(From Closely Watched Trains by Jiří Menzel)
French film director and screenwriter MIA HANSEN-LØVE (b. 1981) was recently awarded with the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Director for Things to Come, premiered in MSFF 2016. Brilliant Isabelle Huppert stars as a philosophy teacher experiencing major setbacks in her family life and work. Hansen-Løve has also worked as an actress (starting her career at 18 under the direction of her future spouse Olivier Assayas) and as a critic for famed Cahiers du Cinema magazine. Hansen-Løve’s direction works are usually based on hers or her fellowmen’s personal experiences. Some fine examples are The Father of my Children (2009) about a film director struggling with suicidal despair, Goodbye First Love (2011), an examination of the meaning of first love, and Eden (2014), a story of a DJ in 90’s house music scene.
Within last ten years, CHARLES GILLIBERT (b. 1977) has risen to the ranks of most prominent French film producers. He has produced France’s recent Oscar nominee Mustang as well as works by some of the top directors in the world such as Abbas Kiarostami, Xavier Dolan and Abdellatic Kechiche – not to forget Hansen-Løve and Assayas. Another Gillibert productions, Assayas’s Personal Shopper, is also included in this year’s Cannes competition.
Icelander DAGUR KÁRI (b. 1973) won the Nordic Council Film Prize last year with his thrilling loser portrayal Virgin Mountain (2015). Kári, educated as both film director and a musician, works as the head of director’s programme at the National Film School of Denmark. His breakthrough film Nói Albinói (2003) as well as a “Jarmuschian”, Copenhagen-filmed drama comedy about marginalized young adults, Dark Horse (2008), will be screened from this master of melancholical, Kaurismäki-esque humour and minimalized expression.
Italian GIANFRANCO ROSI (b. 1964) won the Golden Bear of Berlin Film Festival this February with his documentary film Fire at Sea (2016), which wields the most burning topic of our times: European refugee question. “It is urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking”, praised Meryl Streep, chair of the Berlin jury. Another Rosi film screened in MSFF 2016 is the first documentary film ever awarded with the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival: Sacro GRA (2013) a depiction of life along the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the ring-road highway that circles Rome.
Englishman DAVID FARR (b. 1969) comes to Sodankylä as the writer-producer of a stylish psychological thriller The Ones Below (2015), starring Finnish Laura Birn. Previously, Farr has worked as scriptwriter of action thriller Hanna (2011), which was partially shot in Finland. Farr has also adapted applauded John le Carré series The Night Manager for television.
Actress MALIN BUSKA (b. 1984) from Swedish Lapland arrives to Sodankylä as the leading actress of Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King (2015). In 2011, Buska was awarded with “Rising Star”-award of Stockholm International Film Festival for her performance in Björn Runge’s Happy End. Buska stars as the second female lead in Jussi Hiltunen’s upcoming debut film Armoton maa, which will be shot in Lapland.
(Wellman's Beggars of Life is one of the accompanied silent films in MSFF 2016.)
British skiffle band The Dodge Brothers, reinforced with pianist/composer Neil Brand, will accompany William A. Wellman’s silent film classic Beggars of Life (1928) at the 31st Midnight Sun Film Festival (June 15th-19th 2016). Louise Brooks, the beauty with the bob, takes centre stage in her most beloved American role.
With his piano Neil Brand will also accompany a parade of short films by Hal Roach. In this screening, festival audience can laugh at the antics of Charlie Chase, Laurel and Hardy and the dynamic duo of Marion Byron and Anita Garvin.
One of the most internationally known Finnish pianists, Iiro Rantala, has composed a new score of Aki Kaurismäki’s masterly silent film Juha (1999). Rantala will perform his version of Kaurismäki’s tour de force at Sodankylä’s international premiere.
Film music matinee on Wednesday
Festival begins with film music matinee on Wednesday, 15th of June from 10AM to 3.30PM.
Neil Brand, one of the leading experts of silent film music, conducts the international part of the matinee by highlighting some well-known samples from film music history and leading the conversation with the audience.
Brand is also known for presenting BBC documentary film Sound of Cinema: The Music That Made the Movies (2013), which celebrates the art of cinema soundtrack from early ages to present day.
In the domestic part of the matinee, composer-musician Anssi Tikanmäki and director Mika Kaurismäki take part in a discussion about cinema music, their collaborated works and Tikanmäki’s career as composer.
Cinema music classics, metal music and karaoke
Films featuring music by some of the top film composers in the world, e.g. Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Angelo Badalamenti and Ryuichi Sakamoto, can be seen in Sodankylä this summer. Film classics such as Psycho, Blue Velvet and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, a David Bowie homage, are part of the programme.
In Wacken 3D (2014), 25th anniversary film of the biggest heavy metal music festival in the world, mythical Motörhead figure Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and the members of Deep Purple and Rammstein discuss the meaning of Wacken in between of live music samples.
