Film Review: ‘Remembrance’

An exceptionally lovely hour of cinema that should provide a welcome addition to many a festival and cinematheque program.

Erja Manto, Eero Saarinen, Peter von Bagh, Kuuti Evilampi.

Ever-prolific author, festival director and filmmaker Peter von Bagh follows up his expansive docu portraits of his own Midnight Sun Film Festival (“Sodankyla Forever”) and national capital (“Helsinki Forever”) with a similarly poetic and thoughtful memory film about the small Finnish town of Oulu, where he lived from the ages of 5 to 17. Fittingly subtitled “a small movie about Oulu in the 1950s,” Von Bagh’s “Remembrance” evokes similar city-centric essay films by the likes of Chris Marker and Terence Davies in its playful, discursive mashups of personal and civic history, pop-culture fragments and other artists’ renderings. All told, it makes for an exceptionally lovely hour of cinema that should provide a welcome addition to many a festival and cinematheque program.

As in his Helsinki film, Von Bagh draws not just on a treasure trove of archival photos and newsreel footage to tell the story — his story — of Oulu, but also the words of noted writers and poets (including Maati Halli and V.A. Koskenniemi) and the canvases of painters such as Paavo Leinonen and Pentti Koivisto. The result moves freely across such disparate topics as Von Bagh’s early movie memories (the 1948 “Scott of the Antarctic” was the first film he saw, Carol Reed’s “The Man Between” the first film he saw twice), the WWII bombing of the town (which housed Finland’s largest garrison and suffered its greatest per capita losses), Oulu’s bygone days as a thriving port, and its more recent ones as a hub for tech giant Nokia. The associations never feel forced or programmatic, guided by no agenda other than memory and feeling. “Us human beings are but small things on earth,” goes a song lyric heard late in “Remembrance,” which effectively summarizes Von Bagh’s overall disposition — with the caveat that sometimes even small things manage to leave sizable impressions.

Film Review: 'Remembrance'

Reviewed at Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, Italy, July 4, 2013. Running time: 69 MIN. Original title: "Muisteja"

Production: (Documentary — Finland) An Illume production in cooperation with Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, with the support of SES and AVE K, with the cooperation of Oulu — Capital of Northern Scandinavia, the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum, Oulu Museum of Art, Merikoskikerho, Oulu Film Centre, Kaleva. Produced by Jouko Aaltonen.

Crew: Directed, written by Peter von Bagh. Camera (color/B&W, HD), Arto Kaivanto; editor, Petteri Evilampi; sound designer, Martti Turunen.

With: Erja Manto, Eero Saarinen, Peter von Bagh, Kuuti Evilampi.

More Film

  • Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar

    Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar Wright’s ‘Last Night in Soho’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” has rounded out its cast, with veteran actors Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp among the stars signing on for the latest movie from the “Baby Driver” director. Stamp can currently be seen in Netflix hit “Murder Mystery” with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Rigg’s recent roles include Olenna Tyrell [...]

  • Zhang Zhao LeEco film

    Zhang Zhao, Chief of Le Chuang (Formerly Le Vision Pictures), Resigns

    Zhang Zhao, the chairman and CEO of Le Chuang Entertainment, formerly known as Le Vision Pictures, has resigned for “personal reasons,” the firm said.    Zhang’s resignation was announced in a statement posted to the firm’s official social media account Monday, which thanked him for his service. “Le Chuang will carry on as before, using [...]

  • Bob Berney

    Bob Berney to Leave Amazon Studios' Head of Marketing and Distribution Position

    Bob Berney, Amazon Studios’ head of marketing and distribution, is stepping down, Variety has confirmed. Berney was hired by Amazon in 2015 and recently reached the end of his four-year contract. His last day will be Friday. During his time at amazon, the film veteran oversaw a number of successful films including “Manchester by the [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • Joel Silver Exits Silver Pictures

    Joel Silver Exits Silver Pictures

    Top Hollywood producer Joel Silver has exited his production company Silver Pictures, Variety has confirmed. “Joel Silver recently indicated that he intends to leave Silver Pictures and go out on his own,” Hal Sadoff, a former ICM Partners agent who joined Silver Pictures several years ago as CEO, said in a statement. “We are working [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Ewen Bremner as Alan McGee in

    Danny Boyle-Produced ‘Creation Stories’ Adds Jason Isaacs, Steven Berkoff

    Jason Isaacs, Steven Berkoff and a host of other new names have signed on for “Creation Stories,” the film being exec-produced by Danny Boyle about Creation Records co-founder Alan McGee. The producers also unveiled the first shots of Ewen Bremner (“Trainspotting”) as the music mogul. Production is underway on the Irvine Welsh-penned project, with “Lock, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content