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Kelab Seni Filem

Finnish Film Festival
22-28 March 1999

Venue: The British Council, Jalan Bukit Aman, KL

Organised by Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia with the co-operation of the Embassy of Finland. These screenings are only for members of Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia, except for the family film Tommy and the Wildcat which is open to the public.

If you are unsure of joining the Kelab now, you could pay a deposit of RM20 to see all these films. If you do decide to join, the balance of the subscription must be paid at our next regular screening on 30 March 1999.

Mon 22 March
7.00 pm - Tommy and the Wildcat (Free admission)
9.00 pm - A Summer by the River

Wed 24 March
7.00 pm - Harjunpaa and the Persecutors
9.00 pm - Drifting Clouds

Thu 25 March
7.00 pm - A Respectable Tragedy
9.00 pm - A Summer by the River

Fri 26 March
7.00 pm - Tommy and the Wildcat (Free admission)
9.00 pm - Harjunpaa and the Persecutors

Sat 27 March
7.00 pm - Drifting Clouds
9.00 pm - A Respectable Tragedy

Sun 28 March
3.00 pm - Tommy and the Wildcat (Free admission)

Tommy and the Wildcat (Poika Ja Ilves)
Dir: Raimo 0. Niemi; 1998, 96 min., col.
Cast: Konsta Hietanen, Antti Virmavirta, Kristiina Halttu
Twelve-year-old Tommy and his dad move to a farm near the northernmost wildlife park in the world, Tommy befriends a captive lynx, whom he sets free when the park decides to sell it abroad. Born and bred in captivity, the lynx needs Tommy's help in order to survive in the wild. The local residents fear the predator at large and try to capture it at any cost. Tommy succeeds in protecting the lynx until a poacher begins to hunt the wildcat, sending both Tommy and his protege fighting for their lives...

A Summer by the River (Kuningasjatka)
Dir: Markku Polonen; 1998, 85 min., col.
Cast: Pertti Koivula, Simo Kontio, Esko Nikkari
A Summer by the River is a story about a father, a son and the masculine world of log floaters. It is set on a river in Eastern Finland in the mid-50s. Tenho Ovaska, who has led an easy life in the city at his wife's expense, is plunged into harsh reality when his wife dies of pneumonia and Tenho becomes the single parent of their 10-year-old boy Topi. He takes a summer job as a log floater. The work is almost too big a challenge for Tenho, who is more accustomed to taking it easy. Topi feels sorry for his clumsy father. Tenho is forced to grow up over the summer: he has to struggle for his place in a group of tough men and to measure up to his son's expectations of him. Like a river, the eventful story carries both father and son from dire straits to bliss. A ruthless rapids becomes the final purgatory for them and proves that blood in thicker than water. Somewhere in the future, there will be smoother waters awaiting them.

Harjunpaa and the Persecutors (Harjunpaa Ja Kiusantekijat)
Dir: Ake Lindman; 1993, 100 min., col.
Cast: Kati Heiskanen, Riitta Havukainen, Mats Langbacka
A young, successful couple is being harassed. Someone is ordering all kinds of things and services in their name and pestering them in other ways, too. The ongoing pressure is beginning to take its toll on the marriage, things at the office are going badly and the material abundance doesn't offer solace. For their tormentors, pestering the young couple gives them meaning and a sense of power. Then detective Harjunpaa and his partner Onerva are put on the case. Harjunpaa and the Persecutors is a film about people in confrontation with crime. All the participants in this chain of events are portrayed with a keen eye and with compassion. The criminals or the police are not seen as mere symbols of good and evil, but mainly as people with dreams, feelings and weaknesses. The crime is solved and the police leave the scene, but the human tragedy they've witnessed remains.

Drifting Clouds (Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat)
Dir: Aki Kaurismaki; 1996, 96 min., col.
Cast: Kati Outinen, Kari Vaananen, Elina Salo
When the Helsinki restaurant where Ilona works is taken over, the new owners decide not to retain the existing staff. To make matters worse, Ilona's tram-driver husband Lauri is made redundant. There are few jobs around and the couple are no longer in the bloom of youth. Will their marriage survive the belt-tightening and the blows to dignity that unemployment brings? The potentially depressing subject matter is superbly offset by Kaurismaki's customary deadpan brand of gently absurdist comedy, by the use of primary colours in the set designs, and by the quiet yet real sense of supportiveness that imbues Ilona and Lauri's relationship not only with each other but with their friends and colleagues. As ever, the performances from Kaurismaki regulars are understated to the point of minimalism, but the writer/director treats the lives, aspirations and anxieties of his less-than-beautiful losers with such unsentimental affection that we care about every one of them.

A Respectable Tragedy (Saadyllinen Murhenaytelma)
Dir: Kaisa Rastimo; 1998, 114 min., col.
Cast: Ville Virtanen, Paivi Akonpelto, Henriikka Salo
The events take place in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland in 1938-1939, one year before the outbreak of World War II. Elisabet laments: "This is a terribly difficult time. I have this strange idea that 'time', 'the new age', is a woman whose nakedness my son is forced to witness; it is a terrible thing to behold, it is terrible that it cannot be prevented." And everything that happens in Europe, where war is kindling, also takes place in Elisabet's own home, under her very eyes. Dr. Tauno Saarinen, Elisabet's husband, falls madly and irrevocably in love with the young servant girl at the neighbouring villa. Encouraged by the doctor's sudden sexual passion Naimi, his sister, returns to Artur, the love of her youth. Artur's mother Ada disapproves of Naimi's return. Disregarding her presence, Ada assures her son: "She is not a refined woman, she is not worthy of you." Boundaries and morals break down as long-suppressed passions burst into flames with tragic consequences.