Meanwhile, Jaco (2014), is a documentary film about Jaco Pastorius, the “Jimi Hendrix of bass guitar”. Among those reminiscing the late bass guitar wizard are Sting, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock.
And as always, MSFF presents a comprehensive setting of film karaoke treats in the spirit of last year’s ecstatic Purple Rain sing-along. The first confirmed karaoke screening is The Saimaa Gesture (1981), a 35-year old cult classic by the Kaurismäki brothers. More karaoke screenings will be confirmed later on.
The line-up of the international festival guests of MSFF 2016 will be published next week and the rest of the programme later in May and early June.
Midnight Sun Film Festival has been acknowledged with the first EFFE Award as "one of the twelve trend-setting festivals in Europe". The prize was handed in the award ceremony held in Paris on the 27th of September. It was the first time the umbrella organization of 760 festivals from 31 countries awarded year's finest cultural events. The uniqueness of the award was emphasized by the fact that the Midnight Sun Film Festival was the only film festival among the winners.
Criteria for the EFFE Award (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) said: “The Midnight Sun Film Festival boasts one of the most unusual atmospheres of any festival in the world: top directors, up-and-coming talent, an international audience and the common person on the street come together under the midnight sun. Created by leading artists in the field (acclaimed filmmakers the Kaurismäki brothers), this is a distinctive and surprising film festival”.
Mandated by the Midnight Sun Film Festival the award was received in the Paris ceremony by the Finland Festivals executive Kai Amberla. Midnight Sun Film Festival wants to dedicate the prize to its founders Anssi Mänttäri, Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, as well as the first artistic director of the festival Peter von Bagh, who passed away last year.
Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was one of the 70 mm classics screened at Sodankylä. Picture: Santeri Happonen
The 30th edition of the Midnight Sun Film Festival (June 10-14 2015) broke several audience records of the traditional festival. According to Sunday morning’s estimate, there were more than 30 000 visitors who bought tickets to festival screening, held in four venues around the clock. The visitor numbers were up approximately 15 per cent from last year.
This year there were filmmakers from more than ten countries coming to show their films to the cultivated audiences beyond the Arctic Circle. Mike Leigh from the UK was this year’s main guest, joined by Christian Petzold (Germany), Whit Stillman (USA), Nils Malmros (Denmark), Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland), Miguel Gomes (Portugal) and Auberi Edler (France), among others.
The festival was launched with a head start on Wednesday morning at Cinema Lapinsuu with a matinee dedicated to the life and deeds of Peter von Bagh. The matinee screened short films and featured expert guests from Jouko Aaltonen to Bernard Eisenschitz. The presence of the late von Bagh was vividly present at the festival, in the form of his own films as well as screenings of his personal favourites. Especially The Count, von Bagh’s singular feature-length fiction film, made the audience go wild.
Von Bagh’s role as a moderator of the festival’s morning discussions was inherited by Timo Malmi, Olaf Möller, Liselott Forsman, Otto Kylmälä, Neil McGlone and Petteri Kalliomäki, who each got the opportunity to invite a foreign festival guest to the School stage for a chat. The YLE Teema channel transmitted the festival atmosphere to Finnish homes by live-broadcasting Mike Leigh’s Saturday morning discussion and the discussion of the Finnish festival guests. The recordings are now available at the YLE Areena streaming service.
An extensive recap of the year’s Finnish films is a traditional part of the festival selection. This year actress Minna Haapkylä was present to introduce the screening of Jörn Donner’sArmi Alive!, while Armi Toivanen spoke with the audience in connection to Antti Heikki Pesonen’s Headfirst. The Finnish director guests Petri Kotwica (Absolution) Anssi Mänttäri (Black Dog on My Shoulder) and Ville Suhonen (Seamstress) received a warm welcome.
By Sunday morning, there had been 28 sold-out screenings at the festival. Cinema Lapinsuu, the “festival palace”, attracted a full house on many consecutive days, while every single screening of Malgorzata Szumowska’s films was sold out. The bigger capacity of the new Big Tent was also evident at the box office.
Rare 70mm versions of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Akira Kurosawa’sDersu Uzala hypnotized spectators at the Big Tent. The ecstasy of karaoke was experienced three times at this year’s festival, with Thursday’s Suomi-Filmi-Sing-Along and Friday’s At the Rovaniemi Fair preparing the audience for Saturday, when Sam Huber, wearing a baroque shirt, danced on top of a grand piano to the melodies of Prince’sPurple Rain. Silent films led by conductor and master pianist Antonio Coppola, Jacques Feyder’sThe New Gentlemen (accompanied by Avanti! orchestra) and Frank Borzage’sLucky Star,were also received with enthusiasm, as was expected.
The final festival day launches with two morning discussions: Malgorzata Szumowska is interviewed by Petteri Kalliomäki at 10am, while Olaf Möller interviews Christian Petzold at 11am.
The winning film of this year’s audience voting will be screened at Lapinsuu at 9.45pm. There will also be re-screenings of others of this year’s favourite films to satisfy the festival audience. Ville Suhonen’s impressive documentary, Seamstress, which was sold out on Thursday, will be re-screened at the Big Tent at 10am.
