Cinema Features

And the Jussi goes to…

{sidebar id=46}Musta jää (Black Ice) has won the Jussi for Best Film of 2007. The film directed and written by Petri Kotwica
managed to collect six of the 15 ‘Finnish Oscars’. The prestigious
awards were presented
in Helsinki
during the traditional annual Jussi gala on Sunday night.

esides Best Film, Musta jää won the awards for Best Direction (Petri Kotwica), Best Script (Kotwica), Best Leading Actress, Best Score (music) and Best Edit. The leading role was played by Outi Mäenpää. Eicca Toppinen, best known as one of the members of cello rock band Apocalyptica, composed the soundtrack.


Other favourites Miehen työ (Man’s Job) and Ganes did considerably less well. Miehen työ, the widely praised and also internationally critically acclaimed film directed by Aleksi Salmenperä, had to make do with only two awards.  The Jussi for Best Leading Actor went to Tommi Korpela for his role of family father Juha, who ends up working as a male prostitute after being fired from his factory job. Jani Volanen won Best Supporting Actor.

Also biopic Ganes won two Jussis, in the categories Best Staging and Best Costume Design.

The Jussi Awards, first awarded in 1944, are considered the Finnish equivalent of the Oscars.


Musta jää – review 

Winning films:

Musta jää (Black Ice)

Miehen työ (Man's Job) – trailer


Sooloilua (Playing Solo)

Joulutarina (Christmas Story) – trailer

Raja 1918

Yhden tähden hotelli (Lone Star Hotel)

Jussi Awards:

Official site (in Finnish)

Cinema Features



One hundred years back saw the light the very first Finnish produced
movie: Salaviinanpolttajat (Bootleggers) by Louis Sparre and Teuvo
. Little is known about this film because not even still pictures
are preserved and its plot is only known on the basis of newspapers
advertisements. It dealt with themes that remain dear to the country:
alcohol, the sense of guilt surrounding it and the pain of human

he oldest Finnish movie completely preserved, Ollin oppivuodet (Olli's
Apprenticeship), also directed by Teuvo Puro, is from 1920. At that
time Finland saw the rise of its first movie stars. Some of them
migrated to Hollywood, like Taina Elg or Maila Nurmi, who was the star
of Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space and became popular as the tv
character of Vampira in the 1950s. Locally, the legendary Suomi-Filmi
replicated the studio system of Hollywood.

But the international breakthrough of Finnish cinema didn’t come until
the 1980s, when a generation of filmmakers led by Aki and Mika, the
Kaurismäki brothers, achieved international success. Famous Renny
also belongs to this generation. He took a different path and
became a Hollywood director with outstanding films like The Adventures
of Ford Farlaine
or participating in the sequels of Die Hard, An Elm
Street Nightmare

But new directors, producers and writers have blossomed since. In the
2000s, Finnish films present new themes to new audiences. Finnish
cinema enjoys a noticeable popularity locally, but the industry still
suffers from a limited target group and wants a better subsidy system.

During the first weekend of October, three Finnish films had over 49%
of the Top Ten films’ audience. The chart’s number one was JP Siili’s
film Ganes. This is the story of rise of the Hurriganes, the popular
rock’n’roll band in the 70’s and the first Finnish group to achieve
international recognition. Produced by Aleksi Bardy’s Helsinki-Filmi,
Ganes is a true Finnish blockbuster, supported by a big scale marketing
campaign; within two weeks of its premiere the film counted more than
75,000 admissions – not a bad number for a small country like Finland.
In 2006, the most watched movie was a Finnish production – Matti, the
life story of the living sport legend Matti Nykänen – movie saw by over
460,000 spectators. The second and third places were the American
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (458,833 spectators) and
Casino Royale (368,621 spectators).

In the recent years, the market share of Finnish movies has increased
from a 17% in 2004 to a 24% last year, when three domestic films
appeared in the Top Ten. Ironically, the most internationally reputed
Finnish director, Aki Kaurismäki, although a Cannes Festival winner,
performs very poorly at the local box office. To his latest film,
Laitakaupungin valot (Lights in the Dusk) only 38,000 spectators in
Finland considered worthy to go, just few more than the extreme stunts
film The Dudesons Movie.

A new generation of directors and writers are bringing in new themes to
the domestic productions. Joona Tena achieved great success with the
romantic comedy FC Venus (2005), Aleksi Salmenperä brought to the
screen the taboo of male prostitution in Miehen työ (A Man’s Job,
2006). Since his controversial and popular debut film Levottomat
(Restless, 2000), Aku Louhimies offered a new look at the actual
Finnish society, especially through his acclaimed movie Paha Maa
(Frozen Land). A modern look that reflects a contemporary society that
goes beyond the traditional values, but still drags long standing
problems like booze and solitude.

{mosimage}Sure values and the producer’s nose

A sure value at the box office are movies dealing with the Finnish
national identity or Finnish heroes – among the latest local hits are
the biographies of Jean Sibelius (Sibelius, 2003), ski jumper and
celebrity Matti Nykänen (Matti, 2006) and the story of one of the best
known gangs, the Dalton brothers of Finland, in Aleksi Mäkelä’s Pahat
(Bad Boys, 2003). The next Finnish heroes to reach the silver
screen will be Lordi. Dark Floors – The Lordi Motion Picture is to come
out in February 2008. The movie is not the story of the band, but an
American-style thriller based on the idea of the Lordi singer, and
where the band play the music and appear in the movie.

The man behind the last four years hits is the producer Markus Selin:
the Levottomat trilogy, Matti, Valkoinen kaupunki (Frozen City, 2006)
or this year’s V2 – Jäätynyt enkeli (V2 – Dead Angel). He also produced
one of the first films of Renny Harlin, Jäätävä polte (Born America,
1985), which was at the time the most expensive Finnish film ever done
with a budget of 16,7 million Finnish mark (around 2,8 million euro).

