Mikko Niskanen’s 50-year-old masterpiece is screened in all its glory at Sodankylä
Peter von Bagh’s dream of a proper 35 mm film copy of the Finnish classic is realised by Martin Scorsese-led foundations international project. Half a century after its television premiere, the full-length original version of Niskanen’s Eight Fatal Shots, will re-premiere at Sodankylä’s Lapinsuu Cinema. The gala screening is on Thursday 16th June at 3 pm.
The festival’s long-term artistic director von Bagh’s biggest legacy project was the restoring of Eight Fatal Shots. Scorsese had managed to drive the project forward at The Film Foundation, where he, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors, has served as Chair for decades. When major funding for the restoration was secured also thanks to Fiction Finland Association, Niskanen’s film became the first entry into the Nordic project of the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.
The guest of honor at the gala screening, Mikko Niskanen’s oldest son Jorma Niskanen will talk about the production memories of Eight Fatal Shots from 50 years back. As a young man he got to oversee the camera work in the endearing owl boy episode of this true story-based tragedy of Finnish farmers.
The practical implementation of the restoration has been the responsibility of the world’s leading center of excellence in Bologna’s film archive. Cecilia Cenciarelli shall introduce the project on behalf of the center of excellence. She is one of the artistic directors of Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival. Cenciarelli shall also present other World Cinema Project social classics screened at Sodankylä. These films are Guadalupean Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga (1972), set in the liberation struggle of Angola, and Haitian Raoul Peck’s documentary film Lumumba: Death of a Prophet (1991).
In March-April 1972 Eight Fatal Shots premiered as a four-part television film on YLE/The Finnish Broadcasting Company channel to glowing reviews and very high viewership.
In 1980 Finnish experts voted Niskanen’s film as the most significant domestic film of all time.