Sure to be a one of a kind experience is the photography concert by Ismo Alanko and Pekka Turunen at the Big Tent at 14.45.
Mr. Turner (2014).
Audience’s choice: Mr. Turner
Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner won this year’s audience voting, so the film will be screened once more on Sunday at 9:45 pm at Lapinsuu. The film is a carefully constructed drama on the radical painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), whose role in reshaping the art of painting was only realized by future generations.
In preparation for his role as Turner, actor Timothy Spall studied painting in order make his brush strokes authentic, while the roles of other artists of the period were only cast with actors who have actually painted in real life. Dorothy Atkinson is magnificent as Turner’s faithful housekeeper. Spall deservedly won at Cannes for his masterly role.
Friday nights silent film was accompanied by Avanti! orchestra. Picture: Santeri Happonen.
The sunny festival Friday was launched with two morning discussions. The audience enjoyed listening about the making of Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights and Whit Stillman’s career path, among other things.
Friday’s first surprise was the screening of Whit Stillman’s TV pilot The Cosmopolitans, which even the director himself had not seen on a silver screen until now.
Another TV production screened on a silver screen was Aki Kaurismäki’s Dirty Hands (1989), based on a play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The capacity of the renovated Big Tent was tested by Friday night’s silent film screening. The line to the screening weaved its way all over the festival area, ending outside the gates.
Friday night’s surprise preview screening was surprising indeed: the audience had a chance to see Aleksi Salmenperä’s brand new comedy Häiriötekijä, which has its Finnish premiere this autumn. Actors Tommi Korpela and Eero Ritala were present at the screening.
Morning arrived to the festival in the company of dance and song. Despite delays and technical problems, the atmosphere was sky-high at the Big Tent’s karaoke screening.
Konrad Wolf's Goya (1971).
The festival Saturday begins with Mike Leigh's anticipated morning discussion. The discussion will be broadcast live on Yle Teema.
Other highlights include the 70mm screening of Konrad Wolf's Goya at 12.30pm at the Big Tent and Christian Petzold's Phoenix at the same venue at 3.45pm. Saturday's silent film screening features Frank Borzage's Lucky Star accompanied by Antonio Coppola at the Big Tent at 6.15pm.
Be sure not to miss the karaoke screening of Prince's Purple Rain at the Big Tent at 11.00pm. Saturday reaches it's dreamy climax at 3.45am with Wet Dreams at the Big Tent!
In addition to films, the festival audience can enjoy the Midnight Sun versus The Rest of the Universe soccer match and the Finnish Broadcasting Company sauna by the river behind the festival area.
Football veteran Jukka Virtanen in the 2013 match. Kuva: Annina Mannila
The festival turns 30, and the annual football match reaches the respectable age of 10. The great battle Jalakapallo 10v: Midnight Sun v/s Rest of the Universe takes place tomorrow, Saturday 13 June at 12.45. Festival workers against festival guests!
Venue: Urheilupuisto pitch along Kasarmintie. All are invited to root for their champions!
Nils Malmros with Olaf Möller. Image: Saana Kotila.
Summaries from the daily morning discussions with guest directors are available at the Morning Discussions section of the website.
The Opening Screening, Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, attracted a full house of festival visitors. Image: Santeri Happonen
The 30th edition of The Midnight Sun Film Festival got started on Wednesday June 10 in a festive atmosphere. The life and works of longtime Festival Director Peter von Bagh were celebrated in an extensive five-hour-long matinee, but the festival also turned its gaze into the future. The festival audience got to experience films in a new, bigger and bolder version of the classic festival tent.
The official opening screening at Cinema Lapinsuu attracted a full house of festival visitors and special guests. This year’s opening film was Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake - after decades of anticipation, the celebrated British director has finally arrived at the festival. In the coming days, Leigh will be enjoying the festival atmosphere, with an extensive look into his career and thoughts coming up on Saturday’s morning discussion.
In his opening speech, the festival’s Artistic Director Timo Malmi gave an assertive list of reasons for the festival’s continuing existence after the passing of Peter von Bagh: Midnight Sun Film Festival is an absolutely essential champion of film culture in Finland. Malmi noted that the recent case of Helsinki’s Maxim cinema shows that it is possible to gain victories in this struggle.
The new Big Tent, capable of hosting more than one thousand people, also had its very own opening ceremony. The opening film was Peter von Bagh’s The Count (1971). One of the film’s female stars, Titta Karakorpi was present at the screening to share memories of the The Count’s making, and after the film ended, surprise guest Kiti Neuvonen gave an emotional performance of the film’s theme song.
