The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012 (25 January – 5 February) will pay tribute to Peter von Bagh by presenting a selection of his films, as well as showing three rare classics from Finnish cinema history that have been essential in his oeuvre. The tribute program, with Peter von Bagh in attendance, will be part of IFFR’s main Signals section.
With over fifty film titles under his belt, Peter von Bagh may still be the better known in his other persona: as writer of more than twenty books, as television presenter, as artistic director of the Midnight Sun Festival in Sodankyla, which he co-founded in 1986 with the Kaurismäki brothers and as well Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, since 2001. He also is editor-in-chief, since 1971, of the 'Filmihullu' magazine, and a professor of film history in the Helsinki University of Arts.
Never simple history lessons, his films usually draw on Finnish history. IFFR will present eleven feature length films and four short films by Peter von Bagh, including Kreivi (The Count, 1971), his first feature film - and his only fictional work to date - and his latest work, Lastuja – Taiteilijasuvun vuosisata (Splinters - A Century of an Artistic Family, 2011) that shows a family like a nation. Finland's painful path to independence, its development from a poor rural backwater to a prime example of progress and liberalism as seen through three generations of the Ahos family consisting of pioneering artist in cinema, literature, painting and more.
The selection also includes the other production that Von Bagh finished this year, being Mikko Niskanen - ohjaaja matkalla ihmiseksi (The Story of Mikko Niskanen, 2010), his portrait of the legendary Finnish filmmaker, a too-little-known master of world cinema and a sketch of a typical 20th century person's struggles and doubts.
IFFR is also very glad to present in this context, the international premiere of the original version of Mikko Niskanen’s masterpiece Kahdeksan surmanluotia (Eight Deadly Shots, 1972), originally produced as a TV series, based on a certain Tauno Veikko Pasanen who shot four police officers, in which Niskanen himself plays the main role.
The program Signals: Peter von Bagh has been curated by Olaf Möller.
The IFFR’s festival program consists of three main sections: Bright Future - idiosyncratic and adventurous new work by novice makers, including the Tiger Awards Competitions -, Spectrum - new and recent work by experienced film makers and artists who provide, in the opinion of the IFFR, an essential contribution to international film culture -, and Signals, a series of thematic programs and retrospectives offering insight in topical as well as timeless ideas within cinema.
The other Finnish films at the festival are: Scene Shifts, in Six Movements (Jani Ruscica), Rigid Regime (Erkka Nissinen), Africa (Matti Harjo), Among Others (Pilvi Takala) and Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki).