Cinematic centenaries showcased many sides of 100 year-old Finland

Midnight Sun Film Festival brought the centenaries around the world with Finland 100 Years – Through the Eyes of Cinema. Celebrations ended on a high note in berlin’s Zeughaus Kino in December.

Finland 100 Years – Through the Eyes of Cinema brought a series of Finnish film classics from The Worthless to The Moonshiners and from The White Reindeer to The Match Factory Girl. Festivities were completed with additional program, film maker guests and surprises.

The centenaries got a kick start in September at the Reykjavik International Film Festival. RIFF screened an extremely rare selection of early works by Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, from Worthless to Calamari Union, produced by their legendary production company Villealfa.

In November Leeuwarden in Northern Netherlands highlighted Finnish films in an event focusing on Northern cinema. The series included films People in the Summer Night, The White Reindeer, The Worthless and Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana!.

Tokyo enjoyed a special selection of films hand picked by Aki Kaurismäki himself in ”Aki Kaurismäki Carte Blanche”. The selection included six films: Räpsy and Dolly, The Workman’s Diary, The Boys, People in the Summer Night, The White Reindeer, A Year of the Hare and Skavabölen pojat.

Saint Petersburg’s Finnish Film Week screened Erik Blomberg’s classic Cannes winner The White Reindeer with brand new Russian subtitles. After the Finnish Film Week this mysterious gem toured around Russia in special screenings.

Finland’s neighbouring Tallinn showcased an astonishing set of cult classics for a whole 48 hours at their Black Nights Film Festival in November. The marathon got exceptional opening as the grand old man of Finnish film, Jörn Donner, was awarded for his lifetime achievements. Additional program included a mobile sauna, live music by the “Aki Kaurismäki band” Marko Haavisto and Poutahaukat, karaoke and of course dancing to old disco hits.

Superb selection of film pearls brought Midnight Sun Film Festival’s unique spirit to London’s Barbican Arts Centre in late November. Cannes winner Juho Kuosmanen brought his unique cinematic concert to Barbican. Two short silent films, The Moonshiners and Romu-Mattila and a Beautiful Lady were accompanied by Ykspihlajan Kino-orkesteri band and the internationally renowned foley wizard Heikki Kossi. Other Finnish films screened under the title Finland: Independence Day included Valentin Vaala’s People in the Summer Nights, Nyrki Tapiovaara’s poetic thriller Stolen Death, Risto Jarva’s story about escaping the rat race A Year of the Hare and Aki Kaurismäki’s deeply human The Match Factory Girl, which was screened together with The Land of Happiness by Markku Pölönen. The cherry on the birthday cake was the winner of this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize, Little Wings by Selma Vilhunen.

Hedonistic centenaries end edon a high note at Berlin’s Zeighaus Museum from the 5th to 13th December. Film critic Olaf Möller selected six films to the series: The opening film was Lauri Törhönen‘s Border 1917 (2007). Independence Day’s pick on the 6th December was a very rare treat directed by Edvin Laine and the Soviet director Viktor Tregubovic, Trust (1976). Self explanatory pick was Edvin Laine‘s great classic, Under the North Star (1968). Documentary Remembrance is a triumph of one of the most influential post-war caracters of Finnish spirit, Peter von Bagh. The last film of the series is directed by Jotaarkka Pennanen and produced by Jörn Donner. The Mommila Murders (1973) tell the story of the murder of the richest man in Finland at the time of independence, Alfred Kordelin.

Midnight Sun Film Festival has created the series in co-operation with Finnish Film Foundation, Finnish Film Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes and Finland Festivals. Events are funded by Centenary Board and the county of Sodankylä. Finland 100 Years – Through the Eyes of Cinema is part of the official centenaries.

Finland’s 100th indepence day took place on the 6th December, 2017. Midnight Sun Film Festival is arranged annually in June in Sodankylä, Finnish Lapland. Next year’s dates are from the 13th to 17th June, 2018. Welcome!