Film History. And History. Vyborg, once Finnish, now Russian. Next time I am in St. Petersburg I must go to the city. Thanks to Patricio Guzman, who picked Pia Andell’s wonderful archive-based love story as one of his favourites to be screened at IDFA. It had only one screening, yesterday, but it must be possible to get to it online somewhere? I chose to watch it because of my interest in Russia and Pieter and found a documentary classic even if it is only 15 years old, so well mastered, to be enjoyed, what a life they had Y and Mirri. Here is the IDFA description:
”In 1938, a young Finnish couple, both of them architects, bought an 8mm camera. A year after this purchase, Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union. The husband, given the name “Y,” was appointed as the architect of the city of Vyborg, and he worked closely together with his wife, nicknamed Mirri. The story is told from the perspective of their daughter, whose first memory was of marching soldiers. Her observations are voiced sometimes by a child and sometimes by an adult.
This creative documentary is constructed entirely from amateur films—some of them in color—shot by the couple between 1938 and 1949. Initially, the footage paints a picture of life as usual, with people swimming and new children being born. Increasingly, however, the war starts to intrude on their existence. Then comes the moment that Y gets separated from his family for a long period of time. The couple’s correspondence and the films of this period offer some intimate insight into the lives of normal citizens affected by the war, and the unique perspective of an architect who must rebuild his ruined city adds a telling layer.”
Pia Andell: Y in Vyborg, Finland, 2005, 51 mins.