At the cinema Cinema Features

HIFF Gathers the Largest Film Festival Audience Since the Pandemic

The 36th Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy finished on September 24th on a high note with the closing gala screening of Celine Song‘s PAST LIVES. Finland’s biggest film festival had over 51 000 visitors, which is its post-COVID record. The 37th Helsinki International Film Festival will be organised on September 19th – 29th 2024.

Helsinki International Film Festival finished with a bang with the sold out Closing Gala screening of PAST LIVES. The festival screenings and events gathered in more than 51 000 visitors in total, which is the largest audience for any Finnish film festival since the pandemic. The biggest hit of the festival was the U.S. indie maverick Kelly Reichardt‘s newest film SHOWING UP. Other big hits included British comedy SCRAPPER, Estonian kung fu comedy THE INVISIBLE FIGHT, Bollywood meets martial arts mash-up POLITE SOCIETY and transgressive thriller FEMME. The international gala films THE ZONE OF INTEREST, POOR THINGS, MONSTER and PAST LIVES were all sold out.

Among the most sought-after screenings were THE LAST BUS with the legendary British actor Timothy Spall in attendance, the two Finnish gala films Teemu Nikki‘s DEATH IS A PROBLEM OF THE LIVING and Katja Gauriloff‘s JE’VIDA, the French gourmet film THE TASTE OF THINGS, Takeshi Kitano‘s samurai epic KUBI and Pedro Almodóvar short films.

HIFF had the honour of hosting a slate of filmmaker guests including Catherine Corsini (HOMECOMING), Gunnar Vikene (WAR SAILOR), Anna Neye and Frederikke Aspöck (EMPIRE), Anna Hints (SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD), Lea Glob (APOLONIA, APOLONIA), Rainer Sarnet (THE INVISIBLE FIGHT) and Jonas Rothlaender (THE POWER OF LOVE).

The R&A Shorts National Competition’s main award winner was Elisabeth Marjanovic Cronvall‘s Lizard Brain. Other award winners were Karoliina Gröndahl‘s Every Tom, Dick and Urpo (Uusi aalto Award), Iiti Yli-Harja‘s Blush – An Extraordinary Voyage (Moving People and Images Award), Arman Zafari‘s Prelude (Best Student Film) and Tuukka Kovasiipi‘s Jouko (honourable mention). The Audience Award went to Fabian Munsterhjelm‘s Thank You in Your Language.

The HIFF industry sidebar Finnish Film Affair brought more than 500 film industry professionals to Helsinki. Winning projects pitched at the event were Miia Tervo‘s The Missile (Best Fiction), the Norwegian Lovable (Best Nordic Project) and Showtime in Helsinki (Best Documentary).

This year’s audience vote organised by the National Audiovisual Institute and the HIFF was won by 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES, which will be screened as Kino Regina’s film of the month in November.

The 37th Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy will be organised on September 19th to 29th 2024. Before that, a selection of the year’s best movies can be seen at the R&A Spring Break festival.

At the cinema Cinema Features

HIFF presents the best films of the year including a Cannes stirrer and the new Almodóvar

The Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy has announced its programme. The Cannes Grand Prix-winning concentration camp drama THE ZONE OF INTEREST is presented as the Masters Gala film. The freshest film smorgasbord in the country also has Pedro Almodóvar’s new shorts as well as heaps of winners and audience favourites from the world’s major film festivals. Filmmaker guests of the festival include the director Catherine Corsini and the documentarist Lea Glob. The 36th edition of HIFF takes place on September 14–24, 2023.

HIFF adds another gala to its roster. THE ZONE OF INTEREST that caused quite a stir and won the Grand Prix at Cannes is screened at the new Masters Gala. As previously announced, the festival’s other gala films are the Opening Film MONSTER (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda), the Love & Anarchy Gala film POOR THINGS (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos), the Human Rights Gala film JE’VIDA (dir. Katja Gauriloff), the Finnish Gala film DEATH IS A PROBLEM FOR THE LIVING (dir. Teemu Nikki), and the Closing Film PAST LIVES (dir. Celine Song).

The Zone of Interest by the British director Jonathan Glazer (e.g. Under the Skin, Season FF 2015) provides a scathing portrayal of everyday evil and fascism via the family life of Rudolf Höss, the commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The German star Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann, 2016) gives a striking performance as the family matriarch. Based on a novel by Martin Amis who passed away in May, The Zone of Interest is brought to cinemas by SF Studios early 2024.

