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Hitchcock in 3D shines at Midnight Sun Fest

Sunny days might be to blame for auds drop

SODANKYLA, Finland — An unusual 3D version of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Dial M for Murder” was one of the most popular screenings at the 16th Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankyla, Finland, which wrapped Sunday.

This year’s exceptionally beautiful sunny days might have been to blame for a slight drop in admissions, which were still a healthy 16,500 for the five-day fest.

Palme pilot

Two films by Gothamite Jerry Schatzberg made it into the fest’s top five: his 1973 Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Scarecrow” roused enthusiastic reactions from fest auds as did “Panic in Needle Park,” which featured a young Al Pacino.

The fest included retros of forgotten directors, including the works of spaghetti Western helmer Sergio Sollima.

A rising French talent, author-cum-actress-cum helmer Agnes Jaoui also was present. Her hit romantic comedy “It Takes All Kinds” will have its Finnish premiere in the fall.

Sound of silents

D.W. Griffith’s “Broken Blossoms” (1919) kicked off screenings of silent films, backed by the prominent Finnish chamber music orchestra Avanti! The section wrapped with Soviet master Aleksandr Granovski’s “Jewish Happiness” (1925) presented by film critic J. Hoberman.

A slate of the latest Finnish pics and the best of last year’s local films were also on display. Susanna Helke and Virpi Suutari’s doc on the unemployed “The Idle Ones” had its world premiere. But the world preem of Markku Lehmuskallio’s docu “Good Shepherd” was canceled due to print problems.

Now that the event has ended, one of the fest directors, Aki Kaurismaki, can concentrate on his next project, “Vagrant,” a pic about the unemployed in Helsinki.

Kaurismaki told Daily Variety it would have to be shot in a studio since “there are no old neighborhoods left in Helsinki anymore. There are only banks and people running around between them.” “The Vagrant” is skedded for a spring 2002 release.

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