So what does it take to make a Finnish hit? To know your audience,
answers Markus Selin: “You have to keep the public in mind when you
choose the topic, especially in the script development phase”, he says.
“There are, of course, no short cuts to make a blockbuster, but I
believe that audiences always smell good movies, the ones made with the
right mix of talent and best possible ingredients”.

But Helsinki is not Hollywood and apart of the few blockbusters, there
are a number of productions struggling to attract an audience. The
situation is not easy in a country where only 12 movies are produced a
year and compete with more than 100 new releases from United States.
Budgets are not very high and the market is small due to the language.
“That is our biggest difficulty”, tells Selin. “The language limits the
financing possibilities from other countries. The Finnish Film
Foundation lacks decent funds, as the movie industry is not respected
enough. If it would be treated right by politicians, our industry could
be a big export”. With around 3,000 people employed, Finnish cinema
industry depends greatly on state support.

The Finnish Film Fundation, Suomen Elokuvasäätiö (SEA), is responsible
of the support and development of Finnish film production, distribution
and exhibition. It is an independent foundation which is supervised by
the Department for Cultural Policy in the Ministry of Education. The
SEA funds 10 to 12 movies per year. The resources for these grants
usually come from the lottery funds. According to the SEA, the average
budget of a Finnish film is 1,4 million euro, which includes around
500.000 euro from the SEA.

{mosimage}Producers go on strike

But for producers this support is not enough. In September, Finnish
producers decided to go on strike and not to start any new projects
after the Minister of Culture Stefan Wallin broke his promise to
increase funding by 1,2 million euro for the next year. In the 2008
budget, instead of the promised 8%, the increase is plain zero.
Producers argue that this is a stupid position because “the money used
to make one film returns to the state, in the form of taxes from sold
tickets and salaries, sometimes even as much as double of the invested

They are also angry because while film subvention got a 0% increase,
the support for the National Opera raised with 1 million euro. The
Opera receives from the state budget 50 million, while the film
industry receives 13,5 million euro. Film producers declared themselves
“annoyed by the fact that the state supports 20 times more an opera
ticket than a cinema ticket”. Comparing tickets sales and state
support, for every opera ticket sold there is a support granted of 160e.

Producer and writer Aleksi Bardy sums up the present disappointment:
“In spite of the fact that the Finnish Film industry has been blooming
for the past eight years with better movies, new audiences and larger
exportations, politicians haven’t kept their promises. We producers
consider that it has become impossible to make films in Finland.” Of
course, he and the rest of the producers are aware that this attitude
can breed a bad image of the Finnish cinema among the public. “It is a
matter of survival. We risk to damage our image, but the other option
is that the Finnish film industry dies without enough resources”, Bardy

The statement released by Finnish producers has been well received by
the rest of the industry. The SEA does not have an official opinion,
but recognizes “the need to increase public funding for film to the
level existent in other Nordic countries.” For the Ministry of
Education and Culture it is “a strong statement and it is evaluated as
such”. From the Ministry it is also claimed that “since 2000 the
increase has been 63%”, although it also admits that “the subsidies for
film production in Finland are smaller than for example in other Nordic

The Finnish Chamber of Films, which represents The Finnish Film
Distributors’ Association and The Finnish Cinema Exhibitors’
Association, has also showed its support to the producers. Tero
Koistinen, executive director of The Finnish Cinema Exhibitors’
Association complains that “In Finland, there are about 200 cinemas,
most of which located in small towns and rural centres. Their survival
is largely dependent on Finnish movies. Due to the weak funding of the
Finnish film industry, some 50 small towns and communities are
constantly on the verge of losing their cinemas”.

Since the beginning of this conflict, Minister Stefan Wallin has
expressed his willingness to find an increase in subsidies for the film
industry. From the Ministry of Education and Culture, senior advisor
Leena Laaksonen explains that “an indication of the strong will is the
present (2007-2011) Government Programme that explicitly mentions the
will for increasing the subsidies for film production during the four
years of this Government. The Minister for Culture has clearly told
that his intention is to carry out what is said in the Government
Programme. The bill for 2008 budget is for the moment being dealt with
by the Parliament. It will be ready for Christmas”.

The strike has been effective. Already in early November, a solution
seems near. Producers have ended the strike based on the confidence
that a better allocation of the lottery funds will occur in 2008. This
means that that film production and distribution should get an increase
of 4,149,000 euro in 2008, and that the government should commit itself
to a plan to increase the overall film support to 27 million euro by
2011, as stated in the government programme. The managing director of
the SEA, Irina Krohn, has already promised that the maximum funding to
a film will increase from 700,000 euro to 840,000.

Markus Selin draws also other positives consequences from this
conflict: “The producers strike is good for the Finnish film industry
because it has raised a lot of questions regarding the bad shape of
film financing. It has also put all the major producers on the same
line and has brought the industry closer”.

For many foreigners living in Finland, Finnish cinema is greatly
unknown. However, although the cinemas don’t show the films with
subtitles in English or other language, nowadays DVD and festivals do.
A good starting point is a little museum in Helsinki, almost hidden in
Sörnäinen area, that preserves the history of Finnish cinema (Elävän
kuvan museo), full of posters, photos, old projectors, cameras and
films… A joy for movie lovers. Unfortunately, it is under
reconstruction until next September. Meanwhile… lights, camera, action!

Cinema Features

Tempting dark power

{mosimage}Stan Lee (who makes a cameo again in this third part) and Steve Ditko created in 1962 a new superhero that after the past of decades has been even able to steal the love of many fans from other untouchable legendary characters like Batman or Superman. The name was Spider-man, and Sam Raimi took the responsibility to take his adventures into big screen.

{sidebar id=40}They usually say that third parts were never good, but Spider-Man 3 is a clear exception to the rule. Not only the best film of the trilogy, but in my opinion, the best comic adaptation from the last years. Raimi has caught all the spirit of the comic, the charming of a Peter Parker that can be very strong after his fragile appearance. But obviously one of the features that make Spider-Man 3 stand out is the new and visually shocking enemies: the raw power of Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and overall the most awaited and probably beloved evil guy of the whole Marvel comics sagas: Venom. Tobey Maguire shows once more that he is perfect for the role; when Peter Parker behaves good, people like him, but when he is bad you just have to love him. Kirsten Dunst as the red-haired Mary Jane exhales sensuality every time she talks or sings, and the new incorporation of Topher Grace adds a new fresh value to a film full of dualities, from Spider-Man himself and all the characters surrounding him, where not everything is just black and white and there is not absolutely evil or innocent behaviour; a great example to take with us for the real everyday life.

