ELECTRIC FOREST: PART 2 || ROADMASTERS
The film uses dance to express the eternal longing ELECTRIC FOREST SCREENINGS are being organized and produced by FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange in collaboration with Avanto Festival.
It was not until a group of young artists founded the Helsinki Filmmakers’ Co-op in 1989 that someone finally took up the legacy of the pioneering art of Ruutsalo and Myllymäki. The key activists in the founding phase of the co-op were the brothers Sami and Juha van Ingen, Seppo Renvall, Denise Ziegler and Mikko Maasalo. In a spirit of collective enthusiasm, the co-op produced in just a few years an amazing number of beautiful instant movies shot on film. What is even more astonishing, most of them were made on a non-existent budget on 16mm stock, using old cameras, developing equipment and an optical printer. At their best, the primitive movies of the co-op conveyed a sense of having reinvented cinema all over again. Programme 2 Roadmasters offers an opportunity to see not only rare films by the Helsinki Co-op, but also a magnificent collective blow up improvisation by young film students, Ruutsalo’s destructive testament Kinescope as well as Flora & Fauna, a psychedelic nature fantasy by the cybernetic wizard Erkki Kurenniemi. Finally Ilppo Pohjola’s spectacular Routemaster brings us to the new millennium, carried by racing cars manically looping round and round.
Timo Aarniala, Pirjo Honkasalo, Anki Lindqvist, Timo Linnasalo, Inger Nylund, Erkki Seiro: The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth (1968, 3')
This film was a collective effort by the students Timo Aarniala, Pirjo Honkasalo, Anki Lindqvist, Timo Linnasalo, Inger Nylund and Erkki Seiro from the Department of Photography at the University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki. "The idea was to adapt a musical structure into cinema." With the abstract partial enlargements of a single shot throbbing on the screen, it is the film's graininess that steals the show. The woman in the shot exits the salon again and again. Finally the original wide-angle shot – the whole truth – is seen in its entirety, and the setting becomes understandable. We hear a woman's voice saying: "Did I forget something?" The electronic soundtrack of the serial piece is made by manipulating the whirring sounds of equipment in the salon, transposing the mundane situation beyond realism, into a shadowy land of ghosts.
Erkki Kurenniemi: Flora & Fauna (1965, reconstructed 2002, 6')
Erkki Kurenniemi made altogether 14 short films in the 1960s. He shot and edited them all by himself, and he also planned to make soundtracks of electronic music performed on instruments of his own making. Due to a lack of money, time or nerves, however, this last finishing touch was never realised. The reels remained in storage for years. An incorrigible techno buff, Kurenniemi would occasionally get 'good vibes' also from nature mysticism. In the fantastically colourful Flora & Fauna, close-ups of inchworms and spiders merge in double and triple exposures with shimmering water and the darkness of a dense conifer forest. The Pathé cine camera made it possible to mechanically rewind the film to shoot 'many layers' on the same frames.
Eino Ruutsalo: Kinescope (1960-91, 11')
For the short film series of a retrospective review organised by the Finnish Film Archive, Ruutsalo wanted to make one more film, his last. "Let's freak out with this one," Ruutsalo told his long-time assistant Anne Laitinen. Together they dug up previously unused footage from Ruutsalo's films from the 1960s. The material included random pieces from commercials, pictures of car crashes, discarded footage from Ruutsalo’s own feature films Night Moments and Windy Day, from commissioned films and kinetic experiments, as well as unexposed stock. Ruutsalo and Laitinen processed everything that came their way by crushing the celluloid, throwing it on the floor and walking on it. "I just hope we have enough sand on our shoes," Ruutsalo said. The 10-minute film consists almost exclusively of a stream of broken negative film. On the electronic soundtrack we hear a collective stream of consciousness by Donner, Kurenniemi and Ruutsalo from 1967.
Sami van Ingen: All the Police in Finland (1987, 8 min, 35mm)
The film is a comment on Ronald Reagan's visit to Helsinki in 1987. The number of police patrolling the streets are transformed into sheriff's stars, perforated manually on scraps of discarded footage. (SvI)
Seppo Renvall: The Price of Our Liberty (1991, 10 min, 16mm)
Faces of Finnish soldiers from the provinces of Uusimaa, Turku, Pori and Viipuri, killed in the Winter War, in a sequence of frames shot one by one. The film is based on a book by the same title published in 1941 by the Suomen Kuvalehti magazine. (MT)
Mikko Maasalo, Denise Ziegler: Holy Simplicity (1991, 3 min, 16mm)
The Lettrist film is a dazzling blend of text from Das Mondschaft, a poem by the German author Christian Morgenstern, shot from a computer screen, and an interpretation of the poem by Jeremias Müller. (MT)
Seppo Renvall: The Disc of The Day (1993, 3 min, 16mm)
Renvall's cinematic self-portrait. The camera is mounted on a pole with a long rod attached to it, with a naked man running around the pole. (MT)
Ilppo Pohjola: Routemaster (1999, 17 min, 35mm)
Routemaster takes the theme of destruction to extremes. Inspired by Paul Virilio's dromology, the film's central concept is to use the logic of speed to accelerate bodies and objects until they disappear from sight. The subtitle of Routemaster is Theatre of the Motor, linking it more firmly to ancient amphitheatres than contemporary theatre (on the other hand, performances of the European alternative circus Archaos may also come to mind). In the sequence of crash test photos towards the end, Pohjola flirts with the outer boundaries of aesthetic representation, for the figures in the photos are not crash test dummies, but real people. (Kari Yli-Annala: "Within the Mediamemories of The Man-Machine. About two films by Ilppo Pohjola")
Except where indicated, all quotations are from Mika Taanila’s essay “Outsiders of the Seventh Art Finnish Experimental Cinema 1933 – 1985”, in the book Sähkömetsä (Central Art Archives, Helsinki 2007)
Curator Marita Muukkonen, FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange
Tel. +358 (0) 505857504
Curator Mika Taanila
Compiled by Mika Taanila , Total duration: 61'