Close Up

26 January 2019: The Village Shoemakers


The Village Shoemakers
Erkki Karu, 1923, 83 min, 35mm
Silent with live accompaniment by Stephen Horne

"Erkki Karu specialized in briskly paced farces and light melodramas that were so popular with Finnish audiences they were largely responsible for keeping Suomi-Filmi, Finland's first film company, solvent in the 1930s when foreign films dominated the theaters. Based on a bittersweet, farcical play about unrequited love by Finland's first modern novelist and playwright, Aleksis Kivi, The Village Shoemakers captures the defiant lack of self-pity that distinguished Kivi's literary style. Axel Slangus, later to play the old man in Ingmar Bergman's Virgin Spring, gives an unsentimental performance as a brawny bachelor whose bungled attempts at winning the girl of his dreams leave him to the solitude of a whiskey bottle. The life of Slangus's character resembles that of Kivi, who never married and who died at the age of 38 from drinking and despair." – BAMPFA

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