The R&A Shorts programme is complemented by two newest short-form works by Pedro Almodóvar. Seen in Cannes this year, STRANGE WAY OF LIFE featuring Hollywood stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as gunslingers and former lovers is a queer western that bears the unmistakable touch of its director. It is screened in tandem with the intense lockdown short THE HUMAN VOICE (2021) starring Tilda Swinton.

Cinematic manna rains from film heaven with 141 feature films. The most coveted new outings include SHOWING UP by the U.S. indie maven Kelly Reichardt, the Senegalese-French director Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s BANEL & ADAMA which was the only debut effort in this year’s Cannes competition and the Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ABOUT DRY GRASSES that earned Merve Dizdar the Best Actress Award at Cannes. Among the international festival hits are the Bollywood-meets-martial-arts genre-blending POLITE SOCIETY, the Orthodox monk kung-fu slugfest THE INVISIBLE FIGHT helmed by the HIFF’s favourite Estonian director Rainer Sarnet, and the rockumentary KISS THE FUTURE about the attempts of U2 to raise worldwide awareness of the horrors of wartime Sarajevo.

The entire HIFF programme can now be found on the festival’s website. Sales of festival passes have also begun. Single ticket sales will start a week from now on Thursday, September 7.

Top guests come from around Europe

HIFF welcomes among its main guests the French director Catherine Corsini, whose latest film HOMECOMING made waves in the Cannes competition. The Danish documentarist Lea Glob brings to Helsinki her work APOLONIA, APOLONIA for which she followed the contemporary artist Apolonia Sokol’s life for 13 years. Filmmakers behind several contenders for the Nordic Council Film Prize are also visiting. For more information about the filmmakers arriving in Helsinki, please consult the HIFF guest press release.

Kaurismäki in English and intimate choreography

The HIFF programme features an exceptionally wide array of best new Finnish films. The cream of the crop is naturally Aki Kaurismäki’s FALLEN LEAVES that was recently voted the Best Film of the Year by the International Federation of Film Critics. The festival provides the non-Finnish-speaking audience with a possibility to see this gentle tragicomedy with English subtitles.

Other Finnish highlights of the programme are Selma Vilhunen’s FOUR LITTLE ADULTS, Tia Kouvo’s FAMILY TIME, Kaisa El Ramly’s debut feature film GETAWAYS & DREAMS, and the world premiere of the sensual German-Finnish co-production POWER OF LOVE starring Saara Kotkaniemi and Nicola Perot. To coincide with the film’s screening, the festival organizes a panel discussion about the work of intimacy coordinators at the HIFF festival centre in Bio Rex Lasipalatsi. This year’s festival also features Saturday morning coffee sessions with filmmakers.

The Finnish Film Affair brings a James Bond casting director to Finland

The 12th edition of the Finnish Film Affair (FFA), a HIFF event aimed at industry professionals, brings the international film industry experts to Helsinki on September 20–22. 31 Nordic films and TV shows in production or in development are pitched at the event. New projects include works by Miia TervoJenni ToivoniemiTonislav Hristov and last year’s R&A Shorts National Competition winner Mari Mantela, as well as the upcoming children’s film Itty Bitty Princess.

This year, FFA’s popular Nordic Flair training programme focuses on actors. The 20 Nordic actors selected for the programme get to participate in self-tape and CV training under the direction of international top professionals. The CV’s of the casting directors who arrive in Finland include i.a. the James Bond film Skyfall and the TV hit show Exit.

The three-day Finnish Film Affair attracts guests from the Venice and Tribeca Film Festivals, from the Sheffield DocFest, and from the Variety and Screen trade magazines.

At the cinema Cinema Features Interviews

Interview with actor Faran Tahir

Although a veteran actor who has played many roles in theater, TV series and movies such as Star Trek and Iron Man, this year seems to be so far the year of Faran Tahir. Not only appearing currently in the blockbuster “Elysium”, but soon in October we will see him sharing the screen with Schwarzenegger and Stallone while trying to escape from jail in “Escape Plan”. FREE! Magazine brings you an exclusive interview with Faran all the way from Hollywood where he tells us very juicy facts about his career, projects and movie partners.

Currently the spectators can see you in the cinema theaters around the world in the film Elysium. What can they expect about the movie and about your particular role as the president of Elysium?

