In the year 2011, historian Raimo Lappalainen wants to illustrate how life was 50 years earlier. He becomes obsessed with the fate of a 1970s nude model, Saara Turunen, and finds a perfect ...
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In the year 2011, historian Raimo Lappalainen wants to illustrate how life was 50 years earlier. He becomes obsessed with the fate of a 1970s nude model, Saara Turunen, and finds a perfect actress to reconstruct her life and death in front of a TV camera. Meanwhile, a strike at a nuclear plant is covered up by the media. Written by
Back in the '70s Risto Jarva was among my favorite directors, based on his social-consciousness films and documentaries and his delightful final classic free-spirit movie "Year of the Hare". This feature venturing into speculative science fiction is a movie about ideas, not SPFX and the usual sci-fi trappings.
It is set in 2012, with an early recap and what's happened in the intervening years -namely the creation of a war-free stable world in which class distinctions and the ideological battles between Communism and Capitalism (or religious factions and tribal separations) have been eradicated. The future state is prosperous and based on a technocracy with contented populations sharing in nearly Utopian fashion.
The anti-hero Raimo is a civil servant, a scientist in the History Institute, who is smug, self-centered, and utterly convinced of his role as an objective historian. His seeming friends are quickly revealed to be plotting against him, to reveal his manipulative tactics and bring him down.
The ensnare him easily in a scheme whereby he is planning to tell, using documentary filmmaking as his mode (a nod to Jarva's profession) a story of an "ordinary person", in line with his almost mystical belief in the sociology of such folk. He becomes obsessed, not unlike the great Preminger movie "Laura", with a model turned actress named Saara who died while shooting a movie back in 1976. With is so-called friends' help, he discovers Kisse, an exact lookalike, still young, model who he enlists to play Saara in his re-creation movie. She is in league with the anti-Raimo buddies.
With an outstanding and eclectic original music score that deftly integrates avant-garde jazz into the mix (think late '60s pioneers like Pharoah Sanders and Andrew Hill), the movie establishes its futurism, now in the past of course 4 years after 2012, economically with simple costuming, believable technology and some nice cultural changes such as everyone into dancing with emphasis on hand movements (like Middle Eastern or Indian dancers, speaking via gesture). There is a modicum of nudity that has relegated this film unfairly to the "softcore exploitation" pigeon hole, even being released by Something Weird Video with English subtitles, a very odd bird in its catalog.
Jarva integrates many of his themes into the picture, including a pivotal strike by workers at a nuclear power plant that is a key event in the narrative. The hero's ruthlessness and callousness are very well portrayed by both actor and script, and the ending is quite tough- minded. The hero ends up in a drunken stupor, celebrating the broadcast on the propaganda TV channel of his documentary "The Face of the Past". Kisse, who he fell in love with, died in a preventable accident shooting the climax of his film, and all he could come up with as a reaction was "Did the camera get the whole thing?", more interested in his precious footage than in her life. As he lies unconscious, about to suffocate in the modern plastic contraption that passes for a modular sofa, we hear a familiar Communist anthem being sung, which refers to a future time of roses for everyone, echoing an earlier reference to weeds for the common man, roses for the wealthy as Jarva even-handedly criticizes both the competing ideologies of his time - a liberal welfare state form of capitalism vs. the autocratic, top-down Communist and Socialist systems.
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