Lang - based on the novel The Name's Buchanan (1956) by Jonas Ward. DP: Lucien Ballard - Columbia Color - 1:1,85. Starring Randolph Scott (Tom Buchanan), Craig Stevens (Abe Carbo), Barry Kelley (Lew Agry), L.Q. Jones (Pecos Hill). 78 min. A print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 6 May 2008. - Worn print with joins and scratches, works fine on Academy ratio (boom spotted once). - Maltin: "Scott runs afoul of corrupt family in control of border town; taut B Western never runs out of plot twists". - (One of) the weakest of the Ranown cycle. - However, this is a macabre tale not far from the world of the Italowestern. Maybe one should watch it soon again and appreciate its weirdness.