If you’ve been a regular in The Cove for a while, you might know that I used to make sure to have my Montréal World Film Festival passport every summer, and I spent countless hours watching movies from all around the planet.
Unfortunately, the festival is taking a pause this year, and I thought that I would have to live without my yearly dose of foreign movies.
I discovered another festival that is very similar, and yesterday, we rode downtown to try it out.
Most of the presentations take place at the Quartier Latin movie theater.
There are over three hundred movies to choose from, and, of course, my biased mind made me look for Scandinavian movies first…
My first pick was a Finnish documentary written and directed by Jean-Michel Roux. Pohjolan enkeli (the wounded angel) is a collection of interpretations of a strange yet beautiful painting from Hugo Simberg.
The painting was voted the Finns’ favorite art piece. It is said that Hugo Simerg worked three full years, doing research, sketching, collecting pictures, while he was treated for some mental illness in Helsinki’s hospital.
The artist never named the painting, nor gave an explaination for the odd scene. And the masterpiece started raising the people’s attention. Now, it seems like every Finn, no matter their age, knows the ”Wounded Angel”, and the movie is a series of short interviews displaying the different interpretations people make of it.
It is quite impressive to listen to the very personal stories people build around the two young boys carrying the angel. Even very young children naturally give their impressions, telling tales of angels and evil forces, life and death, about who hurt who, and how the boys are either taking the angel to safety, or to her thomb.
One thing that really came out of the documentary (at least for me), is the unusual relationship between Finns and death and their mortality. The director (who was present at the screening) explained that the wars and rough times Finland had to go through in the past still made the presence of death a lot less taboo than here in Canada.
The film displays the different believes about angels and what they represent for the interviewed men and women… The music is also very present, especially with the presentation of a song from Jean Sibelius (unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of it) sung by a choir of children, and then interpreted in an oddly aggresive way by a choir of men.
I wish I could share a subtitled trailer, but at least, it’ll give you an idea of the beautiful photography look, and you’ll hear an excerpt of the song I mentionned. (If you happen to know its title, please, leave it in the comment box!!)
Overall, a very interesting hour and a half long tête à tête with the Finns. If/when I visit Helsinki, I’ll definately have to go to the museum, and I have the feeling that I’ll spend quite some time looking for my own meaning of the wounded angel…
The kind of movie that I love… Leaving me with more questions than answers. I definately recommend it, if you have the chance to see it!