Helsinki, Forever | Chicago Reader

Helsinki, Forever

Peter von Bagh uses paintings, historical photos, and archival footage to contemplate the title city in this lovely and lyrical 2008 documentary. Like Thom Andersen’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, the movie also doubles as a critical evaluation of filmmakers who’ve set their stories against the streets and buildings of the city (though the only one of them I know is Aki Kaurismaki). Helsinki can hardly claim a cinematic legacy as vast and deep as LA’s, but von Bagh understands the parallel between the cinema and any great city: both are experienced communally and sometimes magically, linking people to one another and to the past. In Finnish with subtitles. 75 min.

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