I think the movie has all the thrills and imagination that a great science fiction movie should deliver but it also has some very current and serious themes under all of that. Themes like elitism, classism, immigration, medical care, integration. I am hoping that the audiences will enjoy the action but hopefully it will also start a dialogue in their head and with others about all these issues. My character is trying to walk a very nuanced line, as politicians do, to resolve a complex and sensitive crisis.

Faran Tahir

How was working with director Neill Blomkamp? It must have been also challenging for him to coordinate a production way much bigger than his previous hit District 9…

Neill is a brilliant director. Although, it was a much bigger production but he was more than capable of handling it.

In Elysium, some of the topics treated are quite hot in our current real world: Immigration, separation of social classes… Do people in Hollywood get aware of these issues?

Yes, I think people in all walks of life are aware of these issues. This movie is proof that these issues are in the forefront of every ones minds.

If I am not mistaken, your family was already into the movie industry in India and Pakistan. So were you pretty much ‘drinking’ from their influence to become an actor since childhood? In what way your family shaped your wishes for the future to act?

My family has been in the arts and entertainment actively for three generations. When you have been this immersed in a field your approach is realistic. You have seen the creativity, heartaches, success and failures. You need to prepare yourself for all of that. The dialogues with my family were about all of that. How best to prepare for all eventualities and not lose you core and center in the process..

You have a broad experience in theater, TV series and in cinema movies. So what are the main differences from your point of view when you have worked in these 3 areas as actor?

Although the emotional connection to character and script remain the same, the technique needs to be adjusted. There are some stories that are best told in front of a live audience while others need the enormity of the silver screen and some might need the luxury of unfolding over weeks, months, years that television provides. One has to respect the medium that one is working in and the kind of story one is telling.

Although you have done many different roles, certainly it seems that you are often casted as the “villain” kind of guy in the movies. Is it something that you enjoy, or is there a point where you say to your agent “Oh nooo, not another role as the “bad guy”!!!?

Actually, in the past four years I have made about 20 appearances on film and TV and only 5 were ‘villain’ characters. Bad guys do stick in peoples minds more. They are fun to play if you play them honestly. If you can make them human. I do make sure that if I playing too much of the same that I find variety. For instance, this year I have three movies releasing. I play the president in ELYSIUM, a prisoner in ESCAPE PLAN and a father who lost a son in a shopping mall explosion in TORN.

Faran Tahir

Having already had a long experience in Hollywood, do you remember what was your favorite actor to work with? Any interesting anecdotes to share?

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone. I have been blessed to have had the good fortune of working with so many talented people. Jeff Bridges and I in IRON MAN had a very funny night shooting. We had a particularly long day. We had been working for 16 hrs straight. We were shooting a scene at 2 am and we just could not walk and talk at the same time. At one point, we just got the giggles like little kids.

Soon in October you will appear again in another hot title, Escape Plan, partnering with no less than Stallone and Schwarzenegger! Were you a fan of their action movies? I suppose you cannot ask for better company when is about throwing punches on the big screen…

What boy is not a fan of action movies? Stallone and Schwarzenegger are icons of that genre. It was great working with them and I think the movie has turned out to be amazing.

What are your hobbies and passions in your free time when you are not acting?

Running, cycling, good food, traveling, and day dreaming.

For the rest of the mortals on earth whose only connection to Hollywood is to go to the closest cinema theater… please tell us, what is in your opinion the best and the worst of being an actor in these super productions that will be seen by million of people around the globe?

The best and the worst is the same. You put a part of you in a character and share it with world. it is the best when people appreciate it and the worst when they don’t.

Anything you want to add for our readers?

Don’t let go of your dreams.

1 At the cinema Cinema Features

Helsinki Film Festival – A festival for all tastes.

If you have seen endless queues of people waiting patiently outside Lasipalatsi in the centre of Helsinki, do not be surprised. The annual Helsinki Film Festival (Rakkautta & Anarkiaa) is here one more year, and although there are not huge big international stars visiting this remote part of the globe (Richard Gere, George Clooney and alike people seem to prefer these days to visit San Sebastian´s festival in the north of Spain), the inhabitants of Helsinki love their festival.

Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa

An opportunity to enjoy good cinema for 10 days, with an eclectic selection that varies from mainstream Hollywood movies, winks to neighboring countries like Estonia, a focus on some of the best features coming from southern European countries like Spain or France, the passion for Asia and anime or the rescue of previous classics features in other editions of the festival to be re-visited at Orion theatre.

