Scholar, author, teacher, critic, commentator, and remarkably prolific filmmaker Peter von Bagh (b. 1943) holds legendary status in his native Finland and in the world of cinema at large. Famous for writings that embrace film studies (his texts on filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki are especially well known), Von Bagh has also published nearly forty works about his homeland undefined including Song of Finland, awarded a Finlandia Prize for nonfiction. Using mostly archival materials, his layered films construct a social landscape that is local and specific, yet somehow universal and timeless, and his impassioned work for the preservation of film culture is renowned (he serves as artistic director for two unique annual film forums undefined one in the north of Finland, and the other in Bologna, Italy). The series is a collaboration with the Finnish Film Foundation, Finnish Film Archive, Embassy of Finland, and the National Portrait Gallery.
September 20 at 2:30
West Building Lecture Hall
Olavi Virta (1915–1972) was a national hero, the greatest of Finnish tango singers (iskelmä). There is a legend that when Olavi Virta was screened for the first time, people in every part of Finland went wild, unable to handle the sight of tango’s greatest voice and the symbol of postwar celebrity. (1988, 30 minutes)
Paavo Nurmi (1897–1973) was one of the greatest athletes of all time, setting more than twenty official world records for long-distance running and winning nine gold and three silver Olympic medals. His story took a darker turn, however, when he was accused of violating his amateur status and died in disgrace. (1978, 61 minutes)
National Gallery of Art