However, another event attracted festival visitors to the Big Tent already before the official opening. The festival’s long-time partner Kemijoki Oy presented a film about the company’s growth and served the audience liquorice and refreshments. The film “Padottu voima - Kemijoen tarina” showed that Lapland’s modernization process was not painless. Director Michael Franck referred to the film as an instrument of redemption and compared the filmmaking process to a therapy session. Many families financed their children’s education with money from the reservoirs, but some of those children lost their childhood landscapes underwater.
With the first festival day turning into night, this year’s series of 70mm films also got its noble start. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey held the audience in its intensive grip long into the night, leaving everyone hungry for more masterpieces in the 70mm format.
Festival audience at the School. Image: Santeri Happonen.
On Thursday morning, the legendary morning discussions of Sodankylä will return. The first turn at the School bench is taken by Nils Malmros - who is also dubbed as "the Nordic Truffaut". Other picks from the programme: Ville Suhonen's "Ompelijatar", a documentary film about the last woman to have been executed in Finland, will be premiered at 17.45 in the Small Tent. At night, all will be invited to Suomi Finland Sing-Along at the Big Tent at 23.15!
Remember also that the festival restaurants are open from 8am to 2am!
All special screenings Thu 11th June
10.00 Morning Discussion NILS MALMROS: School
12.45 70 MM – Iljenko (Mustalla merkitty valkea lintu) Big Tent
14.15 Presentation of the Sodankylä Award Small Tent, free entry
15.15 Master Class – OLAF MÖLLER (Before Tonight Is Over) Small Tent
15.30 3D – Godard: Goodbye to Language Lapinsuu
17.30 Master Class – MIGUEL MARIAS (Nazarin) Lapinsuu
17.30 70 MM – Hitchcock (Vertigo) Big Tent
23.15 Karaoke – Suomi Finland Sing-Along Big Tent
Producer-director Jouko Aaltonen, researcher Sakari Toiviainen in the background. (Image: Juho Liukkonen)
Miguel Marías, Bernard Eisenschitz and Olaf Möller. Image: Juho Liukkonen.
The 30th Midnight Sun Film Festival began with a commemorative matinee held in Cinema Lapinsuu in honour of the late Festival Director Peter von Bagh. In the Finnish part of the event, the festival’s Artistic Director Timo Malmi interviewed film researcher Sakari Toiviainen and director-producer Jouko Aaltonen, who had both been von Bagh’s working partners.
Discussing von Bagh, the foremost thing that came up was the amazing range of his roles from that of an internationally renowned critic to researcher and filmmaker. Von Bagh’s opus on Finnish art history, Song of Finland, received a special mention when Aki Kaurismäki came up to the stage and recommended that the book be included as a mandatory part of Finnish school syllabus. Aaltonen took note of von Bagh’s exceptional ability to perceive wide-ranging topics in his works.
Von Bagh’s working partners were of the opinion that his childhood in Oulu as well as the early passing of his mother partly explained the director’s productivity and cinephilia - for Peter, film clubs were a window to the world, as Sakari Toiviainen phrased. The director got his career in festival programming started early on in film clubs, eventually leading him to direct international film festivals. The panelists remembered von Bagh as someone who preferred to avoid bureaucracy and who as a director liked to allot responsibility and freedom to everyone.
Three of von Bagh’s early short films were presented in the matinee, including the student occupation film Vanhan valtaus (1968), in which, according to Toiviainen, there is already present the interplay of fact and fiction typical of von Bagh’s works. The political themes of this film reached their apex in the film Socialism, released last year. The conversation also touched on the recent digitalisation of film screenings, of which “Petteri” was strongly against. However, von Bagh valued the sense of community brought on by the cinema-experience even more highly than the correct screening format.
The second part of the matinee featured Olaf Möller interviewing critic Miguel Marías and film historian Bernard Eisenschitz on von Bagh’s body of work. The international guests partly emphasized the same aspects as their Finnish colleagues, praising von Bagh for his tireless productivity, insightful associations, wide-ranging erudition on different fields of art and history, as well as his part in making Finnish cinema known internationally.
Esa "Nätsi" Rosvall and Aki Kaurismäki. Image: Sini Juutilainen.
The new Big Tent was opened by the freshly baked "King of Tents" Esa ”Nätsi” Rosvall.
The opening screening for the Tent featured Peter von Bagh's film The Count (1971), in which the serial charmer Pertti Ylermi Lindgren performed as himself. Present at the screening were Titta Karakorpi, who played one of the female leads in the film, and Kiti Neuvonen, who sang a magnificent version of Nuoruustango, the theme song of the film.
The official opening of the festival, featuring the screening of Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, took place at theater Lapinsuu.
Some of the most remarkable new international films of present day will be screened among the annual “Gems of new cinema” assemblage of Midnight Sun Film Festival. Films by directors from countries such as Iran, Philippines, France and Norway are included.
Despite 20-year ban from making films, Jafar Panahi has yet again been able to make a film in his native country – and nothing less than a film that won the Golden Bear of Berlin Film Festival. Taxi has been described as “a portrait of the Iranian capital Tehran” and is a documentary-like film is set in a Tehran taxi driven by an amateur driver, Panahi himself.
