From the Land of the Midnight Sun

This weekend’s showcase of Finnish cinema, From the Land of the Midnight Sun, may or may not make you want to visit that far northern country. The documentary Helsinki, Forever is an archival tribute to the capital city (only city?), a compendium of old silents, newsreels, gangster movies, vintage melodramas, and some newer footage by recognizable directors including Aki Kaurismäki. (Maybe Finland’s only recognizable director?) The doc reminds you how new Finland is; it declared independence in 1917 from declining imperial Russia. And, about the same time, the first movies were produced and screened there. Cinema and nationhood are closely entwined, and the filmed record of Helsinki here becomes a national self-portrait. Also: Unseen but potentially interesting is Richard Lefebvre’s new local remake of Kaurismäki’s 1985 crime flick Calamari Union, with Mudhoney’s Mark Arm among the cast. See Web site for showtimes. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

July 16-18, 2010

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