[Il conte] Scen.: Peter von Bagh. F.: Lasse Naukkarinen. M.: Lasse Naukkarinen, Peter von Bagh. Mus.: Kaj Chydenius, M.A. Numminen. Int.: Pertti Ylermi Lindgren (se stesso, ‘il conte’), Irma Martinkauppi (Leena), Titta Karakorpi (Birgitta), Elina Salo (Toini), Kirsti Wallasvaara (Leila), Petra Frey (amica di Birgita), Kauko Helovirta (il padre di Leiklla), Kullervo Kalske (Arvo Hintikka), Matti Varjo (commissario di polizia), Veijo Mattila (agente dell’Interpol). 35mm. D.: 93’. Bn.
Pertti Ylermi Lindgren was engaged to 76 women, of which he married none while taking the money of each and every one. Lindgren is the real thing, as far as swindlers go. Von Bagh asked him to play himself in a film that would reconstruct some of his greatest moments, i.e. the most flamboyant ‘stunts’ – and he agreed! So, marvel at Lindgren performing Lindgren, and study, on the film’s second narrative string, how he’s trying to get by dancing and being charming all through the summer of ’70, in this tango pavilion or that. Back then, Kreivi was considered a scandal, an affront, a work of bad taste and even worse manners created in bad faith – critics were at a loss, even (or: especially) the ones called open-minded if not outright progressive. What is this? Lindgren: the man, was already crazy enough; but the re-enactments featuring several of the nation’s most formidable young actresses were done in a style so outré, so over the top that… – where in this bizarre hybrid full of lewd humour and a sprightly sense for the all-too-human does fiction end and the real begin, and vice versa? What on earth is this? Damn! One answer might be: a Volksstück, a Brechtian comedy. Another: pure anarchy. Well, von Bagh certainly liked to shock the pants off his audience, but he didn’t expect that the establishment would freak out that badly, Kreivi had opened in one of Helsinki’s biggest theatres, did terrible business, and vanished very soon. That Douglas Sirk had kind things to say about the film upon its screening at the then mighty important Edinburgh Film Festival consoled von Bagh in the long run but didn’t help at the moment of disaster. In fact, von Bagh never again thought about doing a fiction film – he still (co-)wrote the occasional treatment or screenplay for, among others, Risto Jarva and Aki Kaurismäki but that was it. As a final note it should be mentioned that only a few weeks ago, Lindgren joined von Bagh in heaven.