If you have the chance, pursue the Special Edition with a very interesting 2-disc format, a great design on the cover and some good extras, being specially interesting the one that explains the creation proccess of the character of Venom. If you like comics, cinema and action that will make you be literally stitched to your seat for a bit more than 2 hours, do not miss Spider-Man 3. 

Participate in our competition and get the official Spider-Man 3 trolley bag. Click here

Cinema Features

The punk that died as a hippie

{mosimage}Five years ago, Joe Strummer, the leader of The Clash, died unexpectedly aged 50, victim of an undiagnosed congenital heart disease. He descended to the hell of punk after the break-up of The Clash, but a few years before his death, Strummer had revamped his musical career embracing global sounds with his backing band The Mescaleros. The recently released documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten accounts this fascinating journey.

In a bit less than two hours, the documentary narrates Strummer’s traveling childhood (after his father, a British foreign-service, was located in places such as Cairo, Mexico City and Bonn), his teenage years (marked by the suicide of his brother), his stardom with The Clash, the turbulent post-Clash years and his comeback to music with The Mescaleros. Starting with impressive footage of the singer laying the vocals of the classic White Riot, director (and old friend) Julien Temple portraits the life of Joe Strummer through archival footage and personal interviews. Temple planned those interviews around a campfire (one of Strummer’s favorites activities). Former Clash members (like Mick Jones and Topper Headon), close friends and celebrities such as Johnny Depp, John Cusack, Steve Buscemi and Bono share memories and celebrate the life of Joe Strummer.

The editing is innovative and makes the storytelling quick. All the material comes together thanks to the voice of Joe Strummer himself that appears to underline the facts or just to set the mood of the journey spinning some records and introducing songs on the BBC World Service’s radio show London Calling.
Obviously much is told about The Clash. The story of the band becomes the centerpiece of the film: the origins, the success, the fame, the break up. Those were years of youth for Strummer. Wild and outspoken, but at the same time avoiding confrontation while his band mates were fired in the latter days of the group.

{sidebar id=39}In 1986, after the failure of the album Cut the Crap, the singer disbanded The Clash. There Strummer started long rambling years of different projects of mild success, soundtracks, a tour with The Pogues, legal disputes with Sony Records and even appearances in several films, including Aki Kaurismäki’s I Hired a Contract Killer (1990) and Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train (1989).

Those were difficult years for Strummer, but they are also the time when one would have wanted Temple to spend more footage of his documentary. It’s the “lost decade”. The images of Joe, alone in the studio, trying to find the right vocals and trying to find himself are some of the most valuable in the two-hour film.

But like happy end of a movie, Joe Strummer found content and peace of mind. He did it in an expected manner, in campfires around hippies. The punk made peace with his enemies. New sounds, a world folk, seemed to revitalize the singer, who put together a new band of young and talented multi-instrumentalist. The Mescaleros recorded three albums in three years and took successfully Strummer back to the road.

Even a reunion of The Clash seemed possible when Mick Jones joined Strummer on stage and the Mescaleros played a benefit concert for striking fire fighters. It was the first time both played together since 1983.

However that was also the last time. Just one month later, three days before Christmas Joe Strummer passed away. The world lost its hippiest punk.

The Future is Unwritten is a moving testimony of genuine rocker that remained true to himself, true to the idea that music has the power to change the world. It’s just too bad the film is only two hours long.

Cinema Features

A helluva life

{mosimage}For the last couple of weeks I have
been hooked with the autobiography of the American writer and filmmaker
Samuel Fuller. It reads like a novel. A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking
was written just a couple of years before his death in 1997 and is an
exciting tale of a very exciting life – or it would be better to say of
four or five different lives in one.

Fuller, born in 1912, is better known by his movies, but before going
behind the camera he was a screenwriter, a pulp novel author, a
volunteer in the 1st Infantry Division during World War II, a teenage
crime reporter and a copyboy for Hearst’s New York Journal American. Yes, in his eighties, by the time he started writing his autobiography, he had some good stories to tell.

first chapters are dedicated to Fuller’s devotion to journalism in the
1920s and 1930s. He was just a kid when he began working as a paperboy
and a copyboy, running up and down the legendary Park Row of New York,
delivering messages to Mr. Hearst’s kitchen. The author was in love
with newspapers and writing. It was the golden age of journalism and
the reader can easily recall the smell of the ink and the linotype
machine. Many years later in 1952, Fuller recreated and paid tribute to
the era in his movie Park Row, one of his most popular films.

his teenage years, Fuller dreamt of becoming a reporter and so he did
when he turned 17. He became a crime reporter, no less, going from
school to the morgue and the most dangerous suburbs. Samuel even had a
little encounter with Al Capone.

