The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival went globe-trotting to start Day 2. The “Drawn from Around the World” block of animated shorts offered some enthralling works. Many conveyed a sad or lamenting poignancy. Keiro (Tatiana Jusewycz, Benoît Leloup, Franck Menigoz, Zoé Nérot, and Charlotte Poncin, 2016) traced a girl’s journey to adulthood and its effect on the giant creature that accompanies her, Beyond the Books (Jérôme Battistelli, Mathilde Cartigny, Nicolas Evain, Maéna Paillet, Robin Pelissier, and Judith Wahler, 2017) envisioned the highly detailed collapse of an impossibly immense library, the Spanish short Dead Horses (Marc Riba and Anna Solanas, 2016) revealed the brutality of war from a child’s perspective and amid fabric devastation, and the Indian film Schirkoa (Asian Shukla, 2017) imagined political strife in a world where citizens wear bags and boxes on their heads. Others brought the funny, like Daniel Sterlin-Altman’s Hi, It’s Your Mother (2017), about motherhood, blood loss, and middle class living told in crude claymation, and Deuspi (Megacomputer, 2017), a very short work about a pair of astonishingly inept stick-up men and their hilarious fates.
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki.
In the summer of 1962, small town Finnish baker Olli Mäki (Jarkko Lahti) has a shot at the world featherweight boxing title held by dominating American champion Davey Moore. Olli is thrust from his countryside home into a fraught training camp with the pressures of national stardom and a draining publicity circuit, but he has bigger problem – he has just fallen in love with a sweet country girl (Oona Airola) and can think about little else. Based on a true story, Juho Kuosmanen’s exquisitely lyrical, verité-styled inversion of the sports biography won the Un Certain Regard Prize, charming Cannes audiences with its gentle humor and bittersweet romance.
- High-definition digital master, supervised by cinematographer Jani-Petteri Passi, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New interview with director Juho Kuosmanen, production designer Kari Kankaanpää cinematographer Passi
- New interviews with actors Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola, and Eero Milonoff
- Roadmarkers (2007), Citizens (2008), and The Painting Sellers (2010), three award-winning short films by Kuosmanen
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A new essay by critic Manohla Dargis
Christmas is nearly upon us and MMC! wanted to wish everyone a happy holidays with this pair of short films by Jalmari Helander. These wonderful shorts take the “Murder Santa” trope into weird, fantastical places. For those looking for more, we recommend Helander’s 2010 feature elaboration, Rare Exports.
Merry merry, happy happy, everyone!
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films present The White Reindeer.
Shot in the Arctic Circle’s snowy expanses, Erik Blomberg’s The White Reindeer is a marvel of film fantasy. Pirita, played by the director’s wife, Mirjami Kuosmanen, is a bewitched young woman wed to an often-absent reindeer herder. Longing for affection, she carries out a sacrifice to empower a local shaman’s love potion and becomes cursed, transforming into a white reindeer by night and drinking the blood of local hunters. Based on an old Lapp saga, The White Reindeer blends documentary travelogue with avant-garde experimentation and produces an art house horror film without compare, winning the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and granted the prize for Best Fairy Tale Film at the Cannes Film Festival by Jean Cocteau’s presiding jury.
- New high-definition digital transfer of the film featuring 7 minutes of material not included in previously restored versions, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Seven short films by Erik Blomberg: With the Reindeer (1947), From the Lemmenjoki River (1948), Gold and Sand (1948), Thirty Years of Work for the Finnish People (1948), Open the Way for Our Flags (1949), Before the Opening Night (1949), and The Beauty Pageant 1955 II (1955)
- Kodin värit, Blomberg’s theatrically released commercial for the Tikkurila paint company
- Photo Gallery
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Henry Bacon