docpoint

It’s docpoint week in Helsinki. It’s a documentary film festival. And I could afford to buy a screening card for 5 films… But I’ve seen already 8 until today ;-) That’s what I call effective! Well, today I’ve seen 6 Finnish short films in one session!
I thought it might be useful and maybe also interesting to others to write some short thoughts about every film… So here it is:

God Bless Iceland
Iceland, Sweden, Germany, 2009, 100min
(seen on Tuesday at Maxim)

the festival catalogue says:
“It has been said that the collapse of Iceland’s national economy in the autumn of 2008 transformed citizens into activists. The global financial crisis hit the small island nation hard, making it a victim of turbo capitalism. Having lost billions, Iceland’s three biggest banks went all bankrupt on the same week.
People venting their anger, disappointment and national shame patrolled the centre of Reykjavik for weeks, demanding the government’s resignation and new elections. The director documents the protesters, ordinary people making riotous efforts to make it in a bankrupt society. For many, leaving the country is the only choice.
The director also talks with young business sharks, trying to plumb their thoughts. The film emphasises the relativity of the meaning of money in a distressing way: to most of us it is a lifeline – to others it’s just a tool, mere numbers.”
This is already a pretty good description, but I want to state was I was thinking while and after seeing the movie: For me it was at first a film about what money makes with people. It has become the key feature in our society! And the film kind of questions if this is good? It is a film about helplessness of citizens who are immediately thrown into a completely new situation of an economic crisis. It becomes very clear  how different people react on this fact. In the end most of the people go out and demonstrate, demanding a new government. Especially the scenes of demonstrations go really close to oneself. There is this one scene I remember pretty good. It was stil in the beginning of the demonstrations when a demonstrant climbed the parliament house hoisting the flag of the icelandic cheapest supermarket (no idea about the name but remember the logo pretty good: rosa pig on yellow ground). Maybe that’s not the most important scene of the film, but one that was really impressive to me: People show that there is something wrong with the system. Iceland has been a pretty rich country, but still they have to import almost all their food. So this supermarket becomes a sign of capitalism!
But there where other impressive scenes as well: the “architect of the icelandic bank system” talking about numbers instead of money (he doesn’t see money as money, it’s just numbers to deal with).
Nevertheless God Bless Iceland is also a film about new cohesion of citizens. They stood up demonstrating almost all together. And even the policemen stated more or less openly that they are on the people’s side.
But it’s also a film showing that this new cohesion doesn’t last very long. Soon after new elections everyone went into his/her own problems, back to the own world. That’s nowadays world.
And it is a film about emigration as the only way out for many Icelandic people.
So: go and see it, if you ever have the chance!

Kiri
Finland, 2009, 9min
(seen today at Atheneum)

the festival catalogue says:
“20-year-old Kiri has been a user for years. He stays busy by trying to find drugs and things to steal. As a Subutex addict, he knows everything about his “medicine” and ponders about his life and the future of many of his friends – but is incapable of doing anything to change it.”
A film entirely in Finnish (even Finnish Helsinki-dialect subtitles), so I can’t really judge. But what was most scary to me, how he lived. I don’t know what I thought about life in Finland, but poverty, drugs (ans all these bad things) seem so far away from me at the moment, that I was really surprised. But surprised in a bad way…

Koti (English would be: home)
Finland, 2009, 13min
(seen today at Atheneum)

festival catalogue says (translated from finnish by me and google-translator):
Home is a reality to most of us, but not to everyone. Helsinki has more than 3000 homeless people. The short film describes Helsinkis exceptional homeless living environment. To the viewer’s surprise the text is read by a child, telling a fairy tale.
Cold wind and snow create a strong contrast to the soundinnocent heat. The end result is a chillingly clever critique of society, which often overlook those who don’t own homes.

And I pretty much agree with that. The little boy’s voice was really surprising and a strong contrast towards the cold, windy (but still very poetic) winter pictures of Helsinki’s seaside.

Marja-Sisko (English: Guardian Angel)
Finland, 2010, 19min
(seen today at Atheneum)

a film that really made me thinking about a lot of things… society, how I think, how I am,… all possible stuff… so a really really good short film!!!
festival catalogue:
Marja-Sisko follows Olli Aalto, former male priest of Imatra, now known as Marja-Sisko. The mellow scenes give a voice to the person behind the headlines. The priest tells her story calmly and openly – the grace of the voice is surprising, as hardships are not recounted with bitterness.
Marja-Sisko wants to live the life of an ordinary woman: use pantyhose and mascara. However, at church she experiences more than acceptance and neighbourly love.