Meanwhile in Locarno, Philippines’ Lav Diaz’s massive From What Is Before was presented with The Golden Leopard. The film portrays the destinies of peasants under the martial law of Dictator Marcos in the 1970s.
Li’l Quinquin by French Bruno Dumont was voted as the best film of 2014 by legendary Cahiers du Cinéma magazine. Braindead policemen investigate a woman’s murder while being followed by kids much smarter than them in this whodunit story in a rural town.
The mysterious science fiction film Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson and directed in Scotland by Englishman Jonathan Glazer, has also been voted to top positions in similar ballots.
Fidelio, Alice’s Journey, the debut full length film by French Lucie Borleteau, is a fresh, breezy and feminine contribution in the seafaring film genre.
1001 Grams, the new, stylish comedy by Bent “Aki Kaurismäki of Norway” Hamer tells a story of a young woman, who has only one passion: anything that can be measured.
Viggo Mortensen can be seen in MSFF in two starring roles: he plays a captain seeking his daughter in 1880s Patagonia in Lisandro Alonso’s Argentinian-Danish joint production Jauja and a dissident teacher in 1950s Algeria in western-ish Albert Camus rendition Far From Men.
From Russia with love: The Gulls, a tale of a young piano teacher trapped in a patriarchal village by Ella Manzheeva, the only representative of Buddhist Kalmyk people in film director scene.
The Owners by Adlilkhan Yearzhanov has been characterized as “Aki Kaurismäki meets Vincent van Gogh”. This Kazakhstani film is a wild tragicomedy about an orphan family’s fight for inherited house.
The award-winning (Venice) debut direction Theeb by Jordanian Naji Abu Nowar tells a story about a young boy’s growth and survival in desert during First World War. Kutlug Ataman’s The Lamb is a dark, satirical childhood and family depiction which takes place in a Turkish village.
No One’s Child by Serbian Vuk Rsumovic, a tale of a wolf child from the period of Yugoslavian wars, is based on a true story and was awarded at Venice Film Festival. Francois Truffaut’s classic rarity The Wild Child will be screened in comparison with Serbian director’s novelty.
As well as a documentary film about Robert Altman we will see Altman’s splendid gamer comedy California Split, and with Rainer Werner Fassbinder portrait, a black-and-white film business drama Veronika Voss. Director portrait will also be drawn of Chinese Jia Zhanke, by famed Brazilian Walter Salles.
Included in the series of glorious 70mm films are Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as “the best film in the world”, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Beloved Dersu Uzala by Akira Kurosawa, East German Konrad Wolf’s magnificent artist portrait Goya and Jean-Jacques Annaud’s family adventure The Bear are also included.
In Master Classes, Italian festival director Gian Luca Farinelli presents La Machina ammazzacattivi, a photography-themed comedy discovery by Roberto Rosselini, the master of neo realism.
To save the best for last, a few music films: concert documentary Björk: Biophilia Live by 2013 MSFF guest Peter Strickland and editor Nick Fenton and Eden by Mia Hansen-Love, a tale about experiences of director’s brother in the world of house music scene in Paris and Chicago.
Jauja by Lisandro Alonso will be one of the new films screened in Sodankylä.
Malgorzata Szumowska, winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director in Berlin Film Festival, as well as Miguel Gomes, one of the most eminent directors of Portugal, reinforce the list of international guests of Midnight Sun Film Festival 2015.
In 2014, Midnight Sun Film Festival was honored to host esteemed Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski. This summer, Malgorzata Szumowska (b. 1973), the leading female director of Poland and winner of Berlin Film Festival’s best director’s award, is going to arrive in Sodankylä.
Szumowska’s latest film, Body (2015), is a dark, humorous exploration of death and anorexia from the point of view of a widowed policeman, his daughter and a hoax therapist. In the Name Of (2013) is a thriller-like portrayal of purgatory of a catholic gay priest. Former works of Szumowska will also be screened in Sodankylä.
Miguel Gomes (b. 1972), an ex-critic and nowadays one of the most eminent directors in Portugal, will bring his latest work to Lapland. Arabian Nights (2015), a six-hour (!), three-part adaptation of One Thousand and One Nights, has been one of the talking points of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Meanwhile Tabu (2012), a homage to silent film, is a magically dream-like composition of love, memories and colonial history of Portugal.
The Count, Peter von Bagh's only full length fiction film, will be screened during MSFF 2015.
Midnight Sun Film Festival co-founder and director, the late Peter von Bagh, will be honored on the opening day of MSFF 2015. Kino Lapinsuu will host an international von Bagh tribute matinee on Wednesday 10th of June from 10am to 3:30pm.
A comprehensive set of von Bagh’s short films will be screened during the matinee, not to forget rare clips from von Bagh’s unfinished documentary film about Agit Prop, a 1970’s political singer group from Finland.