As stated before, this is not a mega glamorous festival, but maybe that is its biggest charm. Even for being held in the capital of Finland, it still has a sense of family. The staff that organize the festival are very friendly and eager to help you, the cinema theatres are pretty geographically close ones from the others around the city centre, so it is very easy to move around, the prices are affordable and they even give away free condoms in the information point located in Lasipalatsi (after all the name of the festival is Love & Anarchy…), so what else can you ask?

Well, added to all that, the list of guests is pretty interesting with some highlights like Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Siguroson, the Serbian actor Goran Jevtic or the French director Jacques Audiard.

FREE Magazine´s 5 tips to enjoy during the festival:

Killer Joe

Killer Joe (Director William Friedkin)

Many critics can say that Juno Temple is the shining star of this movie, but I disagree, could not fall less than captivated by the strong performance given by Matthew McConaughey in what is undoubtedly one of the best roles of his career. As the professional killer Joe, Matthew transforms into that kind of likeable villain that you are not sure if you should hate or imitate. His character exudes charm and confidence, the same qualities that the family living in a caravan in Texas with whom he interacts lacks of. A great movie with amazing dialogues and a couple of great twists.

Unit 7

Unit 7 (Director Alberto Rodriguez)

If Alberto Rodriguez already gladly surprised me some years ago with his previous movie 7 Virgins, here he does no less than reaffirming that he is one of the best Spanish directors nowadays. He totally masters in recreating the atmosphere of the poor neighborhoods of Sevilla at the beginning of the 90s. A story based on true fact by policemen that are not a perfect example of morals and villains who are sucked into the spiral of drugs. An exercise that proves once more than the border that separates the good and the bad people is thin. Very solid performances by main characters Antonio de la Torre and Mario Casas (who shows that apart from being a target for teenage Spanish girls who fall in love with his looks, he is also a good actor).

In my opinion, one of the strongest Spanish movies not just of the year, but probably of the last decade, able to mix drama with the unavoidable sarcastic sense of humor that runs all over the cities of Andalucía.

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations (Directors Lisa Barros D`Sa, Glenn Leyburn).

Belfast in the 1970s was not exactly the place where hippies and happy love would flourish under every corner, but Terri Hooley was able to open a record store in the heart of the most dangerous area in the whole Ireland and give a push to the native punk scene in an allegation of love for music and peace. Good Vibrations is a simple but wonderful movie that shows how determination can overcome problems, although there is always a personal price to pay when you put all your efforts in what you love the most. Richard Dormer gives a great performance as Hooley himself while the movie counts with great secondary actors like my all time favorite Dylan Moran (many will recognize him from the series Black Books) or Liam Cunningham (Davos in Game of Thrones).

Whore´s Glory

Whore ‘s Glory (Director Michael Glawogger)

For nearly 2 hours, director Glawogger transports us all over prostitution scene in three locations around the world, in Bangkok, Thailand, Faridpur, Bangladesh and Reynosa, Mexico.

Prostitutes, clients and pimps talk honestly in front of the camera about the business of prostitution. Without wanting to position himself, Glawogger lets the camera do the talk and leaves the spectator extracting their own conclusions, but here and there, there are a lot of brushes of sad stories, with prostitutes that seem defeated by the weight of life and clients that regard them as a piece of meat to bring happiness for a couple of hours to their monotonous existences and marriages.

I personally found heartbreaking when very young prostitutes, clearly underage, are able to give powerful monologues of how life is hard and full of pain but they try to light their worries with a bit of laughter here and there. Touching movie, where clients and sex professionals seem to be linked by a chain of deep sadness that even an orgasm achieved after some money changing hands cannot make disappear.

Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone (Director Jacques Audiard)

French director Jacques Audiard, who will be also present in Helsinki as special guest, features a strong and emotive story of love between an orca trainer by always delightful actress Marion Cotillard and a lowlife boxer, Mathias Schoenaerts, which takes the pulse of current French cinema in a product with a lot of resemblances with the typical Hollywood story of characters haunted by bad luck trying to find a glimpse of hope through love. The movie will be the closing one for the current Helsinki Festival, putting the cherry on top of the cake to 10 days of great emotions in the big screen. A must see!