Kerouac in the 1930s, the young journalist left New York and travelled
across America with his typewriter portraying the country and the
economic crisis. He started drawing cartoons, writing books and even
being a ghostwriter for a popular author, whose name Fuller promised
never to disclose in his life.

being a published author much earlier than a filmmaker, Samuel Fuller
is known for his movies. Just like many other filmmakers, he arrived in
Hollywood as a screenwriter. He wrote many unaccredited stories, but
soon he started thinking about filming too, but his plans were
interrupted by the war. The United States entered World War II and
Fuller decided to enlist in the infantry. He admits that he did it
because he wanted to cover the war from the front line, even when he
was offered a less risky position in the news department.

a soldier, Fuller had an outstanding role in the campaigns in North
Africa and Sicily, and he also participated in the Normandy invasion.
His wartime memories are vivid, realistic and raw, like his movies.
There is no room for useless metaphors or distractions. In his
recollection, war is not a time for heroes and soldiers had only two
options: being killed or going nuts. A blood taste prevails in his

The Big Red One
is probably Fuller’s most ambitious film. It was his lifetime project.
Made in 1980, it is an epic tale about his experiences during the war.
It features Lee Marvin, Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill and a group of
unknown young actors. It reconstructs the fears and the camaraderie of
the soldiers and the stories, and it is far more realistic than other
spectacular films, such as Saving Private Ryan.

producers cut the movie by 40 minutes, so at the time of its release it
didn’t have the impact it deserved and Fuller was unhappy with the
result. His first cut of the movie ran to four and a half hours. In
2004 the film was re-edited and reconstructed to be more faithful to
Fuller’s original vision. The new cut clocks in at 160-minutes and it’s
the version currently released on DVD.

ten years after his death, Samuel Fuller remains a cult filmmaker. His
films were never blockbusters, they didn’t receive many awards or have
a high budget – he didn’t need them. Nowadays his work is praised by
contemporary directors like Martin Scorsese (who wrote the foreword of
the autobiography), Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino and, Finland’s
finest, Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, who, incidentally, counted upon the
participation of Fuller in a little role on a couple of his films.

trivia for the Finnish reader is that Samuel Fuller was a guest at the
first edition of Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä in 1986. In
the center of the town, a street was renamed in his honour: Samuel
Fullerin katu (Samuel Fuller’s street).

yourself a favour and watch Samuel Fuller’s films and, if you have the
time, read his autobiography. It is the tale of a genuine storyteller.

Cinema Features

Love, Cinema and Anarchy

Watch out if you walk around the Finnish capital on September 20th
– 30th! Riots of crazy cinema lovers are expected to take the most important
theatres and fight for the best seats to enjoy one more year one of the best
film festivals in Finland:
Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa (Love and Anarchy). 

And as the old proverb says, if you cannot beat them, join them. The
20th edition of the festival offers an overwhelming good quality of films for
all kind of tastes. Cinema from all over the world gathered by a team of
organizers who truly love the seventh art, giving you an opportunity to enjoy all
kind of products, from the last and new hot releases from Hollywood to some
exotic Asian and European films that otherwise would be almost impossible to
see in the big screen. And do not worry if your knowledge of foreign languages
does not allow you to understand fluently Japanese or Korean, because all the
films in the festival will have English subtitles. Since the catalogue of films
grows year after year, this time there will be six different cinemas in Helsinki featuring
screenings: Bio Rex, Maxin, Kinopalatsi,
Andorra, Koff
Screen Dubrovnik and Kino Engel. Cultural events or just sharing a drink with
other cinema lovers and participants in the festival will be held in Andorra.

The festival also counts with a very useful and accurate web page with texts
in Finnish and English where you can find information about all the venues,
screenings, schedules, most awaited films voted by the audience, etc. There you
can also buy in advance festival catalogues and tickets. All design around
R&A is exhaling a youthful and fresh touch with funny illustration and
pictures that try to transmit the real spirit that links to all the visitors:
the love for good cinema.

Since going to all the featured films must be an impossible task for
most of you, we offer here some hints about what the programme of Rakkautta ja
Anarkiaa can offer:


{sidebar id=20}This is England
(Great Britain, 2006. Director Shaun

An approach to the harsh reality of England during Thatcher’s government
through the eyes of Shaun, a bullied child that joins a group of skin-heads
trying to find attention, respect and comprehension after his father’s death in
Falkland war.  Great interpretations by
the child Thomas Turgoose and Stephen Graham as Combo.

Friday 21.9. 18:30  Kinopalatsi 7

Saturday 22.9. 16:30 
Kinopalatsi 8

Sunday 23.9. 21:00  Kinopalatsi 8

Monday 24.9. 18:30  Bio Rex 


(Great Britain, 2007. Director Anton

One of the most awaited films of the festival. Joy Division
became a cult band after its singer, Ian Curtis committed suicide in
1980. Dutchman director Corbijn, who is also known as a top rock
photographer, offers a monochromatic dark film based on the book Touching
from a Distance
, the memories of Curtis’s 
widow Debbie, exploring as well the triangle of love and
relations with Curtis’s  Belgian lover Annik

Thursday 20.9. 18:30 
Bio Rex


Aachi & Ssipak
(South Korea, 2006. Director Joe

When a responsible person from the festival told me about an anime movie
focused on a gang that tries to control “Shit City” my reaction was like…”wow…I
must see this!”. But far from just curiosity, I found myself totally immersed
in one of the most entertaining, exciting and funny anime movies I have ever
seen. There is a tribute to action cinema history all around the script, from Mad
Max to Robocop, Akira, Indiana Jones
… you name it! But the
final product is not just a simple remix of old clichés; it is an explosive,
sarcastic and clever movie that mixes the best of eastern and western animation
cinema traditions. You must not miss this one if you love anime!

Friday 28.9. 21:15  Andorra

Saturday 29.9. 16:30 
Bio Rex 


(France and USA, 2007.
Directors: Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi)

Teherán 1978. 8 years old girl Marjane dreams of changing the world, but
later she will discover that the Islamic Revolution did not bring all what she
expected. Persepolis
hits the screen based on the acclaimed comic saga with tones of irony by Marjane
. Iranian government seems not to share the excitement of French
public about the movie, and officially protested against it during its
introduction in last Cannes Festival in France. Well known actresses as Catherine
and Chiara Mastroianni collaborated lending their voices to
the characters.

