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Presentation on theme: "THE HISTORY OF FINNISH CINEMA Jaakko Seppälä"— Presentation transcript:


2 The Early Years First film screening in Finland First Finnish feature film: The Moonshiners (1907) Themes and characteristics of Finnish cinema: – Consumption of alcohol – Depictions of nature – Adaptations of domestic plays and literature – Strong female characters Many of the early films were rather local than national In 1916 filmmaking activities were forbidden by the Russian authorities. In these early years 25 fiction films were made and hundreds of short documentary-like films. Fictions films made in this era are considered lost.

3 Atelier Apollos landscape film


5 A Secret Command Behind the Inheritance (1914)

6 The Formative Years New production companies were being established in the late 1910s. – Among them Suomi-Filmi Oy Finnish film industry faced a crisis – Film was not recognised as art (heavy taxes) – Civil war had divided Finnish people in two – Hollywood films dominated national markets Companies began to produce distinctively national films. Finnish rural films proved audience favourites.

7 The Burglary (1926)

8 Sound Film Synchronised sound films have been made in Finland since Spoken native tongue became an important attraction. In 1937 an average domestic film made seven times as much money as an average imported film. Oy Suomen Filmiteollisuus was established in 1933 and it began to compete with Suomi-Filmi Oy. New genres and film cycles: – Military farces – Logroller films – Modern city comedies – Historical patriotic dramas

9 Popular Themes in Hard Times The Winter War (1939–1940) The Continuation War (1941–1944) Finnish film industry was doing well. – People craved for escapist entertainment. Every new Finnish film was seen by 10% of the entire population. New film cycle: elaborate costume Films – Romantic fantasies set in the 19 th century Biggest stars: Tauno Palo and Ansa Ikonen

10 Tauno Palo and Ansa Ikonen

11 The End of the Studio Era Problem films as representatives of the post-war era sentiments – These were also known as syphilis films 1950s started with an ascending economic curve for the Finnish film industry. Remakes of old favourites, detective films and ballad films (Finnish musicals) The biggest success: The Unknown Soldier (1955) – The film was seen by spectators

12 The Unknown Soldier (Laine, 1955)

13 Changing values Finnish cinema faced a crisis in the late 1950s and it deepened in the 1960s. Big production companies suffered the most. New generation of film critics began to criticise the trends and style of the old Finnish cinema. – There was a demand for art cinema. The 1960s saw the birth of new kind of Finnish cinema. – Finnish new wave was influenced by European art cinemas. New films failed to attract large audiences. Uuno Turhapuro -comedies were smash hits.

14 Skin (Niskanen, 1966)

15 Vesa-Matti Loiri as Uuno Turhapuro Numbscull Emptybrook

16 Contemporary Finnish Cinema Finnish cinema suffered from lack of spectators throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. The new wave was short lived. Aki and Mika Kaurismäki began their careers in the early 1980s. – Films were favourably received at film festivals. Boom years 1999 and 2000 – Old genres and representations of past became popular once again (now treated with nostalgia). Internationality mixed with Finnishness – Car chases in Helsinki, Kung-fu in Finnish forests etc.

17 Lordi – new national hero?

18 Introductions to Finnish cinema Tytti Soila, Finland in Tytti Soila, Astrid Söderbergh Widding and Gunnar Iversen, Nordic National Cinemas (London: Routledge, 1998), pp Pietari Kääpä (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Finland (Bristol: Intellect, 2012) Peter Cowie, Finnish Cinema (Helsinki: Suomen Elokuvasäätiö, 1990).

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