Get On!!

{mosimage}Ganes, the long awaited and much advertised film about
one of the pioneering Finnish rock and roll bands, opens today. Eero Milonoff, Olavi Uusivirta and Jussi
Nikkilä
bring the Hurriganes to
the silver screen on the second film directed by JP Siili. Get on and rock and roll all night long!

In the
seventies, Hurriganes became the most successful band in the history of Finnish
rock and roll, achieving popularity and recognition even outside of Finland.
Its original vinyl records are highly appreciated in the second hand market and
they cannot be found for less than 30 euro. Ganes,
the film, tells how the band reached the top from the neighbourhood of Pohjois
Haaga in Helsinki. But the film focuses mainly on Remu Aaltonen, drummer and founder of the Hurriganes, whose life at
the time was pretty peculiar and that includes learning to play drums in jail,
among other adventures. “This is something that we discover while writing the
film”, producer Aleksi Bardy
explains to FREE!, “In order to make a dramatic movie, it has to be also
personal. It cannot be equally and democratic on three persons. We had to
concentrate on one person. Remu is the most prominent of all the Hurriganes and
his life story is particular intriguing, with his difficult background”.

From this
point of view, there is a dramatic plot that makes the film interesting,
besides the musical context. Director JP Siili, who works with Bardy again
after his first film Hymypoika
(2003), admits that “it was very important to tell the story so it would be
attractive not only for fans of the Hurriganes, but also for those people who
have never heard about ‘Ganes’”.

The story
and the Hurriganes weren’t unknown to the director. Indeed, he was very
connected to the band. “I grew up in the same neighbourhood. My elder sister
went to the same class with Cisse,
the bass player”, Siili remembers.” I felt very interested in going back to
this time. And I was a fan too. The first record I taped for myself was Rock And Roll All Night Long.

{sidebar id=25}Siili worked
with Bardy again after both did the director’s first feature film in 2003, Hymypoika. Both acknowledge that it was
long project since the writer
Antero Arjatsalo (Riisuttu Mies) started working on the script in 2001. According to
the producer, there was a lot of background documentation to work with and many
music rights to solve. Also there was a lot of work on the script and many
versions were written. “When I started working on the project, we still wrote
for 13 or 14 months. I start with version four or five and we finally shot version 14”,
the director explains. “One of the most difficult things was to find the
balance between a dramatic story and the real story of Hurriganes”.

Obviously,
to recreate such popular characters, casting was a very important aspect. “JP
Siili pointed out that he wanted the cast to perform the music themselves”,
says Bardy. “That’s why he looked for musicians who can act, like Olavi
Uusivirta or actors who can play like Jussi Nikkilä, who was the lead guitar of
band before becoming an actor. The question of who Remu would be was more
difficult. We found the right person in Eero Milonoff, who didn’t know how to
play or how to sing, so he was taught from zero. It is impressive how well he
learned and adapted to that role.” This way, the music that appears in the movie
is mostly re-recordings done by the actors.

However,
lead actor Eero Milonoff will not change his profession. “No, I won’t become a
rock star”, he says to FREE!. “Maybe it will become a hobby. I had never played
before. It was fun and difficult. I started playing with hand and doing basic
things, then playing with the band and rehearsing with them, which was very
helpful for me because both Olavi and Jussi are musicians”. To prepare his
role, Eero had first hand help from Remu Aaltonen himself. “I met him a lot. We
went through the script because he has a very particular style of speaking. That’s
very important for the role. I went to his place in Porvoo with the script and
a minidisc and I recorded how he spoke and we added those expressions to the script”.

Films about
musicians have gotten very popular in Hollywood with blockbusters like Ray or Walk The Line, so what a Finnish production can add to this
particular genre? According to Aleksi Bardy, Ganes has certain characteristics
that make it very Finnish. “It’s a very edgy movie. It has some Finnish characteristics
like guts, ‘sisu’. It is also a portrait of the time. It shows how Finland was before
rock and roll came. Ganes is very Finnish. It is not as polished as other
foreign films tend to be. But I think Walk The Line is a great film and in the process of making this film, we
follow many of the good things of it with great admiration”.

If you know
and like the Hurriganes, you will find this to be the perfect film. If you don’t
know them, this is a great opportunity to learn about one of the most important
moments in Finnish rock and roll. And in any case, you will see an intense
personal story, the one about a natural born rocker Remu Aaltonen.

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