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Top 10 movies in Finland 2009

Here you can find the top 10 of movies in the Finnish theaters during the last year with the total number of spectators that watched them. Ice Age 3 leads!

Ice Age 3

1. Ice Age 3 (trailer) 01.07.2009 387 000

2. Harry Potter ja puoliverinen prinssi (trailer) 17.7.2009 345 000

3. Rööperi (trailer) 09.01.2009 256 000

4. Up – kohti korkeuksia 09.10.2009 219 000

5. Enkelit ja demonit (trailer) 13.05.2009 197 000

6. Slummien miljonääri (trailer) 13.03.2009 183 000

7. Kunniattomat paskiaiset (trailer) 04.09.2009 181 000

8. Twilight: Uusi kuu (trailer) 20.11.2009 181 000

9. Bolt (trailer) 13.02.2009 161 000

10. Twilight (trailer) 02.01.2009 152 000

Harry Potter

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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
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”.

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.

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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{mosimage} The yellow
universe of The Simpsons finally hits the big screen. An environmental
disaster, provoked by the one and only Homer Simpson (with a bit of help from
his new close friend, Spider-Pig) threatens to cause Springfield’s apocalypse. The
much-anticipated big-screen adventure of the most dysfunctional family opens
worldwide today.


{sidebar id=1}T

he idea of
a Simpsons film was rumored for many years and it also took many years to
complete. The big day is here and as Homer exclaims at the beginning of the
film: “I can't believe we're paying for something we
get for free on TV!”

creating such universal pop icons, sure Matt Groening and the crew of writers
felt a lot of pressure to avoid disappointing the millions of fans. Watching
the film is easy to notice that they tried very hard, even too hard.

The movie,
especially in its first half, is a tour around Springfield and it contains most
of the best gags in the movie, including the naked skate ride by Bart,
including a moment of full frontal. Almost every character has some seconds on
screen. But many of them appear too briefly as the film focuses exclusively in the

It seems
that the writer made a conscious effort to separate the feature film from the
series and usual locations, like Moe’s bar, the school or the nuclear plant,
are hardly seen. The animation has been improved with detailed backgrounds and
shiny computer effects.

There are
some good gags and well written dialogues, but the film ends up suffering from
the same flaws the series has suffered in the last seasons. Homer has become a silly
caricature of himself instead of the absurd genius that he used to be. There is
also a futile effort in keeping the series contemporary and transmitting political
message instead of being satirical and unconventional. But the main problem
with the film is a weak plot and the lack of remarkable jokes. One wonders how
come a large team of writers didn’t come up with a better story.

In spite of
all the defects The Simpsons is still entertaining, but it is just a bit
disappointing that it is nothing better than an extended episode, done when the
glory days of the series are gone. In a way, this film leaves the same feeling
as the latest Rolling Stones’ album: it’s not bad, but not great and, above
all, was it necessary?

A dubbed version in Finnish will be released in theaters across Finland. It is the first time that The Simpsons will speak Finnish.

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Independence Day with robots

For me and many of my close friends, Transformers
was much more than just another science fiction movie project.  We belong to a generation that grew up sitting
on the sofa since early hours in the morning, in front of the TV set, devouring
one animation series after another, totally flabbergasted by the huge amount of
new and exciting shows coming from America and Japan. And Transformers was
for most of us, the cherry on top of the cake. It was a happy time with no much
worries; our glass of milk in one hand, the biscuits in the other, and the eyes
was totally hypnotized in front of the screen, watching the battles of Autobots
and Deserticons.

For many of you, the story is well known.
Two robotic clans with amazing skills and powers, coming from a destroyed
planet, that find the Earth their second home. One of them is evil and wants to
destroy human beings: The Decepticons. The others are friendly with
humans: The Autobots. Both clans have charismatic leaders whose names
are an evocation of power: Optimus Prime, the red and blue truck, leader
of the Autobots that fights against Megatron, the sneaky and nasty boss of the

Many were the fans of the original animation
series that was released in 1984 and the success was so huge that countless
series, comics and adaptations were made in following years. The product got
followers in Japan,
and Europe, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. I
have read many blogs where every Transformer´s character is deeply
analyzed to the last chapter and verse, and even some freaks fans had an
enormous pleasure in theorizing about twisted love relations between human
characters and robots.