Marja-Sisko felt like a woman from her childhood on. She wanted to get accepted all her life, just living the life of an ordinary woman. “Nothing special” she states more than ones.
What I noticed about myself seeing the movie: it starts with a close portrait of a man and it ends with pretty much the same picture accept that she uses make up now. Is this just a visual trick? Would it my perception have been changed in the same way if she wouldn’t wear the make up in the end (and so to say, I am not exactly sure any more if she really wasn’t wearing it in the beginning)?
This film is a lot about “societal inherent” perception of people? We see people as what we want them to see. And starting to think about Marja-Sisko, feeling herself as a woman, I came up with one thought: It is probably harder for a man feeling him/herself as a woman to get accepted than for a woman to get accepted as a man. Or is this just how I see the world? Do I just feel it would be easier for me to live as a man? I don’t know… But this film made me really aware of many things. In the beginning I was even thinking: How can she have a wife? How can she have children, if she feels herself as a woman? But yeah, that’s also something I just see her as what I want to see her. And the easiest solution for a man feeling as a woman is to be gay. But actually Marja-Sisko is not… You see: People see others as what they want to see them. I kind of agree with this statement.

Pääteasemana aamu (English: Destination morning)
Finland, 2009. 13min
(seen today at Atheneum)

festival catalogue:
The trains run around the clock. The night train speeds from town to town through the darkness. In the heart of the night the journey has rhythm, its own pace. The atmosphere is exceptional. The night leaves time for new thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams.
Pääteasemana aamu a study of the night and work done at night. It criticises the nature of shift work. The film shows us the life of a night worker by using a train conductor as an example.

Basic questions of that film have already been mentioned pretty much: how does it influence our life’s to work at night? Even though the train conductor shown in the movie says that he likes working at night time, the viewer easily sees how this effects his life also in a bad way. There are a couple of statements in his speech all the time…
But the film is for me also a movie the silence of night. Even though most people asked what comes first to their mind when they hear the word ‘night’ would probably answer ‘darkness’, I was asking myself the same question while seeing the movie. My answer was ‘silence’. For me it is a film about the silence and the new hectic at nighttime, about silence that leaves room for ideas, dreams and fantasies. Regarding the darkness the film shows in a impressive manner how our perception changes at night due to the easy fact that there is a lack of light: Humans start seeing the world only in shapes and greyscale images.
It is a film touching also because of great (sometimes still) pictures!

Rudeboy
Finnland, 2010, 13 min
(seen today at Atheneum)

festival catalogue:
Rudy the cat was serverely injured after hitting the street following a six-storey fall. The options were few: the owner wanted to save her cat, not to put it down. Major surgery is expensive, so a group of friends started to raise money for Rudy’s surgery.
The film raises the question of who can be helped, and who cannot. When a pet is in question, expensive operations are rarely an option.

Miten marjoja poimitaan (English: how to pick berries)
Finland, 2010, 19min
(seen today at Atheneum)

festival catalogue
The cinematography of How to Pick Berries is very precise: the way of composing the lights and colours of the forest is fascinating. Among the twigs, domestic and foreign berry pickers crisscross – and life together isn’t always peachy. They take our jobs and now our berries too. Both sides are suspicious of the other.
Finnish berry picking has also been recently admired at the world’s biggest documentary film festival IDFA.

especially interesting: poetic scenes and music

Vodka Factory
Sweden, 2010, 90min
(seen today at Maxim)

festival catalogue:
The film by director Jerzy Śladkowski, who also directed the sensational Swedish Tango, merges banal realism with Slavic melancholy. Valentina works in a vodka factory in a remote village and lives with her mother and young son. She dreams of becoming an actress. Life is hard in a small community where everyone knows each other. Valentina’s workmates mock her tall dreams. Valentina’s mother wants a change, too: she has reunited with an old crush and expects Valentina to bear the responsibility for her son.
Husbands are conspicious by their absence from the women’s lives. Gossip, daydreams and weary quarrelling add substance to the grey days. Śladkowski’s brilliant narration brings forth the Russian romanticism and the brutality of everyday life. Will the women be able to seize their dreams before they wither away?
Vodka Factory won the grand prize at the DOK Leipzig festival.

The last really great movie I’ve seen today! Actually entirely in Russian. And I even understood stuff  :) yeah!
For me it is a film about honesty and openness of the local village community. But of course this is not only a quality. It shows Valentina, who wants to full fill her dream of becoming an actress. But in a pretty brutal way it also shows reality in Russian society: She has a little son and therefore not really a chance to go far away to Moscow to study. And it also shows her illiteracy (it’s actually not that easy to become an actress), she is not at all aware of. It is a film about the absence of men in village life and how women can actually go along without their men.
And we are left alone with the pretty much worst and we can imagine: Valentina goes to Moscow leaving her little son at her mothers place. Thereby she does also effect on her mother’s life a lot: She planned to move in with an old crush. In that way the movie shows how much our life’s can be effected by others decisions.
Another really good film!

Summing up: 3 days, 8 films, out of which at least 6 were really good! That’s probably only possible in Helsinki (my love)! There are still 2 other movies waiting to be seen: Saturday and Sunday it’s gonna be movie time again!! :)