Sunday 23.9. 17:00  Bio Rex


Suely in the Sky
(Brasil, 2006. Director Karim

Brasil is football and samba, but also hides a darker side of poverty
and difficult conditions for the population. Far from the stereotypical views
of Copacabana beach or from the extreme violence in the “favelas” shown in City
of God
, Brasilian director Karim Ainouz takes us to a small
population where the shadow of prostitution hangs over Hermila, a young mother
whose idea for making a living and escape to a better life is to make an
auction among the men being the prize…to spend a night “in paradise” enjoying
her body. Drugs, alcohol and frantic sex for young people trying to find the
meaning of life in the middle of nowhere, but the film also shows a glimpse of

Friday 21.9. 21:00  Maxim 2

Sunday 23.9. 16:30  Maxim 1

Monday 24.9. 16:30  Kino Engel 1

Tuesday 25.9. 21:00  Kino Engel 2


Tales from Earthsea
(Japan, 2006. Director Goro

At present times when the topic of loss of balance in Earth is becoming
so hot (and not without real reasons to be worried…) Japanese director Goro
, son of worldwide famous anime director Hayao Miyazaki,
makes his debut in anime cinema with Tales from Earthsea, based overall
on the third book of the saga; a wonderful reflection about the fear of death,
the guilt, the friendship and the dark side of corruption and power. For those
who expect anxiously action here goes a warning: the philosophical dialogues
are the backbone of a film beautifully drawn.

Saturday 22.9. 18:30 
Bio Rex


I am a Cyborg but that's ok
(South Korea,
2006. Director: Chan-wook

South Korean director Chan-wook
has become one
of the favourites for the Western spectators after great hits like Sympathy
for Lady Vengeance
or the ultra-violent and visually shocking Olboy.
But this time Park offers a different approach and a new register as a
director, far from his previous obsession about feelings like hate and
revenge,  with a love story settled into
a sanatorium. Tender feelings mixed with madness (and some action shooting
scenes “made in Park”) in a story that step by step that will make you feel
bounded to the sweetness of the two main characters (as a matter of fact the
male actor, Rain, is a real celebrity not only in Korea but in the whole Asia).
The personal vision of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest through the eyes
of Park will definitely not let you indifferent.

Saturday 22.9. 21:00 
Kinopalatsi 6
Sunday 23.9. 16:30 
Kinopalatsi 8
Tuesday 25.9. 22:30 
KesäKino Engel
Thursday 27.9. 21:00 
Bio Rex


Doghead (2006, Spain.
Director: Santi Amodeo)

Amodeo belongs to this generation of Spanish directors with a brilliant
present and even better future and international projection that keeps
reminding the spectators that there is life in Spanish cinema after Almodóvar
opened the doors to the exportation of national cinema abroad. The film’s main
character is a young teenager whose head works in a different frame than the
rest of the people. And what a better option that to have chosen for the role
to Juan José Ballesta, who shows film after film that is probably the
most talented young actor in Spain
nowadays. If not, take a look to his previous works in El Bola, Planta 4ª
or 7 Vírgenes.

Saturday 22.9. 18:30 
Maxim 1

Sunday 23.9. 18:30
  Maxim 2

Thursday 27.9. 16:30 
Kinopalatsi 8

Cinema Features

Open source European animation


Elephants and
animation films seem to be extremely linked in the past recent times. Just last
year, Norwegian director Christopher Nielsen surprised us with the irreverent
and not much political correct film Free Jimmy, and now, Dumbo’s
colleagues are again represented in the title of this European new short film: Elephants
, just released a few months ago, developed by the minds of the
Blender Foundation and the Orange Open Movie Project settled in Amsterdam,

s director, you can find the Syrian Bassam Kurdali, but the crew
that made the film possible is just a melting pot of nationalities from such
different places as Germany,
Holland or Finland itself.
Globalization serving the noble purpose of creating animation!

But this time, do not expect to find another lovely huge animal wandering
around the screen. The short film take us into a surrealistic universe, dark
and oppressive, with machines that look like animals (or animals that look like
machines), monsters and platforms that move up and down this post-apocalyptic
landscape, just like extracted from a Salvador Dali's bad dream. In the
middle of all this, we find the two human main characters: Emo and Proog. While
the younger one fights against a world that is strange and unknown for him, the
other tries to make him understand how wonderful it is. You can find quite many
references to other films all over the action, maybe being one of the clearest
ones while they are crossing the invisible precipice
{sidebar id=12}(Does the third part of Indiana
Jones ring a bell to anyone…?), but farther than just a moral or
philosophical analysis of what is happening there between the characters, the
main virtue of the film is the originality in its conception and accessibility.
Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie made entirely with open
source graphics software and with all production files freely available to use
however you please, under a Creative Commons license. As well, a German company
launched a DVD about the film that happens to be the first European film
released with the format HD DVD.

Some months ago, we had an exclusive interview in FREE! Magazine
with the young creators of Star Wreck, Samuli Torssonen and Timo
Vuorensola. They made possible, after seven years of huge effort and
limited resources, the creation of an open source movie, freely available in
Internet, that would quickly become the most ever watched Finnish movie of the history.
The success was so big that Universal launched an extended version in DVD with
many extra features. Finland is represented as well in Elephants Dream with Bastian
as one of the lead actors and Toni Alatalo as technical
director, so once more we find a clear example of the good health that the
European animation market (and particularly the Finnish one) is enjoying when
exploring the new possibilities of open source movies. Will this become an
extended trend and the big companies will pay extra attention to those products
that show success in the free Internet market? Time will tell, but there is no
question that breaking projects like this Elephants Dream put on the
table new alternatives of accessing and distributing free films made with high


Cinema Features

Children of Men

belongs to
the new generation of Mexican directors that keep conquering the Hollywood cinema industry, at the same level than those other two greatest representatives of this new Mexican wave: Guillermo del Toro and

Alejando González Iñárritu.

Iremember watching three years ago his film Y Tu Mama También (2002) at my
place, together  with my two Mexican
flatmates that I had at that time, and I faced that film in the same way that I
was facing days ago Children of Men, just with no particular hope of
finding anything special. In both cases Cuarón´s movies really got me by
surprise. I liked a
lot Y Tu Mama También. I considered that the director had been able to
create a very personal new style of “road movie”. This new film has still many
features of road movie as well, being the feeling in a certain way similar to
years ago. Cuarón achieves one of the freshest science fiction movies of the
last years.

