Film Archive

Alppikatu 25 – Home to the Homeless

Documentary Film
Finland
2012
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cilla Werning, Liisa Juntunen
Inka Achté, Marika Väisänen
Graham Hadfield
Sari Aaltonen, Daniel Lindholm, Tuomas Järvelä
Hannele Majaniemi
Alppikatu Street No. 25 has been the address of a shelter for the homeless in Helsinki since 1937. A place for men who have no place of their own. Men without a past? “Create your own memories”, says the motto on a piece of paper pinned to the wall. And yet the memories and traces of the lives of many people who have made a minimal home here, if only temporary, are stored in the monotonous architecture, whose long, bare corridors and narrow cells make one think of a prison. Five of them tell their stories. For a moment, the film delves into each of their interior worlds using only their voices, to which subtle sound collages are added. Visually, the men are never more than phantoms. Sometimes they are caught in the blurriness of the room, sometimes they seem near stagnation. Only the cigarette smoke appears to move. The room, on the other hand, offers no resistance to the exploring camera, as if it could really tell us something about its inhabitants. The abstract brushes shoulders with the concrete, time brushes the room.

Lars Meyer

Emergency Calls

Documentary Film
Finland
2013
15 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Joonatan Portaankorva
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Joonatan Portaankorva
What is your emergency? The question that’s at the start of every call to an emergency centre is also at the start of this film. Excited, sometimes desperate people on the soundtrack. The emergencies: precipitate labour, a multiple car crash. But also a killing spree and the last radio message of the “Estonia”. The call marks the boundary between life and death which – perhaps – will be crossed. It also depends on those who take it: embodied here by white figures lacking any status-generating symbols such as clothing or hair. Reduced to the naked, pure human being everything depends on. Or are they the Erinyes who hold our fate in their hands?
There is no blood, no images of disasters. We see NASA footage of earth as seen from space instead, clouds, lightshows, radar signals, pointedly distorted. What is one man’s need in view of the infinity of the universe? – Everything, claims this film which, like all works by the directing duo Vartiainen/Veikkolainen, defies categorisation. It reminds us of the conjunctive which runs through our secure lives in the shape of the potential for the worst case. The writing on the wall that silently hovers above us. Would have. Could have. What is your emergency?

Grit Lemke