RevolutionKenen joukoissa seisot
FINLAND / 2006 / Finnish / Color, B&W / 35mm (1:1.85) / 80 min
Director, Script: Jouko Aaltonen
Photography: Jussi Eerola, Timo Peltonen
Editing: Samu Heikkilä
Sound: Paul Jyrälä
Music: Heikki Valpola
Producer: Pertti Veijalainen
Production Company: Illume Ltd. Oy
Source: The Finnish Film Foundation (Marja Pallassalo)
Middle-aged men and women singing revolutionary songs. Who exactly are these people, singing shamelessly at schools, libraries, supermarkets, and in the streets at night? Numerous music groups were created in the late 1960s, inspired by a socialist movement that burned with idealism. Some forty years have gone by, and those once young and beautiful activists have reached middle age. This Finnish musical documentary shows them as they sang exultantly back then and the way they sing at their current workplaces, nostalgically and satirically of an era that strove toward a better world.
[Director’s Statement] For me, Revolution is first and foremost a film about an experience. It aims to portray a whole generation’s strong and inspiring feeling that the world can be changed into a better and more just place. Revolution and socialism were the means to that end. Now we know that socialism, at least in the form it was realized, was not the solution to the problem. People did not know it yet back then, and this film is about their sincerity and courage in tackling the world. I feel that enough time has passed for a mature discussion about the 1970s. Looking for people who were right or wrong and finger-pointing is banal and boring. There are signs of a re-evaluation of the 1970s in the air, and the current generation is also expressing a healthy curiosity about the subject. It can’t simply be a coincidence that the concerts of the political song group Agit-Prop and the 40th-anniversary concerts of the KOM theatre have sold out.
Being a few years younger than the characters in the film, I was not involved in the political-song movement. But I have no doubt that I would have been singing in some group, if I had come to study in Helsinki earlier and if I could have sung at all. Getting acquainted with the 1970s song movement and the music it produced has been a rewarding, eye- (and ear-) opening experience. I have been impressed with the breadth and energy of the movement, as well as its huge artistic potential. Many bad, forgettable songs were made, but many enduring ones too. The basic questions the songs asked are still relevant, in another way and another environment, but those are the questions we still have to answer. It is still worthwhile learning the basics, thinking about who’ll be paying the bill, and asking: Whose side are you on?
Born in 1956, Aaltonen has directed a wide range of documentaries on various topics and in various environments ranging from the Siberian Taiga to the diplomatic society of New Delhi. His films include In the Arm of Buddha and the Drum (1997), Constructing and Destroying (1998), Road of Hunger (1999), Ambassadors (2004), and Life Saver (2005). Revolution was screened at film festivals including the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Finland and the 49th DOK Leipzig, the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, in Germany.