And here we are in 2007, where finally the project
is taken by Hollywood
and put under the hands of Michael
(director among
others of The Island or Pearl Harbor).
Well, I was a bit afraid before watching the final product about what kind of
angle would be used for the adaptation. I suppose, as many other fans, you
always try to preserve the original spirit as much as possible. After watching
it, I think that the title of this article speaks by itself. Michael Bay
has created a film that is totally directed to hail the American way of life,
and the power and sophistication of their weapons and arsenal. This is really a
pity, because the original idea could have been developed into a really much
more wonderful result.

The robots, that should be basically the “main course” of
the film, are poorly depicted. You can hardly make any difference about who is
who, or what are the special features that every robot has. And the extremely
fast rhythm of the action and battles does not help at all to solve the
problem. Michael Bay continues stamping the “video clip
tempo” in his action movies, and the spectator continues praying for an
explanation to understand what is happening on the screen.

About the human
characters, Shia LaBeouf
looks like a clown all along the film, and it is difficult to concentrate on Megan
’s acting skills, since every shot where she appears is treated as if
taken from a Playboy sketch. The girl is really hot… and not much more to add.
I don’t know what is about with such a huge polemic about Iranian videogames promoting
actions against western countries, when products so unnecessarily pro-America
like this slap on our face month after month. I have nothing against USA. I am a
citizen of the world and I think that it should be easier if people just would
appreciate what is good from every culture. But I hate to feel betrayed as a
fan. I hate when such a nice original idea as Transformer was is just
turned into a political propaganda movie. I have no other option that just jumping
back in time and use my memory to remember again the good moments sitting on my
sofa with my glass of milk in one hand, and the Transformer's catchy
intro music announcing that another great episode was just going to be

The Best

When Optimus Prime cries: Autobots, transform
and roll out!

The couple of times
when the robot leaders really “mean business” and destroy an enemy.

The Worst

The Americanization of the concept that destroys the original spirit of the

The Detail

When the Autobots first crash to Earth in meteor form, a man with a
video camera exclaims, "This is so much better than Armageddon"; in
allusion to director Michael Bay's
earlier film Armageddon.

The poker deck with Saddam Hussein.

Participate in our Transformers competition and win good prizies. Click here

At the cinema Cinema

Goya’s Ghosts

Milos Forman’s new film, Goya´s Ghosts, offers a biography (and it seems that the polemic Czech director never gets tired of the genre) of one of the most important painters in all history, the genuine and genial Goya, interpreted by Stellan Skarsgård. But it must be said, that the appeal of a new Goya´s biography is used in this case as a mere excuse for representing a critical vision of Spain during that twisted time of darkness and light. Goya´s role gets quickly eclipsed by another superb performance by Javier Bardem, who is able to provoke, equally, love and hate in the eyes of the spectator. Goya´s artwork has a secondary role in the plot, since Forman is more obsessed with showing the fight between the reason of the French Illustration and the madness of religious fanaticism, with the obsolete role of a numb monarchy in the middle. And he certainly achieves it.

On the other hand, it is a pity that such an interesting figure as Goya himself does not get more importance in a film whose title points directly to him. Maybe, we will have to wait until Forman decides to make a film about the Spanish Inquisition (or a new biography of its leader, Torquemada) to get an accurate description of the genial painter from Aragon.

Milos Forman´s film passes the test of the Spanish Inquisition, but somebody should teach him some more lessons of history: regarding how the Spanish citizens were able to fight the French oppressor without such a huge help from the British, as he wants us to believe on screen.

At the cinema Cinema

He-Men go to war

Take 300: a mixture of one car commercial/remake director, one sexy ‘graphic novel’ (from the creator of Sin City), spiced up with a few speeches about freedom, and served lukewarm with IMAX-tailored cinematography. The result: a product that even the creators refer to as the ‘300 experience’ rather than calling it a film.

Director Zack Snyder (of Dawn of the Dead-remake fame) remakes Gladiator and Sin City at the same time and casts snarling action figure Gerard Butler as the take-no-shit Leonidas, the king of the Spartans and patron of chiselled abs. And when Snyder expands Frank Miller’s original comic book by adding a political intrigue sub-plot, where limp-wristed liberals do their worst to hinder the brave Spartans from beating the hell out of a force of million Persians lead by the enigmatic Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), it’s hard not to start seeing this as a republican wargasm film. But maybe drawing such conclusions from this film are uncalled for, since 300 is pure entertainment, which does not concern itself with depth.

