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FESTIVALS Finland

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Menzel, Forsyth and the Truebas heading for the Midnight Sun

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- Unspooling from 15-19 June in Sodankylä, north of the Arctic Circle, the Finnish film festival is also presenting a series of documentaries about filmmakers

Menzel, Forsyth and the Truebas heading for the Midnight Sun
Capricious Summer by Jiří Menzel

Czech director Jiří Menzel, Scottish filmmaker Bill Forsyth, Spain’s Fernando and Jonás Trueba, French director Mia Hansen-Løve, Icelandic filmmaker Dagur Kári, and Italy’s Gianfranco Rosi will be among the international guests at the Midnight Sun Film Festival, which takes place in the Finnish village of Sodankylä (120 km north of the Arctic Circle, with 8,000 inhabitants, 35,000 reindeer and one cinema – the Lapinsuu) from 15-19 June.

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Menzel, whose feature debut, Closely Watched Trains (1966), won the Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film, will introduce festival audiences to his 1968 comedy about an unfortunate summer in a small Czech village, Capricious Summer. Forsyth’s international breakthrough came with Gregory’s Girl (1980) and Local Hero (1982). Fernando Trueba, whose latest feature, The Queen of Spain, will be released in his home country on 2 December, rose to fame with his 1994 Oscar winner (for Best Foreign-language Film), Belle époque. He will arrive with his producer wife Cristina Huete and director son Jonás (who will screen his The Wishful Thinkers [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
in Sodankylä).

Actress-turned-writer-director Hansen-Løve will show her Isabelle Huppert-starrer Things to Come [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Mia Hansen-Løve
film profile
]
, which garnered her a Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlinale, while Kari will present his award-winning Noi the Albino (2003) and Dark Horse [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2008). Rosi will be in town with his 2016 Berlinale-winning documentary Fire at Sea [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile
]

As usual, a selection of documentaries on filmmakers will give the organisers the chance to show some classics featuring memorable soundtracks: British director Stevan Riley’s Listen to Me Marlon [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
is based on hundreds of hours of audio tapes that US actor Marlon Brando recorded to tell his life story, and Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (with its score by Gato Barbieri) will also be screened. In addition, US critic-turned-director Kent Jones’ conversation-based documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut is accompanied by British director Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (featuring the music of Bernard Herrmann) on the programme, and Taiwanese director Chinlin Hsieh’s Flowers of Taipei: Taiwan New Cinema will be joined by her fellow countryman Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s BAFTA-nominated The Assassin.

Last year, the Midnight Sun Film Festival received one of the first 12 EFFE Awards (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe), for boasting “one of the most unusual atmospheres of any festival in the world. Top directors, up-and-coming talent, an international audience and the common person on the street come together under the midnight sun.”

Co-founded in 1986 by Finnish film historian Peter von Bagh – the festival’s director until his death in 2015 – the gathering in Sodankylä shows approximately 80 features at four venues for 24 hours a day. The programme also includes silent movies accompanied by orchestral performances, master classes with leading film critics and karaoke screenings of music films.

This year’s guest list also comprises Finnish actress Malin Buska (the lead actress in Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which he will introduce himself), British writer-director David Farr (whose The Ones Below [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
stars Finnish actress Laura Birn and who most recently adapted John le Carré’s The Night Manager for Susanne Bier’s UK-produced television series) and French producer Charles Gillibert (who staged Things to Come and French director Olivier Assayas’ Cannes entry, Personal Shopper [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Artemio Benki
interview: Olivier Assayas
film profile
]
).

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