Close Up

19 January 2019: Helsinki, Forever + Midnight Sun Film Festival


Midnight Sun Film Festival
Heikki Ortamo, 1987, 9 min, 35mm
Finnish with English subtitles

The greatest film festival (anti)promotional short ever made which explains why Midnight Sun is a unique event for both film buffs in Finland and some of the stellar international talents who attend it and also appear in this hilarious guide to a very Finnish way of showing films.

Helsinki, Forever
Peter von Bagh, 2008, 74 min
Finnish with English subtitles

"A fabulous, rather Markeresque, and lovely city symphony which is also a history of Helsinki (and incidentally, Finland, Finnish cinema, and Finnish pop music) recounted with film clips and paintings by three voices. At separate stages we’re introduced to the best-ever Finnish camera movement and the best Finnish musical, are invited to browse diverse neighbourhoods and eras (and to ponder contrasts in populations and divorce rates), and are finally forced to admit that a surprising amount of very striking film footage has emerged from this country and city." – Jonathan Rosenbaum

"Peter von Bagh's international break-through: a portrait of Finland's capital made with material taken from all eras and sources, with newsreel footage finding a place as easily as scenes from feature films. Certain locales are contemplated throughout the years, if not always in chronological order - as every so often, Von Bagh's montage follows an emotional logic that questions real historical developments. The Helsinki he creates is different from the slightly hilly city one can stroll through so pleasurably in summer – it's a mythical place haunted by ghosts of ever-changing stories and buildings never seen. Von Bagh once casually said: "People think I like Helsinki because I made that film; they're mistaken." Or maybe he's just in denial, for something this beautiful is always made from some kind of love." – IFFR

Part of Antti Alanen and Ehsan Khoshbakht's Masterpieces of Finnish Cinema season