After such a my critical onslaught, it has to be said that 300 is nonetheless a fast-paced yarn and a stunning visually: every shot is a piece of art, sometimes directly lifted from Miller’s source work and the battle scenes are, at their best, breathtaking. Still, it’s hard to care for any of the two-dimensional characters and the end result is ultimately unsatisfying: this is combat pornography, where you can fast forward the boring bits and watch spears pierce flesh and blood-spattered man-flesh gleam. Which makes watching 300 like watching somebody play a game on a super-charged game console rather than sitting at the cinema.

At the cinema Cinema

Summer of ’84

{mosimage}Kid is a
confused girl trying to find her place in this world, between being Swedish and
Finnish, and being a child and an adult. Not knowing where she belongs, she
desperately wants to be loved by her mom, but at the same time she is ashamed
of her. Kid is almost a teen and her sexuality is starting to awaken, which
makes things even more complicated for her. The tension between Kid and her
mother rises so high that it almost destroys everything.

In many
ways Aavan Meren Tuolla Puolen is a
nostalgic and bright movie paying regard to the fact that it is director Nanna
Huolman’s first feature length movie, plus the young actors’ first movie. In
addition to good storytelling, the acting is excellent, especially the young
talent Mia Saarinen, who performs very well. The scenery is beautiful with
thousands of Finnish lakes and endless forests, and the Art Director made a big
effort to find artefacts from the ‘80s. A great film that reflects exactly how
the Finnish summer of 1984 was!


At the cinema Cinema

Finnish gigolo

friend agrees to help him to sell his body. Soon their business is booming and
Juha is making more money in an hour than in two days at his old job. His guilt
worsens every day, as does the
shame and lies, but the money helps him cope with the downside of his
new profession. Everything is fine, so long as his wife doesn’t know about his
new job or touch her antidepressants.

Miehen Työ is a film about a man’s
dignity and humiliation, as well as male prostitution. It is also a story about
taking responsibilities and the pressure on a man, a father and a husband. The
film is dark with a hint of a humour, but realistic and quite intense thanks to
the credible acting. Directed by Aleksi Salmenperä, Miehen Työ
his second feature, although he has made several short films, and hopefully we
will see another feature film from him again soon.



{mosimage}Interview with Tommi Korpela

You played the leading man, Juha,
in Miehen Työ. What’s Juha like and
was it easy for you to play the part?

is a man who thinks that his value is measured by his achievements. He feels
that he is loved only when he is able to support his family. I don’t think that
there are very much similarity between me and Juha. The part was challenging
and enjoyable to play.


Why was it interesting act in this

is my first main part in a movie and before this I have been doing more acting
at theatre and TV. So, acting on the screen is always good fun and experience.


How was the team?

was great and everything went smoothly. We shot the whole thing in about 6
weeks. I would like to do other projects with the team in a future.


What else are you going to do this

am busy for the rest of the year. I will continue my work at theatre and act on
TV as well.


Aleksi Salmenperä answers

Why did you make a movie about the
shame of a man?

liked the topic. It is interesting and important issue. There are plenty of men
in Finland and everywhere else on this planet who feel like Juha.


Did you any research about the male

met a journalist who had written an article about the subject. I read it, got
interested in it and read some other articles as well.


What is the deal of the man’s

want to accomplish things, be successful and if they fail, it is a matter of
their self-esteem. Men are very competitive and they measure their achievements
all the time.


Do you think that there will be
public conversations about the main topics of the film? Which topic will gain
more attention in publicity?

the male prostitution -topic, which really isn’t the main topic. It is easy to
hang on to it.


What’s on your agenda this year?

am planning new films. Few subjects have been in my mind for a while now. I
would like to do a film about an old man and his despair or about kids in the


At the cinema Cinema

The King of the Minimoys

{mosimage}There is
nothing astonishing new in Besson’s movie, but it outstands due to its innocence,
simplicity and the friendly fairy-like characters, the Minimoys, who borrow the
voices of Madonna, Snoop Dogg, David Bowie and Robert De
, among others. The dubbed Finnish version also features the voices of
pop stars like Paula Vesala of PMMP
and rapper Elastinen.

While working
on the films, Besson published a series of children books based on Arthur’s
adventures. More movies based on these books are expected.



Luc Besson on Arthur and the Minimoys

Why did you
choose the film to be part animated and part live action?

I don’t
come from the animation world. For me it is very important that the audience
believes in the story. Making a live action introduction helps us to believe.

