Singing for Lenin

2014,

short film (approx. 17 min)

“My mother was a communist, my father was a communist. In a particular moment of time, and in a specific place, that here might be called “la périphérie”. I found some old letters and books, and pictures. The red in my mother’s membership card was not fading, even though the text in it was. I looked inside and saw a year written on it, and a picture of her, much younger than me now.”

The film Singing for Lenin depicts one day at a Finnish summer villa. The four protagonists spend the day in the maze-like building and go through a family archive left by long-gone young parents. The documents concern a Finnish Marxist-Leninist movement “Taistolaisuus” of the 1970’s. The characters search for a relationship with the distant-seeming era and the dead parents’ past.

The voice has an important role in Singing for Lenin. History should never be told by a single voice, an incarnation or an acousmêtre. The dialogue of the film ressembles more a quotation of a text than a realist conversation. The characters become instruments for thought processes, situated in fantastic scenes, instead of representing real individuals with a clear identity, identifiable by the spectator. This theme-based working method interests me. Unidentified, polyphonic voices of testimonials intrude and draw a portrait of a disintegration of the utopian collective consciousness. Did it ever really exist?

PRODUCTION DETAILS

Director, writer: Riikka Kuoppala

Cast: Elena Leeve, Marikki Perälä, Eeva Putro, Ylermi Rajamaa

Voice actors: Kristiina Halkola, Heikki Häkkä, Timo Mann, Marja Packalén

Assistant director: Anna Nykyri

Cinematography: Sarah Blum

Editor: Riikka Kuoppala & Fanny Roussel

Sound designer: Pierre George

Sound mixing: Cyrille Lauwrier

Production: Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains

Production support: AVEK, Paulo Foundation

Thanks for the support: Akuutio, Helene Bützow, Johan Bützow, Tuulimaria Bützow, Jesha Chen, Elissa Eriksson, Maija Fagerlund, Hannele Grönlund, Antti Haapio, Juha-Matti Herpiö, Hannaleena Hauru, Lauri Hokkanen, Anja Huovila, Anna Huovila, Jouni Ilmarinen, Inari Juntumaa, Jarmo Juntumaa, Jaakko Jäppinen, Jossun muistorahasto, Kreetta Järvenpää, Anna Kervinen, Kati Kivinen, Anna Korpinen, Iina Koskinen, Tanja Kostiainen, Soile Koukkari, Juha Kuoppala, Milja Laakso, Jaana Lehtiö, Ilkka Linnakko, Cai Melakoski, Elissa Määttänen, Kikka Niittynen, Jaana Nikula, Pekka Niskanen, Riikka Nurmi, Suvi Nurmi, Markku Oikkonen, Kerkko Paananen, Outi Pajala, Sirpa Pelttari, Rosamaria Perä, Iiris Pessa, Max Plathan, Riitta Perälä, Ulla Rahola, Vappu Rantalaiho, Ilkka Rautio, Kristiina Rikman, Lauri Rissanen, Leena-Maija Rossi, Catarina Ryöppy, Outi Silfverberg, Raija Silfverberg, Kaisa Snellman, Juliacks, Pilvi Takala, Tea & Harri, Jenny Tervakari, Merja Toivonen, Paula Toppila, Aki Turunen, Pinja Valja, Mikko Vartiainen, Ella Väyrynen, Mika Väyrynen, Tom Warras

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