June 17: Fallen Leaves, Experimental Films, and Midnight Clouds

In the morning discussion the editor, director, and producer Mary Sweeney spoke about her love for editing and her collaboration with David Lynch. Sweeney has edited several of Lynch’s films including Twin Peaks – Fire Walk with Me, a prequel to the first series screened at Lapinsuu in the early hours of Saturday. In both her editing and directing, Sweeney values the authentic feel and emotional landscape of the film. 

Sweeney’s first directial work Baraboo was screened at Cinema Kitinen in the afternoon together with her short film Waking Dream. The calm atmosphere of Baraboo’s rural landscapes and the warm relationships intersecting with each other were inspired by the director’s own childhood memories. The warm-hearted film interested and touched the audience. 

After the morning discussion, the last screening of the Architecture Special started at the School. The legendary architect, emeritus professor, and internationally renowned expert in architecture films Juhani Pallasmaa presented Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope set in one flat. In his books Pallasmaa has discussed the use of space in films and looked for connections with other artforms and his presentation also discussed these themes. 

When focusing on the film at hand Pallasmaa spoke especially about its set and quoted interesting comments from Hitchcock and other makers of the film. Even if those familiar with Hitchcock’s dramas set in small spaces know that the sets are artificial, according to Pallasmaa it does not matter so great is the emotional impact of these films. 

After the Architecture Special Jennifer Barker who has studied cinema widely presented a series of Czech animations curated by her around the theme of mysterious objects. The multifaceted master class consisted of films with different atmospheres and subject matter from critique of power to light children’s animations. 

The much-anticipated premiere of Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves filled the Big Tent. The famous fan favourite Alma the dog was in attendance with the director. The premiere made an all-time ticket sales record and those waiting for Sunday’s screening outside the tent heard enthusiastic applause when the film ended. 

At the Big Tent, Fallen Leaves was followed by a silent film concert of Frank Borzage’s melodrama 7th Heaven accompanied by the 7th Heaven ensemble consisting of Lau Nau, Topias Tiheäsalo, and Hermanni Yli-Tepsa. The film tells a love story between two poor people in Paris that even the brutalities of the World War cannot stop. The film first released in 1927 resonated strongly with today’s audience as was confirmed by the sadness of the music and the sniffles of the audience.

Cinema Kitinen screened the second part of the Scottish Special set in the Hebrides, I Know Where I’m Going directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The film was presented by the director of the Scottish film organisation Screen Argyll Jen Skinner, who told the audience about the local culture in the Hebrides and the history of the film. 

At the School, the Austrian director David Wagner’s first feature length film, the visually stunning and intense Eismayer was screened. The audience lived with the depiction of repressed homosexuality in the military and the film and director received enthusiastic applause. 

Late night at the Big Tent served music by Hassisen kone in the concert documentary directed by Mika Kaurismäki. The karaoke screening had all the ingredients of a memorable karaoke event from singing together and air guitar interpretations to a sea of light. The singing was led by the one and only Ismo Alanko! Levottomat jalat made even the last of the audience join in the signing and by the time Rappiolla was sung the festival goers were dancing under the screen,

At the School, Night School of Experimental Cinema curated and presented by Mika Taanila brought dim and obscure vibes to the light night. The short film series consisting of eight captivating avantgarde gems was an experience that was analysed by the riverbanks until the morning dew. 

Image: Hilma Toivanen