The Midnight Sun Film Festival online edition of 2021 presents the following recordings of the beloved festival tradition – the morning discussions (with Peter von Bagh and in English unless mentioned otherwise):
Elina Salo: An homage to the announcer of our series “Desert Island Films” with Yle Teema; a 1993 discussion with the ever-radiant star of the films of Risto Jarva and Aki Kaurismäki. She agreed to participate as an official guest provided that the 20-second debut short film of her interviewer von Bagh, “Life in Finnish forests” – nowadays lost! – would be screened during the festival… (In Finnish.)
Esko Salminen: Another theatre titan and popular star of Finnish films since the 1960s, the second-generation actor became a familiar face to international audiences only later in his career in Kaurismäki’s Hamlet Goes Business and was the first ever Finnish morning discussion guest in 1992. (In Finnish.)
Harriet Andersson: Representing Sweden in the high art of acting, the sensational discovery of Ingmar Bergman and a mainstay for decades in his famed thespian ensemble, Andersson was also Jörn Donner’s partner in work and life for several years. Here she discusses with Liselott Forsman and method acting expert Foster Hirsch in 2012.
Stefan Jarl: The Midnight Sun Film Festival has a rule of inviting filmmakers as special guests only once, but Sweden’s most respected documentarist was asked to visit for the second time in 1998 – and this time the sharp critic of “folkhemmet” got his deserved spot in the morning discussions.
Dagur Kári: During football’s EURO 2016 games the festival was visited by a citizen of Iceland, the tournament’s brightest phenomenon. The head of the directing branch of Copenhagen’s National Film School of Denmark, Kári is a master of tragicomic depictions of losers and has made films in both of his countries of residence as well as in New York. (Interviewed by Otto Kylmälä and Timo Malmi.)
Andrei Konchalovsky: The scion of a prominent cultural family in Russia (father was a storybook author who also wrote lyrics to the national hymn, brother Nikita is one of the country’s most distinguished filmmakers) visited the festival in 2008 showcasing his characteristic vitality which still keeps him making films, now at 83. Having worked first in the Soviet Union, then in Hollywood and now in Russia, here he discusses a variety of topics ranging from Andrei Tarkovsky to Sylvester Stallone – both former co-workers of his.
Małgorzata Szumowska: During the 2010s, younger and current filmmakers became a more prominent fixture amongst the guests of the Midnight Sun Film Festival – and got their deserved spots in the morning discussions. The laudable representative of new Polish cinema visited the festival in 2015 and told everyone to party more and work less – with a twinkle in her eye. (Interviewed by Petteri Kalliomäki and Timo Malmi.)
Chantal Akerman: The Belgian avant-gardist released the early cornerstone of feminist cinema, the three-and-a-half-hour-long Jeanne Dielman (1975) when she was only 25 and visited the Midnight Sun Film Festival in 1991 – the same year as Agnès Varda, which proves that the festival has emphasized the importance of female filmmakers since the early days. (In French, interpreted in Finnish.)
Jacques Demy: In 1987, the second year of the festival, the Kitisenranta school became the third screening venue, and its hall has since been the location of the beloved morning discussions, taking place every festival morning at 10 AM. The very first discussions, like this one with the auteur of the most romantic films and legendary musical of the French nouvelle vague, were recorded only partly. (In French, interpreted in Finnish.)
Robert Guédiguian: The son of an Armenian father and a German mother who is nonetheless known as a quintessentially French auteur of beloved stories of the working class of Marseille got along exceptionally well with Peter von Bagh right from the get-go in their discussion in 2009. (In French, interpreted in Finnish.)
Claire Denis: One of the most outstanding auteurs of modern arthouse, the French director was supposed to visit the Midnight Sun Film Festival already in 2000 but could not make it until 2013 – when the ongoing editing process of her new film allowed her to stay for only a day, “the shortest visit in the history of the festival”. That did not, however, affect the quality of this exchange of ideas.
Bertrand Bonello: Representing the younger guard of the morning discussion guests, the French comet is quite unique in his background: being also a musician and a composer, he takes risks in his slightly experimental films, which are often hypnotic experiences. This discussion with Olaf Möller is from 2017.
Mario Monicelli: ”The funniest director of Italian cinema” ended his own life in a dramatic way by jumping off a hospital balcony at the age of 95, but in this morning discussion from 1994 he talks extensively on the art of making people laugh, i.e. his expertise, comedy. (In Italian, interpreted in Finnish.)
Nanni Moretti: One of contemporary Italian cinema’s central personas, the auteur with an actor’s comic capabilities makes very personal films that often comment on society – and being a film buff, he also owns a cinema in Rome. Not a whole lot of questions were needed in this morning discussion from 2004… (In Italian, interpreted in Finnish.)
Jafar Panahi: One of the festival’s distinguished Iranian guests, the lively and amiable persona visited the event in 2006 but was prohibited from making films four years later – prompting a condemning official declaration from that year’s festivalgoers. Here he gives light to his distinctive methods, discussing among other things the demarcation of reality and fiction. (In Persian, interpreted in Finnish.)
Atom Egoyan: The Canadian director, who in his films explores the fractured identities of individuals, is one of the most generous filmmaker guests (in 2011) in the history of the Midnight Sun Film Festival, which might have something to do with the fact that he has his own film festival in Yerevan, Armenia, the home country of his parents (the festival’s preferred drinks are brandy and apricot grappa instead of beer and kossu).
Stanley Donen: The director of one of the best musicals of all time, Singin’ in the Rain (which he made aged 27!) specialized in that genre, but later directed elegant comedies and all kinds of other nice things as well. In this morning discussion from 1994 the focus is on musicals from Broadway to Hollywood. (Interpreted in Finnish.)
Bob Rafelson: One of the central figures in 1970s’ “New Hollywood” gave voice to estranged drifters, directed Jack Nicholson’s breakthrough performances, was the man behind the pop phenomenon The Monkees and the producer of Easy Rider (1969) – all excellent topics for this discussion from 2000.