The film is
based on the book The Children of Men by P.D. James, and brings
us into the year 2027, in a violent city of London that reflects the chaos and lost of
hope of all the humankind. Immigration is brutally fought back by a
semi-totalitarian government and meanwhile, the youngest man on earth has died
at the age of 18, and the women are not able to get pregnant anymore. People
live immersed in an existence with no hope, since no more children run in the
parks and the streets, but then a miracle happens when suddenly a new baby is
going to be born in this brave new world.

finds a role
just made tailor-sized for him. After his shocking appearance as
“taking-no-shit  hero” in Sin City,
this time the character has more human features, more weaknesses that make them
at the same time closer to the spectator. Julianne Moore and Michael
have surprisingly small roles, but decisive to catch the audience
into the plot. Caine, same than the good wines, just seem to be better and more
adorable actor with the past of time, and as the old hippie smoker Jasper, he
looks superb.

There is no
space here for a future time imagined full of hyper-intelligent robots or other
overwhelming special effects. The action is very natural all over the film, and
that is one of the features that shock the viewer: its realism. A couple of
scenes like the chase between the motorbike and the car in the woods, or the
birth of Kee's baby in a filthy room will be recorded inside you memory for a
long time.

Cuarón is
able to show that he does not need elves and orcs to create an amazing trip for
his actors. He just need to surrender them by all the miseries of the humankind
(where to start: war, terrorism, egoism, intolerance search of power, racism…)
to make us feel uneasy facing the thought that maybe this imaginary future
could not be so far from a real one in a couple of decades…

one of the nicest surprises of this year.

Children of Men

Alfonso Cuarón

Cast:  Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Claire-Hope Ashitey

Rating: 5 

Cinema Features

Cinema bathed by the midnight sunlight

Sodankylä is the lucky place where the Midnight Sun Film Festival is held. The 22nd festival once again presents a great selection of films and filmmakers and is perhaps the best of its kind in the country. Founded in 1986, the well-known Finnish filmmakers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki had an important role in its development and still help the municipality of Sodankylä to make the project possible. And over the years the organizers have definitely been able to create a unique experience for cinema lovers that many have named as the “spirit of Sodankylä”.

The location, so close to nature, is perfect for relaxing and enjoying all the hours of light, far from the stress of other cinema festivals, which are organised in the heart of big cities. The atmosphere is informal and the cinema on offer huge; especially considering that the films are screened almost 24 hours a day during the five days of the festival. If the weather is fine, tens of thousands of visitors will pitch their tents in the festival area to enjoy this mix of exceptional art and nature.

These special features are complemented by the high quality of the programme and the special guests that visit the festival every year. On this occasion, we will have names such as Iranian Abbas Kiarostami; Swiss filmmaker Claude Goretta (famous for films such as The Lacemaker); the Italian veteran director Vittorio De Seta; Canadian Michel Brault; and Giuseppe Bertolucci, "the younger brother" of Bernardo.

So if you were planning to spend some relaxing days in Finnish Lapland, and you are a true lover of good cinema, you must not miss this one!


Midnight Film Festival will take place in the village of Sodankylä from the 13-17 June 2007.


{mosimage}Abbas Kiarostami

Born in Iran in 1940, he is one of the most important directors in his country. In his films there is always the search for the human touch and observation of the small details of reality. He has received many different international awards such as the Golden Palm in Cannes in 1997.

Selected Films:

Close-Up (1990)

Life, and Nothing More… (1992)

Though the Olive Trees (1994)

The taste of Cherry (1997)

ABC Africa (2001)


{mosimage}Claude Goretta

Goretta has been one of the most important Swiss directors during the last few decades and has also worked as a TV producer. He has made most of his feature films in France, and co-directed his first work Nice Time (1957) with Alain Tanner. He was born in Geneva in 1929.


La dentellière (The Lacemaker, 1977)

La Provinciale (The Provincial, 1980)

Orfeo (1985)

L`Ombre (The Shadow, 1991)



Midnight Sun Film Festival

13 – 17 June


Cinema Features

The spider is back

Maybe many of you did not know that before this original appearance, Stan Lee dismissed the design for Spider-man that Jack Kirby initially drew. In this first design, that was never published, Spider-man was heavier and with more muscles, and instead of acquiring his powers because of the radiation, he could get his amazing powers carrying a ring. Ditko's ideas prevailed.

Marvel did not believe in the success of the new hero, and the first adventures were published in a magazine that was going to be imminently closed. In August 1962 Spider-man's first adventures were published in the magazine Amazing Fantasy #15. More issues of the magazine were published and the readers quickly identified with the new hero and asked for more. The result: the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was published in March 1963. The rest is comic history.

{mosimage}The first appearances of Spider-man in films date back in the 60s and have nothing to do with the enormous budgets of the Sam Raimi's movies. The first adaptation is an amateur movie directed and performed by Donald F. Glut done in 1963 in which Spiderman fights Dr. Lightning. Three years later, the first commercial Spider-man was done in Turkey (Örümcek adam, 1966). More popular were the tv movies and series in the end of the 70s.

Thanks to Sam Raimi the series went big in 2002. It was the first film of what it is expected to be a series of six. And what can the spectator expect in this third Spider-man film: Well, amazing new enemies such as Sandman and Venom, the extreme beauty of Kirsten Dunst as the red-haired Mary Jane, and overall the excitement of watching Spider-man dressed in a black costume fighting against his most powerful enemy: his dark side.

Cinema Features

A film (finally) exposed

Louhimies is the most acclaimed director inside Finnish borders in recent times and, with only five films, he has achieved a great reputation and, more importantly, captured a personal style in each one of his films. Having received the Jussi award two consecutive years, he is also a controversial character, not only because of the plots of the films, but also concerning issues in the post-making, which contrasts with his calm attitude. However, it seems that internationally, the Kaurismäki brothers are still unreachable when referring to exporting Finnish films abroad.

Riisuttu Mies will surely create a great deal of discussion among the most conservative sectors of the Finnish population. Nevertheless, the topic is quite controversial, since throughout the movie we follow a gang of peculiar priests, male and female, that split their thoughts between the love for God and the love for the bottle, the power and frantic sex – not exactly the kind of movie that many religious people would feel comfortable watching.

