Finnish movies / Imatra


Put your magnifying glasses away for the next two weeks as in the Republic of Rowland there is currently an embargo with the Suomen tasavalta. I am still going to continue writing these 5×7 epics, but instead of mailing them from Helsinki I am going to mail two weeks’ worth en masse from Nuorgam, Finland. Nuorgam is the northernmost town in Finland, with a population of two hundred and Sami as the major language. Its Sami name is Njuorggán (also Njuorggám) and I am hoping the postmark is in both Finnish and Sami. I am tempted to send a blank postcard to my place in Helsinki just to find out for myself.

Also, for those of you not (yet) on my snail-mail postcard list, please send me your address before Thursday 27 July. I would love the opportunity to write to all of you.

For the next two months at the Andorra Elokuvateatteri in downtown Helsinki, there is a Finnish Film Festivaali. The Andorra is owned by the director brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki. In July and August I will have the chance to see sixteen Finnish films (two new films each week). The average annual Finnish feature output is ten movies a year, so I have the opportunity to see one and a half year’s worth of Finnish movies in a fraction of the time. So far I have seen Kauas pilvet karkaavat (Drifting Clouds), Hylätyt talot, autiot pihat (Abandoned Houses, Empty Homes), Sairaan kaunis maailma (Freakin’ Beautiful World) and, in my opinion the first Finnish dud of a film, Lapin kullan kimallus (Gold Fever in Lapland). I had high hopes for the last film and while I was trying to keep awake during this two-hour snoozefest I was composing my Siskel & Ebert pan of the film. I look forward to the Aki Kaurismäki movie Juha, which stars Kati Outinen, one of Finland’s leading actresses. She was the star of Kauas pilvet karkaavat.

Last Friday 14 July I took a 3½ hour train trip 260 east of Helsinki to Imatra in South Karelia. Imatra is best known for its rapids, which, unfortunately in 1929 were dammed in order to create power for the Imatrankoski hydroelectric power station. The rapids however are allowed to rage freely after 19.00 each day during the summer. The Lonely Planet travel guidebook brings Imatra’s dubious distinction out of the closet by saying “…Imatra’s rapids were one of the highest waterfalls in Finland and drew hundreds of tourists (as well as a fair number of people bent on committing suicide by jumping).” Indeed, there is even a memorial to those who succumbed to the raging waters, but the Finnish and English plaque next to the memorial makes no mention of why these people perished. One is left to think that these people lost their lives in the construction of the (rather small) dam.

I have made yet a third trip to the Helsinki Post Office and bought another assortment of stamps. For those of you who have not already been told this in a postcard, I now have such a wide variety of Finnish stamps from years past that from now on no two postcards I send out will have the same stamp! I have just written some cards using the 1999 Industry series, and the stamps in this series are BIG. Forces me to write even smaller cuz these stamps take up one quarter of the postcard 😉

Send me your addresses folks I want to write to you all!

Scrabble Friends, please keep me informed of the goings on at the Nationals in Providence, Rhode Island. I will have daily computer access again when I return from Nuorgam in early August.

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