If someone, basing on the sports term “total football,” were to coin the “total filmmaker” (which would describe an author engaged in each and every aspect of the filmmaking craft), then Pirjo Honkasalo would surely serve as an excellent example of such an artist.
The Finn not only directs and writes her own scripts, but is usually behind the camera as well. Then she works on the editing, and it is not rare for her to take on the duties of producer. Therefore, one can safely say that Pirjo Honkasalo is cinema’s Renaissance woman, and an auteur par exellence.
In the 90s, Honkasalo returned to shooting smaller documentaries. Her artistic sensitivity and the experience she had gained have resulted in a famed trilogy about the spiritual condition of the modern world. The cycle is comprised of “Mysterion,” “Tanjuska and the 7 Devils,” and “Atman.” In her trilogy, Honkasalo tells the stories of the religiousness of Orthodox nuns, of desperate parents of an ill girl, and of Hindus who wish to pay their respects to their deceased mother. The broad scope of this cinematic undertaking allows the viewers to see a panorama of various communities’ spiritual life.
In recent years, the Finnish director once again began working on feature films. In 2013, with her partner – writer Pirkko Saisio, she wrote a script, later to direct “Concrete Night.” The Two Riversides festival-goers will have the chance to watch this film as part of Pirjo Honkasalo’s retrospective. Its program also features the aforementioned documentary trilogy, as well as “The 3 Rooms of Melancholia,” which has been awarded at the Venice Film Festival. The retrospective will be a great opportunity to familiarise oneself with Honkasalo’s work, which is not widely known in Poland but certainly deserves to be discovered by movie-goers.
LIST OF FILMS
3 Rooms of Melancholia, The | Melancholian Kolme Huonetta | dir. Pirjo Honkasalo | DK, FI, DE, SE | 2008 | 106 min
Atman | dir. Pirjo Honkasalo | DE, FI | 1996 | 76 min
Concrete Night | Betoniyö | dir. Pirjo Honkasalo | DK, FI, SE | 2013 | 106 min
Mysterion | dir. Pirjo Honkasalo, Eira Mollberg | FI | 1991 | 94 min
Tanjuska and the 7 Devils | Tanjuska ja 7 perkelettä | dir. Pirjo Honkasalo | FI, SE | 1993 | 82 min