{mosimage}Many can argue that Louhimies pushes their stories to limits that have more to do with fantasy than with the reality of Finnish society, but it is certain that his acid critic always hides some parts of truth. The director is obsessed over showing us the darker side of Finnish society that goes further than lakes, sauna and Lapland. And surely he achieves it with his raw style.

In the main roles we find a group of old collaborators in his previous movies: Samuli Edelmann as the fatty childish priest aspiring to bishop –who is a director and musician himself, having released Rock and Roll Never Dies some months ago, Matleena Kuusniemi in the role of his calculative wife and Laura Malmivaara (who also happens to be the wife of the director) as the hippie young priest, Eve's apple. For those of you who live in or visit Turku, the locations of the churches may be familiar.

With Riisuttu Mies, some themes are repeated by the obsessions of Louhimies, such as the difficulties in love relations, the infidelity and the flexibility of moral values. You can like his visions of society or not, but surely it is worthy to give it a try and watch it.

Cinema Features

…And justice for all

Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Robert Altman and Cecil B.
DeMille are some of the film directors who never won the Best Director Academy
Award, and it seemed Martin Scorsese was to follow that black list after five nominations.
All of his generation mates had won the award: Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg,
but in February Scorsese finally joined the club and was rewarded for his film The Departed.

The award
now feels more like an honorary Oscar before it is too late. Even though the
film is an outstanding effort, it pales into insignificance when compared to Scorsese’s
masterpieces, such as Raging Bull,
which is now being rerun in selected theatres across Finland.

Raging Bull (or Kuin
Raivo Härkä
in Finnish) is a tragic biopic based on the life of the harsh
obsessive middle-weight boxing champion Jake LaMotta. The film is popular for Robert
De Niro’s extreme interpretation. He gained more than 25 kilos to play LaMotta
in his declining days in the '60s and he trained as a boxer entering three
matches in Brooklyn, winning two of them. It was actually De Niro who convinced
Scorsese to make the movie.

In spite of
his initial lack of interest, Scorsese took the movie to his own style. He
portrayed life in the Italian ghetto in New York, adding many elements of first
generation Italian-American subculture.

The drama
and the real punishment of LaMotta were outside the ring and his alienation
from his family and brother. Nevertheless, Scorsese put great effort into the
fighting scenes. The sequences were rigorously choreographed beforehand and
planned frame by frame in the storyboard.

The black
and white cinematography by Michael Chapman gives the film a tone that resembles
the boxing films from the 1940s and '50s, and it seems timeless. With the passage
of time, the praise for Raging Bull
has grown and it is now seen as a great American movie, plus one of Scorsese’s
best. In 1986, Aki Kaurismäki paid homage in his hilarious short film Rocky VI.

Raging Bull was the first Best Director nomination for
Martin Scorsese, which was one of eight nominations including Best Picture, and
won Robert De Niro a Best Actor award and Thelma Schoonmaker an award for Best
Film Editing. More than 25 years later, thanks to The Departed, Martin Scorsese is awarded with his well deserved
Academy Award.

Cinema Features

The camera keeps on rolling

Born in
Lithuania, but exiled to America in 1949 after spending some time in a
displaced persons camp, the life of Jonas Mekas is all about films. He is
considered the godfather of avant-garde and experimental filmmaking and he was
one of the founders of Film Culture
magazine, the American response to Cahiers
Du Cinema
. In the 60s and 70s, he was one of the top names of the art world
as he worked and filmed with artists such
Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon.

Jonas Mekas
remembers that he decided to film his own movies after watching The Search (Fred Zinnemann, 1948), a
film about displaced persons made after the war. “I saw it with my brother and
we got very angry how little understanding of the real situation there was in
this film, about what it means to be displaced”. After that, Mekas bought a
camera and has been filming ever since.

Some of his
most representative films were showed in Tampere, where he was the guest of
honour. In his short films, he portrays people and places or he shows bits of
life, like a diary. He enjoys presenting the happy moments of life. He often
films himself and others dancing and celebrating: “I leave the depressed
moments for the modern artist”, he said during his visit to Finland.

There is no
better expression of this diary form than his current project: 365. Every day during 2007, Jonas Mekas
will release one short film that will be available to download from his
website. These are short films that include old and new material. He takes his
camera everywhere: “Some footage from Tampere might appear in 365 this month or the next one”.

film was another duty for Jonas Mekas: in 1970, he was one of the co-founders
of the Anthology Film Archives in New York, a non-profit organization devoted
to the preservation and exhibition of experimental film. However, prefers to
look ahead than look back: “With the new technologies, the language of cinema
gets richer. Different forms are developed. Everything is changing and that is
beautiful!” he claims. The Lithuanian filmmaker understands cinema as a
constant evolution, in which current films cannot be understood without the
previous ones.

As 365 shows, Jonas Mekas is neither afraid
of that evolution nor of new technologies. Indeed, he welcomes the new forms of
expression without fear and does not plan to stop filming. As he says, “perhaps
after 365, the next project will be the 1001 nights”.

The 365 project and other films by Jonas
Mekas can be downloaded from

Cinema Features

An open source adventure from outer space

“It started
as a hobby,” Samuli Torssonen, the man behind the Star Wreck saga and the face
of Captain Pirk, the ultimate emperor of the Universe,
explains. “I’m a
huge fan of the Star Trek series and movies since I was kid.  I liked it so much that I had to make
something similar. It was my way of expressing my fandom”. In 1992, a teenage
Samuli created a simple 2D animation movie with three spaceships shooting at
each other. It was his first step in the universe of Star Wreck. As he admits,
the graphics are bad, the story is bad, almost everything was bad… but the core
of the story is there: Pirk, Mr. Fukov, Mr. Dwarf, the Plingons… The big
Finnish parody of Star Trek had begun.

The last
episode of the series so far, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning has become a cult
movie, downloaded millions of times from Internet. For being an amateur movie,
it counters with astonishing computer-generated special effects.  “During the seven years that this project
lasted, several computers worked non-stop at my apartment”, admits Samuli.

