In a small village in Finland, which has relied solely on metallurgical activities for the past two centuries, the poet and writer Mika Lätti, and his friend, director Aki Kaurismäki, are constructing their own cinema theater within an old foundry. Employing recycled wood, metal, and pre-owned furniture, Kaurismäki and the residents of Karkkila collaboratively craft Kino Laika. The venue is surrounded by Cadillacs, motorcycles, rock bars, and the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, encapsulating the very essence of cinema's enchantment - a place where the magic resides in its profound capacity to instigate change.
Veljko Vidak is a Croatian
filmmaker and artist.
He grew up in the Dalmatian back country, dividing his time between school and work on the family farm. When war broke out in ex-Yugoslavia, he managed to enrol in the University of History while preparing his application to the Academy of Fine Arts of Zagreb, where he would be graduated as a painter.
Then, he was awarded a grant that enabled him to go to Paris, at the Cité internationale des arts.
Fascinated by the cultural effervescence of this city, which he had only visited in films, he chose to settle there permanently. He assiduously attended the Cinémathèque française and reinforced his cinephile culture.
He moved for a time to Berlin. This saw him turn to video, making pieces on the themes of history and the subconscious. He exhibits regularly in France and his works have travelled the world.
On returning to Paris, he decided to deepen his knowledge of cinematographic techniques and began a master’s degree in film directing. He then made his first shorts and a medium length film.
Cinéma Laika is his first documentary feature.
Selected director's filmography:
Cinéma Laika (feature documentary) /
Invisible Ties (medium-length fiction) /
Dreamless (short fiction) /
Retro (short fiction) /
Kasetti (short fiction) /
OF THE DIRECTOR
One can consider cinema as a way of seeing and representing the world. When I learned that Aki Kaurismäki was building the first movie theater in the town of Karkkila, Finland, I set out to follow this ambitious initiative at a time when the trend was leaning towards the closure of theaters. On my way to Karkkila, I reflected upon André Bazin’s question, “What is Cinema?” transforming it into “What is a movie theater, and what can it offer people?”.
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On-site, I discovered how Aki and his friend, the poet and writer, Mika Lätti with a small team of workers were handcrafting this cinema, using recycled wood, metal, and furniture. I sensed the enthusiasm of the locals, who saw this cinema as a transformation of their town.
During the construction of the movie theater, cinema became the main and almost exclusive topic of local conversations. The entire town was breathing in rhythm with the progress of the construction work.
This emerging space was gradually becoming the new heart of the town. Nearby, the metallic heart of the old forges resonated day and night, reminding us that the town was built around this factory.
The connection between cinema and factories is as old as cinema itself.
Filming in this factory in Karkkila was particularly striking: the interior spaces evoking yesteryear, the harsh working conditions, the heavy air. This experience reminded us that there are skills that machines cannot replace, the talents and expertise of men and women.
In Finland I also observed the special bond that the inhabitants have with nature, as if they were connected to something deeper that they don’t often speak of. Nature is like a well-kept secret, a place where they can seek refuge and listen to the silence, the language practiced by most Finns.
The magic of cinema lies in its power to transform reality and create fictional memories. When reality meets fiction, we begin to perceive the reality through this new transparent filter.
When discovering a place for the very first time, we have the sensation of having already visited it thanks to cinema, which becomes a kind of guide, a point of reference, a context.
Imbued by Aki Kaurismäki’s films, the characters we encountered in Finland bore the imprint of his movies. We felt as if they were emerging from fiction as we entered it. By living for almost a year in this small town, we also became characters in this fiction, and the film Cinéma Laika has become a fiction of reality.
Director: Veljko Vidak
Writers: Veljko Vidak, Emmanuelle Felce
Cinematographer: Veljko Vidak
Editor: Veljko Vidak, Emmanuelle Felce
Sound mix: Olivier Dô Huu
Color correction: Philippe Chesneau
Producer: Emmanuelle Felce, Veljko Vidak
Original title: Cinéma Laika
International title: Cinema Laika
Duration: 81 min
Aspect Ratio: 2:1
Original languages: Finnish, French, English
Countries of production: France, Finland
Production Companies: 43e Parallèle Productions, Les Films du Worso
Co-production Companies: Sputnik Oy
With the support of: Ciné+, Procirep Angoa, The City of Karkkila Finland, Laitilan Wirvoitusjuimatehdas, Finland
A PRODUCTION 43e PARALLÈLE PRODUCTIONS
a film by VELJKO VIDAK
With AKI KAURISMÄKI MIKA LÄTTI HERRA YLPPÖ MAUSTETYTÖT
NUPPU KOIVU SIMON AL-BAZOON TOSHITAKE SHINOHARA
JUHO KUOSMANEN MIKKO MYLLYLÄHTI
And the participation of JIM JARMUSCH & AMY TAUBIN
Written, directed, edited and produced by VELJKO VIDAK
Co-written, co-edited and produced by EMMANUELLE FELCE,
Music by TOSHITAKE SHINOHARA, TOMI LEINO, RAUNO MÄKINEN, BEALE STREET PLAYBOYS, HERRA YLPPÖ, MAUSTETYTÖT, MARKUS ALLAN, EMMANUELLE FELCE Producers VELJKO VIDAK EMMANUELLE FELCE SYLVIE PIALLAT BENOÎT QUAINON & AKI KAURISMÄKI Production 43e PARALLÈLE PRODUCTIONS & LES FILMS DU WORSO Co-production SPUTNIK OY FINLAND
with the support of CINÉ+, PROCIREP ANGOA, KARKKILAN KAUPUNKI FINLAND, LAITILAN WIRVOITUSJUIMATEHDAS FINLAND
International Sales THE MATCH FACTORY