Perhaps the most certificated von Bagh experts, scholar Sakari Toiviainen and producer-director Jouko Aaltonen, will discuss film guru’s life and work in Finnish. In international sequence of the matinee, Bernard Eisenschitz and Olaf Möller will take center stage, led by festival’s artistic director Timo Malmi.
Also several other works of von Bagh will be screened during MSFF 2015, such as his only full length fiction film The Count. A brand new documentary film about von Bagh by Arto Kaivanto will receive its Finnish premiere during the festival.
Included in the long list of films screened in Sodankylä are several of von Bagh’s favorite films, presented by either “Petteri” himself or experts such as Aki Kaurismäki. Among some of Petteri’s hit list are Howard Hawks’ Only Angels Have Wings, Michael Powell’s A Canterbury Tale and John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate.
Seven-time Oscar nominee, Cannes and Venice film festival winner Mike Leigh is one of the distinguished guests of Midnight Sun Film Festival 2015. Also included in the list of esteemed international filmmakers in Sodankylä this summer are Christian Petzold (Germany), Nils Malmros (Denmark) and Whit Stillman (USA).
Mike Leigh (b. 1943), the winner of Cannes Palme d’Or (Secrets and lies, 1996) and best director (Naked, 1993) as well as Venice Film Festival’s Leone d’Oro (Vera Drake, 2004), is one of the most celebrated guests attending the 30th anniversary of Midnight Sun Film Festival.
Leigh, who portrays everyday situations and interpersonal collisions in human relations in humorous and masterful way, last brought the painter biography Mr. Turner (2014) to the silver screen. Among his most recent works are Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010).
Included in the category of main guests is also Christian Petzold (b. 1960), one of the leading figures of “Berlin School”, which was born in Germany in the 1990s. Petzold’s main works from last years are Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear winner Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014), which will receive its Finnish premiere in Sodankylä.
Whit Stillman (b. 1952) rose to prominence with his debut work Metropolitan in 1990. One of the most original directors in Scandinavian film, Danish Nils Malmros (b. 1944), will also be present. Included in the list of international guests are also the star of many of Leigh’s works as well as countless British TV-films, Marion Bailey, and French documentary filmmaker Auberi Edler, a director of the documentary of Aki Kaurismäki film Le Havre.
Included in the star cluster of Finnish guests are actresses Minna Haapkylä, Armi Toivanen and Kirsti Wallaswaara as well as directors Petri Kotwica, Anssi Mänttäri and Ville Suhonen. Also Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, who form the artistic committee of MSFF with artistic director Timo Malmi, will be present.
Additional information about guests, master classes, scholars, schedules and much, much more will be published later.
Remember to stay updated with the accommodation info of 30th Midnight Sun Film Festival (June 10th – June 14th)!
New accommodation info will be updated to msff.fi webpage frequently. Stay tuned and follow the webpage: http://www.msff.fi/index.php/en/travel-accommodation
The National Council for Cinema awarded the State Prize for Cinema to the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä for the high quality of its programming and the nurturing of the cinematic art. The year 2015 will mark the Festival’s 30th anniversary.
The State Prizes awarded by the National Arts Councils are given in recognition of the recipient’s meritorious work or long-term activity in support of the art form.
The National Council for Cinema Rationale
The Midnight Sun Film Festival is among the world’s most unique festivals. Next year the celebration of light, cinema and cinephilia has been held in northernmost Finland for 30 years already.
The Festival has carried out important and consistent work by placing both classic films and new cinema within the reach of the audience, and by providing unforgettable moments in the company of the most legendary filmmakers in the world.
The Midnight Sun Film Festival, “Sodis”, has raised and nourished already several generations of lovers of the cinematic art. Its reputation has spread around the globe, popularising not just cinema but also Finland and the Finnish culture. Another indication of the Festival’s uniqueness is that it is impossible to imitate: the inimitable magic of Sodankylä is born out of the location, the time of the event, the programming, and the people.
The National Council for Cinema wants to bestow the award to the Festival for its high-quality programming, uncompromising nurturing of the cinematic art, and its determined enthusiasm. The cinema, Finland and the world all need the Midnight Sun Film Festival.
Olivier Assayas. Photo: Annina Mannila
“I don’t remember what exactly was the first film I saw, but the film that made the strongest impression on me was maybe Ben-Hur or some Disney film”, said French director Olivier Assayas when asked about his early experiences with cinema. Assayas’ parents worked in the film business and cinema was always present at his home. The family was visited by great names of French cinema from René Clair to Abel Gance. Still, cinema was never discussed seriously in the family.
Kuvaaja: Annina Mannila
”Listening to him, we realize what cinema is really about, what it is in cinema that needs to be saved.” This is how Peter von Bagh summarises the relevance of French director, critic, film educator and Cahiers du Cinéma veteran Alain Bergala in the field of cinema.
“The first film that made an impression on me was Cecil B. DeMille’sThe Ten Commandments and particularly the scene where they cross the Red Sea. Later I heard that many men of my generation experienced the same Big Bang when witnessing that scene”, says Bergala and adds that many films can be seen as generational experiences, although the phenomenon is not as prevalent during the era of television.