Star Wreck
is all do-it-yourself philosophy. The production started with a small camera, a
portable television, a couple of 25 euro work lights and a broken wheelchair, Timo Vuorensola says. “Samuli contacted
me through some friends and asked me to play the role of Colonel Dwarf in 1997
for Star Wreck V,” Timo recalls. “The requirements were that he needed a guy
who can speak loudly and a guy who is tall and has long hair.” He ended up
being the director.


Internet hit

Internet and word of mouth have been the distribution channels that made Star
Wreck widely known. “People got
interested in us because we were giving it for free. The best way to market
your film is to get a lot of people watch it,” according to Timo.

As Samuli tells us, Star Wreck went to the Internet very early: “We released the first movies in 1997
and it was amazing because there were no movies at that time in the Internet.
Then people started contacting us through newsgroups and our message board”.

That is how
Star Wreck started to be a collaborative effort that gathered more than 300
people working voluntarily. For the forthcoming projects the team wants to keep
the community idea of the project: “We
would like to use the Internet to make a collaborative film,” says the director.
”The whole concept is that there are not only us making the film, but also our
fans. That keeps on giving the same kind of freedom to create. The idea behind
this attitude seems to be based on open source software: “For some reason this
kind of thinking is very Finland-based,” he continues. “We have Linux and a
couple of other phenomena. If it’s done so effectively in computer programs,
why not in the film industry?”

The open source idea is also applied to the ways the movie is
distributed. It is released under Creative Commons license and freely
distributed from the movie’s official website and peer to peer networks.
Copyright battles are not in the Star Wreck agenda: “For me, piracy the
funniest thing in the world,” says Timo. ”I’m more afraid of the things that
are done against it, like the Digital Rights Management (DRM), which is
preventing people from using the  available technologies."


{mosimage}Iron Sky

Samuli’s production team is currently ready for the next project. It
will start with a large budget. So far, only the title, Iron Sky, and a promotional
picture have been released.

Do expectations affect these guys? Samuli admits that “people are
expecting something a little bit better, but we want to make something way much

Timo thinks that one way to improve is to be very careful with the
story: “Everybody knows that we are able to make great special effects. I have
a feeling that we have a very strong story that people don’t expect from us”

And obviously, after so many years working hard together, the guys have
become a great family, cheering up each other when going through bad times.
“Low moments usually last a couple of hours, and get solved with some beers.
We have our own working methods. We
know what the others are thinking. There are no big problems between us. Now we
are four working as the core team, very strongly involved. Most probably we
will be working like this in the future, although it is true that we will need
to expand a bit. We need more professional people joining. However, it is a
hard process to include someone into a group that has worked together for such
a long time”. And expert hands have joined the team, since it was recently
confirmed that writer Johanna Sinisalo
will contribute to the script.

As a last question, we wanted to know what people’s reactions are when
they see the supreme emperor of the universe walking around Finnish streets: “I
have noticed in Tampere that people stared at me, but not really in Helsinki.
In bars Finnish guys come and talk about the movie…they find the courage when
they are drunk in the toilet!” Samuli laughs.

Cinema Features

Colours of the world


villages, hopeless teenagers, old dancing wizards, corrupted school
principals…a tough reality. From eight different countries of Sub-Saharan
Africa, 22 contemporary short films and documentaries will arrive in Tampere
for the annual film festival. The majority originate from Zimbabwe and Uganda
where a growing film industry is organizing an impressive amount of new
international festivals.

As one
might expect, this “black cinema” is still rudimentary in structure and in
style. It’s a developing cinema. Nevertheless, it tells strong and intense
stories that will help European audiences understand the African reality. The
variety of themes is outstanding too. Tawanda Gunda’s Peretera Maneta (Spell my
, Zimbabwe, 2005) is a tough tale about child abuse, while Caroline
Kamya’s Rockmilley (2006) portrays
Uganda’s only Elvis Presley impersonator.

During the
festival, the warm colours of Africa will fade into the white and grays of the
North. Those colours will be the background for the traditional clothes of the
Sami people. There will be a retrospective of the films made by the Sami, with
special focus on the works of Paul-Anders Simma. Those screenings will be
celebrated with concerts, including a performance of Amoc, the first rapper in
Sami language.

Not only
exotic cultures will be represented, since well-known directorial names like
Aki Kaurismäki and Krzystof Kieslowski will also have some screen time too.
Kieslowski’s documentaries from the ‘60s and the documentary work of fellow
Polish filmmaker Kazimierz Karabasz will also be shown in Tampere. Kaurismäki’s
fans will also be able to enjoy the early works and short movies of the Finnish




Avant-garde from France

Last year’s
winner of the Grand Prix of the Tampere Film Festival, the young French
filmmaker, Jean-Gabriel Périot will return to Tampere for a retrospective of
his work. Périot represents an avant-garde form of documentaries and short
films. He creates hypnotic series of images of roads and paths (Dies Irae) or
digs in the archives to document shameful historical moments with sharp editing
and a full load of political commentary.

How would
you describe your filming technique?

I use
different kinds of techniques. For example, for a movie like Even If She Had Been a Criminal…, I
used classical techniques of editing created by Russian avant-garde, especially
by Dziga Vertov. For movies like Dies
, it's very specific because it's something like animation that creates
movements by accumulation of images. However, I didn't create the images, I
used archives. The rendering of a movie like this is made by the very fast
editing of the pictures, but like there is always the same element in the
picture, such as a road, something happened between the animation of the road
and the flow of the entire pictures.

Does it
take very long to find the appropriate materials (film and photos) in the

Yes, very
long, because I use a lot of archives – something like 10,000 pictures for Dies Irae, for example. However, I know
where find them and which picture or movie I could use regarding author's
rights and copyright laws.

What are
your motivations to create those political films?

I don't
find our world particularly peaceful and I'm afraid whether soon it will be
worthwhile. As we are too few to start the revolution, making movies is my way
to do something!