The festival in Helsinki is running until the 6th of February with a national and international competition, a Finnish and an international selection, a retrospective of the master Pirjo Honkasalo – it’s all very good in terms of films to be shown – from Kurdish-Swedish Hogir Hirori’s strong ”Sabaya”, winner of several awards, to Pawel Lozinski’s original ”Balcon Movie” and the much talked about Indian ”Writing With Fire” by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh with brave female reporters, who have started a newspaper against all gender and official power odds. The best of the best the festival have tried to collect without having any exclusive restrictions like world premiere or alike.
I am not in Helsinki but have accreditation to the FinEst Market until the 13th of February inviting me to watch Fin-nish and Est-onian completed doc features, or short films or ”Works in Progress”. Very well presented, easy to operate. Good initiative, hope many will use it.
I went to ”Works in Progress” to watch a couple of projects that I knew from other pitching sessions as this is also meant as a pitching with clips from the films to come and comments from director and producer:
„The Long War” is the upcoming film by Russian Alina Rudnitskaya produced by Finnish veteran Pertti Veijalainen. The 23 minutes material shown demonstrates Rudnitskaya’s cinematic skills having long sequences letting the patriotism come forward through youngsters and kids, who swear their loyalty to the fatherland as does the archbishop (?) at one of the stations, where the war-train with material taken back from Syria stops. Rudnitskaya has a long, very strong sequence, where soldiers visit a grave of a fallen colleague taking off their headgear, placing a rose, hugging the parents. I am sure this will be a good film.
I also have great sympathy for ”The Cello” by Kira Jääskeläinen, who travels to places where the old cello she found in a container (!) must have/could have been, tracing its origin and journey through the 20th century. Making the director come back to play the instrument as she had been doing before. It’s a long way, she wants to go finding archive that fits but she will take her time and allow surprises to come forward in a project that is very original and promising.
One more that I did not know in beforehand: Suvi West and Anssi Kömi’s ”Homecoming”, fascinating because of the women in the film, who in museums in Finland and around Europe are looking for Sami heritage. What I saw was a very fresh and emotional in tone depiction of colonialism.