der/sc: Miku Melilahti. Finland/Netherlands/Denmark/Germany. 2022. 99 minutes
One of the most reliable phenomena in world cinema is the regular appearance of strange but benign UFOs from the North. (One thinks of the daughter of Hammer Kitchen Stories And O’Horten from Norway, or Noe Albino And rams From Iceland – a country that seems to send out weird and funny satellites every year.) Now this one is from Finland – with the famous Finnish sense of humor stamped all over it. Solid philosophical tale The story of the lumberjack It is the first film written by Mikko Melillahti, better known as Juhu Kosmanen’s writer The happiest day in Olly Mackie’s life. Starring the hero of this film, Jarko Lahti, The story of the lumberjack It may be so self-deprecating and calculated as hard to score the cult status it might seem destined for, but festivals and platforms that aspire to simple quirkiness should find it a humble and dependable attraction.
One thing can be said about him in fairness The story of the lumberjack It is remotely unpredictable.
With a checkered narrative consisting of two chapters and an introduction, the film is set in a snow-covered region of Finland surrounded by mountains and forests. The story begins in a remote, windy room where two representatives of forces – whether corporate or metaphysical – strike a deal that will determine the fate of all the characters living below. One of them is a middle-aged Bibi (Lahti), who works in the local sawmill with his strong friend Thomas (HP Björkman), a proud father to a young son, also called Tomas (Evo Toure).
One day, the local community learned that the sawmill would be closed and a mine built in its place. This marks the beginning of a series of mishaps that Pepe – a half-full glass partition that won’t break – finds it difficult to deal with. Bibi’s mother ( force round From the senseless rudeness of Ola Tabanen) from his seemingly lousy malaise after a confrontation with a mysterious, shaggy monster at the local church. Thomas was then persuaded that his wife was continuing her work with the local hairdresser–except that, as a good tone would suggest, it seemed to be so with every woman in town.
Events take a sudden violent turn but even that doesn’t bother Bibi too much. Now he lives with his son – in workers’ housing, since the family house burned down – he has a job in the mining company. He’s somewhat excited about everything, unlike his co-workers – especially one of them, a high streak of pain who forever thinks about what it all means. Meanwhile, the taciturn young ‘Thomas’ falls in love with an arrogant person who has now taken over the hairdresser. And then comes Jaakko (a distinctly bizarre performance by Mark Jasot), a lyrical psycho with malicious aspirations to be the city’s Pied Piper.
One thing can be said about him in fairness The story of the lumberjack It is remotely unpredictable. The consistent element is Myllylahti’s meticulous record of silent comedic surrealism, continuing from the beginning. Comparing Finnish films with the work of uber-lugubrious national author Aki Kaurismäki is a well-established cliché, but here the comparison is inescapable; The movie looks kind of like a Kaurismäkian on Twin Peakswith soup from Fargo.
The problem, however, is that Myllylahti doesn’t quite know when the tone of the dream turns into an overly persistent delirium. Strange phenomena keep appearing – a floating ball of light, a fish carrying a message of good cheer, a seemingly burning car waiting for the driver … All these oddities, at least, are ingeniously embedded in the context of the considered mundane: if the film had not been shown in the dystopian seventies , however, were the design channels of that decade. Some of the interiors even look like they’ve been put together in DIY style, too stand-up—though they’re often transformed by showers in a variety of shades of red, blue, and yellow. As for the omnipresent snow, it has a texture that you can really feel – in part thanks to the subtle sound mix.
Aside from Gassot’s diabolical Jaakko, the playing on the playing field is inconspicuous, especially from the angelic but largely taciturn Tuuri as young Tuomas – which makes it all the more hilarious as the child begins to cling to the human condition. He brings every tough but elegant man of Lahti together, with an increasing look of piercing amazement in the mouth. A cunning and ironic conclusion from Jonas Stroke (Borg vs McEnroe) Weird, rigid and suspenseful in turn.
Production company: Amo Film
International sales: Totem Films, firstname.lastname@example.org
Producers: Emilia Huka, Jussi Rantamaki
Production Design: Milja Aho
Cinematography: Arsene Sarkisiantes
Editing: Josie Rotanimi
Music: Jonas Stroke
Main Cast: Jarko Lahti, H.P. Bjorkman, Ivo Toure, Marc Jasot