Image: Saana Kotila
”There was a rumour he would interview me, but I will interview him.” This is how Aki Kaurismäki responded to questions concerning the nature of Sunday’s extraordinary morning discussion. Festival Director Peter von Bagh cornered director Kaurismäki with a slew of familiar choices: Hawks or Ford? Kurosawa or Ozu? Dostoyevsky or Kafka? Red or white wine? Wife or cinema? The hour-long discussion included a lot of debate and consensus on many great films and filmmakers. The topics of discussion were diverse: everything from Chaplin to Aarne Tarkas.
Pawel Pawlikowski and Olaf Möller. Photo: Frank Rizzo
Peter von Bagh, Alice Rohrwacher and Olaf Möller. Photo: Frank Rizzo
“It all began when I got to know a circus family. I didn’t know any circus tricks so I had to find some other way to join them”, Alice Rohrwacher says. That other way she found in cinema. She created her first documentary film, Un piccolo spettacolo (2005), by doing, daring and experimenting.
One more change in Friday’s morning discussion schedule: Alice Rohrwacher will replace Olaf Möller in the second interview.
10AM: Pawel Pawlikoski (Hosted by Olaf Möller)
11AM: Alice Rohrwacher (Hosted by Peter von Bagh)
Alain Bergala is a French film education expert, filmmaker and author of the book L'hypothèse cinéma (The Aesthetics of Film), which was recently published in Finnish. This year at the Midnight Sun Film Festival, he held a seminar concerning film education for young people and children. The precise topic of the seminar was the pedagogic project Cinéma cent ans de jeunesse, established in 1995, which aims to introduce film education to primary and secondary schools. Now, twenty years after its inception, the scheme spans forty different school classes all over the world.
Opening the seminar, Bergala gave a brief outline of the history of French film education. The guiding ideal of French post-WWII film societies was the idea of high culture uniting people from all backgrounds. However, the advent of television and the recent digitalization of audiovisual culture have diminished artistically ambitious cinema into a small island of its own, which the general public has no connection to.
School classes that commit to the film education scheme spend the whole year working in tandem with their teacher and a professional working in the field of cinema. In the autumn term each student completes exercises that familiarize them with the formal language of cinema. These exercises are based on a DVD of film extracts compiled by the project coordinators. Clear, common rules and rotating roles within the group make sure that the learning process stays equal to all. The spring term culminates with the students making and watching their own films.
Among the examples screened by Bergala illustrating the type of educational film extracts included in the DVD were scenes from classic films that utilize the long take (plan-séquence) in different ways. The students’ task was to consider, without the teacher’s assistance, what is the extracts’ common factor and then film a scene of their own based on how they understood the set of extracts. In order to keep the learning process spontaneous, it is essential that the students do not merely attempt to copy the scenes they have just seen, but instead attempt to say something about a topic personal to them.
At the end of the seminar, Bergala reflected on the benefits and challenges of digitalization. Whereas before the filmmaking process consisted of a clear and linear set of choices, it is now possible to film a limitless amount of material and then work it into an endless number of differing versions. Similarly, the way in which people watch films has also changed: according to Bergala the habit of watching an entire film from start to finish is a disappearing tradition and therefore educators cannot demand that from today’s youth. Instead, they should for example attempt to illustrate the connections between different clips found on the internet.
There have been changes in the morning discussion schedule of the Midnight Sun Film Festival 2014.
On Thursday, Alain Bergala will replace Gleb Panfilov as morning discussion guest. Bergala’s original morning discussion appearance was originally scheduled to be on Friday. Bergala will have a conversation with Peter von Bagh at Kitisenranta school from 10AM to 12PM.
Friday morning will kick off with a double jackpot; for the first hour, Olaf Möller will interview Pawel Pawlikowski (10AM-11AM). After that, Möller will switch seats in an interview hosted by Peter von Bagh (11AM-12PM). Bergala and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun were first announced as guests of Friday’s morning discussion.
On Saturday, Olivier Assayas will participate in morning discussion, as previously announced (10AM-12PM). Sunday’s morning discussion guest will be revealed later.
Updated schedule of MSFF2014 morning discussions
Thursday 12th at 10AM: Alain Bergala (interviewed by Peter von Bagh)
Friday 13th at 10AM: Pawel Pawlikowski (interviewed by Olaf Möller)
Friday 13th at 11AM: Olaf Möller (interviewed by Peter von Bagh)
Saturday 14th at 11AM: Oliver Assayas (interviewed by Peter von Bagh)
Sunday 15th at 10AM: Surprise
Cancellations: Panfilov and Haroun
Gleb Panfilov and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun have unfortunately had to cancel their visit to Sodankylä. However, the films by Panfilov and Haroun are still included in MSFF2014 program.
