Friday, July 6, 2012

Anna-Liisa - 1922

Country: Finland
Directors: Teuvo Puro, Jussi Snellman
Writers: Minna Canth (play), Jussi Snellman
Stars: Helmi Lindelöf, Hemmo Kallio and Meri Roini
Release Date: 20 March 1922 (Finland)
Also known as: Anna-Lisa (Finland) (Swedish title) / Sweden
Production Co: Suomi-Filmi
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Infanticide | Guilty Conscience | Moral | Log Driving | Country Life  |
Theatrical | Motherhood | Farm Hand | Love Triangle | Conscience | Illegitimate Child |
Fiancee | Marriage | Ex Fiancee | Based On Play | Character Name In Title
Genres: Drama
Anna-Liisa carries a secret. Three years ago she has killed her baby she had with Mikko, the old hired hand of Kortesuo (Einar Rinne). Now she's marrying Johannes (Emil Autere), when suddenly Mikko comes back. There's a danger the secret will come out. The guilt Anna-Liisa's bearing is overwhelming. Would it be better if they knew? Teuvo Puro and Jussi Snellman are the directors of Anna-Liisa (1922). It's based on the play of the fantastic Minna Canth, whose texts represented realism at very best. Helmi Lindelöf is brilliant as the main character. The other members of Anna-Liisa's family are played by Hemmo Kallio, Meri Roini and Greta Waahtera. Mimmi Lähteenoja plays Husso. All excellent performers. The dramatic elements of this silent movie are touching. The baby's murder and the guilt of a young woman that this movie and the original play tell about is a topic relevant in this day also. Times change but themes always remain the same.
The film is based on a play by Frau Minna Canth who was a very important Finnish writer and a champion of women's rights, a pioneer and combative Nordic feminist, ja wohl! This is reflected in the powerful and impressive feminine portrait of Anna-Liisa, tormented but valiant and determined, a woman who will decide her own fate, threats and coercion aside. She is excellently played by the actress Frau Helmi Lindelöf.
The dramatic and intense story of the film is equal to other Nordic rural dramas of those early silent times, such as those directed by masters like Herr Victor Sjöström and Herr Mauritz Stiller. Like them Herr Puro invokes nature as part of the dramatic development of the story. A flashback shows Frau Anna-Liisa's terrible deed which involves a hideous taboo that is still shocking nowadays. Still, there is atonement and Frau Anna-Liisa accepts responsibility for her past and consequently decides her future. Herr Puro brilliantly blends indoor sets which suggest the theater with the naturalism of the exterior scenes.
Version of Anna-Liisa (1911); Anna Liisa (1945); Anna-Liisa (1988) (TV Movie)
Featured in Sininen laulu - Suomen taiteiden tarina: Osa I Tällaisia me olemme 1900-1920 (2004) (TV Episode) - Clips shown

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