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Finnish film lights up Rotterdam Film Festival

Flame is based on the only surviving material from a 1937 Finnish feature film starring Regina Linnanheimo, thought to be lost forever.Testifilm

A broad selection of Finnish cinema is being screened at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival, including an entry that revives a feature film that was thought to be completely destroyed in a 1959 studio fire.

Veteran experimental filmmaker Sami van Ingen will present his 15-minute fractured melodrama Flame (Polte), based on damaged frames from the only remaining nitrate reel of Teuvo Tulio’s 1937 feature film Silja – Fallen Asleep When Young (NuorenaNukkunut).

The film was thought to be lost forever after all screening prints and the negative of the film went up in flames in a 1959 studio fire. However, a sequence from the middle of the film was found at La Cinémathèque Française in Paris in 2015, making van Ingen’s project possible.

“It is interesting to see how a non-Finnish audience at Rotterdam film festival will experience my film, which after all is headlined by Finnish culture icon Regina Linnanheimo,” van Ingen ponders in a press release. “How much will external circumstances, or cultural background, affect the viewing experience.”

Flame will screen in Rotterdam on 24 January and features in the Curtain Call category, where Finnish director Henna-Riikka Halonen’s Placeholder is also competing.

Another Finnish cultural icon, Jörn Donner, will also excite the audience in Rotterdam with his 1971 documentary film Fuck Off! – Images of Finland (Perkele! – kuvia Suomesta), and its recently released sequel Perkele 2 – Kuvia Suomesta, featuring in the Perspectives category.

Two more Finnish films made it to the big screen in Rotterdam, namely Jonna Kina’s short film Arr. for a Scene Bright competing in the Future category, and Azar Saiyar’s History Bleeds Under Your Fingernails shown at the DINAMO distribution network screening.

Published on 24.01.2018