Peter von Bagh

Scen.: Peter von Bagh. F.: Jukka Kurkikangas, Petteri Evilampi. Prod.: Antti Väisänen, Jarkke Penttilä, Leena Tomminen per Nordisk Film, Yle Asia TV1 Viikottaisohjelmat . DCP. D.: 74’. Bn e Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Von Bagh always had a strange relationship to Edvin Laine: He liked his films although he considered most of them not particularly remarkable, let alone great – too stagy, too little instinct-driven, too clean, too neat; the films tend to betray his background in theatre. And yet, this is the œuvre that for a long time was considered being representative of Finnish cinema, with Niskavuoren Heta (1952), the first of three Niskavuoren instalments Laine directed, and the original adaptation of Väinö Linna’s Tuntematon Sotilas (1955) as its pinnacles, or at least its canonical titles; it’s also important to note that Laine was considered reliable in every sense: for he was granted massive budgets whenever needed – e.g. for the two-part, 5h+epic Täällä pohjantähden alla (1968) and Akseli ja Elina (1970), based again on Väinö Linna –, and was also ‘invited’ to take charge of productions deemed politically weighty (eg. Luottamus,1975, which he co-directed with Viktor Tregubovič). Maybe von Bagh liked the man more than his films – he certainly was moved by the fact that Laine late in his life spoke fondly of him despite all the harsh words he had found for his films; Laine even asked von Bagh to help him realize one final film, on Jean Sibelius. And von Bagh certainly found many splendid scenes in Laine’s films, for his own are full of them – Laine, it seems, was for von Bagh above all a director of memorable moments. And as Andrew Sarris notes in The American Cinema (1968) a propos of Leo McCarey: “After enough great moments are assembled, however, a personal style must be assumed even though it is difficult to describe”.

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