T. int: Remembrance – A Small Movie About Oulu in the 1950. Scen.: Peter von Bagh. F.: Arto Kaivanto. M.: Petteri Evilampi. Int.: Erja Manto, Eero Saarinen, Peter von Bagh, Kuutti Evilampi (narratori). Prod.: Jouko Aaltonen per Illume Ltd . DCP. D.: 69’. Bn e Col.
Half a century ago, Peter von Bagh left the town where he grew up: Oulu, to return to the city of his birth: Helsinki. Since then, Oulu has been a conspicuous absence in his filmmaking – a few times it is mentioned, but only obliquely, in passing; actually, this goes for the whole of Central Finland – when he did Sininen laulu (2004), his many-hours-epic on the history of 20th century Finland as reflected/narrated/remembered by its art, some people from the region complained that he hadn’t properly represented their contribution… Von Bagh was a stranger back then in Oulu – the older Peter says about his younger self that he’d felt as if in exile… In Muisteja – Pieni elokuva 1950-luvun Oulusta, Peter von Bagh relates some memories of his Oulu childhood – which makes it his first and lone essay in straight-forward autobiography. To be more precise: he uses his own life as a prism through which to look at Finnish history from yet another angle – the film is not only a bitter-sweet personal remembrance of things past but also a meditation on the making of a generation and on the plight and follies of postwar Finland, in that a film about teachers and pupils and that chain in which everyone who went to the city’s lyceum becomes a link. As von Bagh is wont, he shuttles back and forth through time, criss-crosses the decades, moves casually from subject to subject carried along by the harmonies of, among others, Olavi Virta and Leevi Madetoja. Caustic observations like “Garrisons disappear, wars don’t” or “Nokias come and go, mental hospitals stay” serve as punctuation marks – time and again, Muisteja – Pieni elokuva 1950-luvun Oulusta sounds like a battle cry. Look homeward warmly, angel, and forward in anger.