PETER VON BAGH
F.: Arto Kaivanto. DCP D. Col.
Tapio Piirainen’s newly released documentary about Peter von Bagh may be the most comprehensive one about its subject so far. Abundant interview material and treasures from the archives guide us in retracing the journey from the yard of Peter’s first home – the Lapinlahti Mental Hospital, because of his father’s occupation – to the film screenings in the Oulu of his childhood, from the fan letter addressed to James Mason to the racy and eventful university years in Helsinki; to the shooting and the reception of his feature film The Count, plus his numerous careers as an author, a documentary director, a creator of radio programmes, the editor-in-chief of “Filmihullu” magazine, and the Artistic Director of the Midnight Sun Film Festival.
Philosophical deliberations in the serene beauty of nature around his summer home in Sotkamo are juxtaposed to the hectic, irresistibly glowing throb of the magic of the seventh art at international film festivals in Bologna and South America.
The humorous, intimate, even seri ous portrait lets the camera closely examine the bookshelves spreading in all directions in the legendary Iso Roobertinkatu den, and the chaotic storage room below it, in the middle of which stands – still unopened – a parcel once sent to Chris Marker by Andrej Tarkovskij, that ended up according to its own highway of logic, in Punavuori in Finland.
The life of the great cinephile was filled with similar correlations where life and cinema journeyed hand in hand, eagerly engaged in a dialogue with each other.