With a population of 8,809, 35,000 reindeer and thousands of mosquitoes, the Finnish village of Sodankylä is getting ready for the Midnight Sun Film Festival, this year unspooling from 11-15 June.
UK director Peter Greenaway, Russian director Gleb Panfilov and his often lead actress (and wife) Inna Churikova, and French director Olivier Assayas are among the guests at the showcase 120 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun does not set in the summertime. Accordingly, the festival programme is screened at four venues, including the Lapinsuu cinema (the gateway to Lapland), 24 hours a day.
For the 2014 edition, festival director, film historian and director Peter von Bagh and the board members, including Finnish directors Aki and Mika Kaurismäki – who were among the founders of the festival in 1986 – have selected 80 films, including titles by Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, whose Grigris[+] was awarded at Cannes last year, and Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose Ida[+] (2013) collected 16 prizes in London, Toronto and Warsaw, amongst others.
US director Samantha Fuller will be introducing her feature-length documentary on her father, US director Samuel Fuller (1912-1997), who was among the guests when Sodankylä opened in 1986. Local entries comprise Finnish directors Leena Kilpeläinen’sVoice of Sokurov, Juha Wuolijoki’s Zarra’s Law (shot in the US), festival chief von Bagh’s own documentary, Socialism, and My Shoulder by Anssi Mänttäri, also a Sodankylä founder.
The “Timeless Masterpieces” section will present silent-cum-orchestra screenings of Swedish director Victor Sjöström’s The Outlaw and His Wife and Austrian director GW Pabst’s Joyless Street, with Denmark’s Asta Nielsen and Sweden’s Greta Garbo in the leads, both accompanied by the Matti Bye Ensemble. “Gems of New Cinema” will include German director Edgar Reitz’s Home from Home – Chronicle of a Vision[+], the big-screen addition to his TV series Heimat.