The main
characters have the voices of pop stars, how did you come up with that idea?

It was just
a coincidence. The character of Max was inspired by Snoop Dogg. Madonna is a
queen so it was easy for her to lend her voice to a princess. David Bowie…
well, he just has an amazing voice. It was easy to call them. The idea worked so
I suggested that dubbed versions around the world would use pop stars too.

This is
your 10th film. Once you said you would retire from directing when you reach
this milestone. Do you still think this way?

I don’t
know. I’m scared of repeating myself. I need to feel that I still have
something meaningful to say. I burned my first short film because of a friend’s
opinion. He showed that I need to have something to say if I want to make
movies. I learned the hard way.


At the cinema Cinema

A forbidden affair

follows the complicated love-story between
Mikko, a middle-aged professor of literature (Kari Heiskanen) and his star pupil, the quiet, epileptic Sari (Krista Kosonen). Sari’s condition has
caused her to retreat from normal life, while Mikko’s fascination with 19th century
poetry is slowly alienating him from his family and colleagues; that is, until
the kindred spirits meet and begin their forbidden affair. The relationship
naturally causes a lot of friction, but Mikko and Sari manage to stick together
until the world accepts them, at least to some extent.

Visually, Saarela’s film is top-notch: Helsinki, for once, actually
looks like it’s a part of Europe and the
cinematography is captivating, especially when complemented by Tuomas Kantelinen’s beautiful score. Overall
the acting is decent, although Kosonen at times has trouble with the demanding
role, and it shows – luckily Heiskanen is usually there to pick her up. Worse,
the last third of the film gets confusing as a lot of plot lines are
artificially smoothed over (or ignored entirely), making the film seem like it
was wrapped up haphazardly and in a hurry.

{mosimage}It’s not that Suden Vuosi is a bad film, far from it – it’s just that its story
and style once again have difficulties keeping in synch with each other,
resulting in a film that builds up a lot of steam but ultimately falls flat
since the low-key story does not seem to demand such grand, over-the-top
imagery – like a faculty christmas party that looks like a rave (those classic
literature people sure know how to par-tay)
or a dramatically-lighted, erm, poetry lecturer doing push-ups – it’s just completely
out-of-place and silly, Aleksi Mäkelä
style. Somebody please get Saarela an honest-to-god action/thriller film to
direct – I want to see him do the Finnish Last
Boy Scout
, so just give the man a script.

At the cinema Cinema

Perfume: the repeated story of a failed adaptation

21 years later,
the cinema version based on the best-seller is finally released, under the
direction of Tom Tykwer, who started
to get success after his superb piece “Run Lola Run” in 1998.

The story is well
known by many: we follow the biography of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), a fishmonger’s bastard
with a superb talent: he has the best and most developed sense of smell in the
world, intoxicated by the sweet fragrance of young women that will turn him
into not only the best perfumer of all times, but also a serial killer.

Framed by 18th
century in France,
the atmosphere and photography of the film is totally captivating. The
spectator gets immersed in the din of Paris,
the sumptuous villas, the corners of the smaller towns… All the social strata accurately
represented in front of the eyes – or should we say the nose? – of Jean

{mosimage}Ben Whishaw´s
acting skills are not bad, but the treatment of the character seems ridiculous
in some scenes. I remember, many years ago when reading voraciously the pages
of Süskind´s book, to feel pity for the main character, to support him until
the last and climatic episode of his life, and to develop a clear sympathy for
his weaknesses, although this would mean the killing of young women. But the
sad and famished Jean Baptiste does not have the same effect in the film.
Sometimes it just look like a parody of a little animal,  a being just a little bit more humanized than
“Gollum/Smeagol” from Lord of the Rings, and even Tolkien´s character was able to create a closer relationship with
the spectator. The film results in being too long and I could not avoid some
yawning before the end of it.

A couple of
glorious contributions save most of the credit: one from Dustin Hoffman, superb in his role of Giuseppe Baldini, the old
master perfumer. The other, the long red hair of Rachel Hurd-Wood that brightens like fire in every second that this
English beauty appears on screen. A delightful vision all over the movie.

With great power
comes great responsibility. Grenouille did not control the power of his nose,
and Tykwer, the director, has neither succeeded in the great responsibility
over his shoulders to transmit the same energy than the book exhales. Twenty-one
years has been too long awaiting time for this result.