Cinephiles from all over the world gather in Sodankylä once again. The 29th annual Midnight Sun Film Festival 2014 (June 11th-15th) will start this Wednesday and four silver screens will be filled with quality film 24 hours a day until Sunday evening.
The official opening screening will be held at the Lapinsuu cinema at 8PM, when Peter von Bagh invites a grand master of Russian cinema, Gleb Panfilov, to introduce his pulse-raising masterpiece The Beginning. Inna Churikova, Panfilov’s fiancée and The Beginning’s staggering lead actress, is also present. This couple has been wooed to come to Sodankylä for years.
Yet even before the opening celebration, the audience has the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of cinema at 4PM in the advance screening of Richard Ayoade’s black comedy The Double, double starring Jesse Eisenberg. At 4:15PM, festival’s music programme begins with Twenty Feet From Stardom.
Our traditional children’s film screenings are organized by Finnish Film Contact.
All of our festival guests are present at the opening screening. Cannes-winner Mahamet-Saleh Haroun from Chad will introduce his tour de force Grigris at 10:30PM at Lapinsuu. At the same time, the German guru Olaf Möller begins our master class parade by introducing the cult film The Night Caller.
Our fabulous French guest Katell Quillévéré presents her film Suzanne at 0:45AM in Lapinsuu. At the same time, our domestic director guest Juha Wuolijoki hosts a screening of his film Zarra's Law, shot in the U.S. and starring Sopranos-star Tony Sirico and Hollywood legend Burt Young. And only a few hours later, director master Gleb Panfilov will join Peter von Bagh in Thursday's morning discussion.
Image from Clouds of Sils Maria.
In addition to Cannes Grand Prix winner The Wonders, Olivier Assayas’ brand new film Clouds of Sils Maria will be one of the highlights of Midnight Sun Film Festival 2014. Starring in Assayas’ first English language film will be Juliette Binoche, Chloë Grace Moretz and Kristen Stewart, each praised for their performances. Director Assayas will introduce his film next Friday in Lapinsuu at 2:45 PM.
Our repertoire will also be enriched by a special musical screening. Some of the biggest hits of Pulp will rock the Big Tent in Sodankylä night when Florian Habicht's documentary film Pulp is premiered in Finland. Habicht masterly captured the band’s last concert in Great Britain and the frenzy around it. Pulp has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, such as Common People and This Is Hardcore.
Great Finnish actor Martti Suosalo will also arrive to Sodankylä to strengthen the domestic repertoire of MSFF 2014. He will introduce the film Isänmaallinen mies, in which he performs one of the most astounding lead roles of his career.
Unfortunately, director Peter Greenaway’s arrival seems uncertain at this point. Greenaway was supposed to shoot a film in Finland, but the shooting sessions were postponed to September. Therefore the director’s visit to Sodankylä is endangered. However, the cancellation has not yet been officially confirmed.
Our confirmed visitors from abroad are directors Olivier Assayas (France), Gleb Panfilov (Russia), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), Pawel Pawlikowski (Great Britain), Alice Rohrwacher (Italy), Veiko Öunpuu (Estonia), Katell Quillévéré (France), Hélier Cisterne (France) and actress Inna Churikova (Russia).
The Blues Brothers karaoke screening is due in a week - it is about time you started rehearsing! Here's a list of video links to all the singalong songs, for your comfort and convenience.
SHE CAUGHT THE KATY
Written by Taj Mahal and Yank Rachell
Performed by the Blues Brothers and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
THE OLD LANDMARK
Written by Adeline M. Brunner
Performed by James Brown and the Reverend James Cleveland Choir
MINNIE THE MOOCHER
Written by Cab Calloway and Irving Mills
Performed by Cab Calloway
Courtesy of Hologram Records
Written by Teddy White and
Performed by Aretha Franklin
SHAKE A TAIL FEATHER
Written by Otha Hayes, Andre Williams and Verlie Rice
Performed by Ray Charles and the Blues Brothers Band with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
GIMME SOME LOVIN'
Written by Steve Winwood (as Stevie Winwood), Spencer Davis, and Muff Winwood
Performed by the Blues Brothers and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
THEME FROM 'RAWHIDE'
Written by Dimitri Tiomkin
Performed by the Blues Brothers and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY TO LOVE
Written by Jerry Wexler, Bert Berns (as Bert Berns) and Solomon Burke
Performed by the Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
SWEET HOME CHICAGO
Written by Robert Johnson
Performed by the Blues Brothers and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Performed by the Blues Brothers, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles,
Aretha Franklin and a "Crew" with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
In 2014, the Midnight Sun Film Festival presents a selection of films highlighting the rich and diverse cultural history of the Balkan area. The “Balkan Special” includes a selection of short films from the former Yugoslavia, a few handpicked Yugoslav classics and recent feature-length films of Serbian, Bosnian and international production. Featuring both fictional and documentary films, the series also introduces us to the artistic and industrial aspects of Balkan film culture. The films will be presented by the German film experts Lars Henrik Gass and Olaf Möller and the Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski.